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Bethel to host conference on Mennonites and Holocaust in 2018

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The call for papers has been issued for an international academic conference on Mennonites and the Holocaust, to be hosted by Bethel College a year from now, March 16-17, 2018.

Conference co-organizers are Mark Jantzen, Bethel professor of history; John Thiesen, archivist for the Mennonite Library and Archives at Bethel; and John Sharp, a faculty member in history and Bible and religion at Hesston College.

The conference co-sponsor is Mennonite Church USA, staff from which collaborated with the co-organizers to develop the vision for the event.

This conference aims to document, publicize and analyze Mennonite attitudes, environments and interactions with others in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s that shaped their responses to and engagement with Nazi ideology and the events of the Holocaust.

“Mennonites have typically seen themselves foremost as victims of violence in the 1930s and 40s in Europe,” Jantzen noted, “but we hope the conference will document and analyze a much more complex reality that places Mennonites across a whole spectrum of responses, experiences and motivations, along a range of suffering violence to witnessing it and causing it.”

The keynote speaker will be Doris Bergen, who holds the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Chair in Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto.

Paper topics are welcomed from a variety of perspectives, such as social, economic, political, cultural, theological, religious, historical and gender analysis.

Those interested should submit a one-page proposal that includes a title, a description of the proposed paper and a short explanation of the stage of research (work-in-progress, new paper, previously published), and a one- to two-page CV, by Sept. 1, 2017, to Thiesen at

Publication of selected conference papers is planned.

For more information, see

In addition to Bethel College, Hesston College, the Mennonite Library and Archives and Mennonite Church USA, the conference is being supported by the Marpeck Fund, the Mennonite-Polish Studies Association at Bethel College and the Schowalter Foundation.

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016'17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.