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The Idea of Toleration and its Fate in Modernity

Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism in partnership with the Anne Frank Trust

Event Information

25th January, 2011
6:30 pm - 7:45 pm
Simon Schama, University Professor of Art History and History, Columbia University
National Socialism/ Nazism
Europe, Netherlands
17th century, 18th century, 20th century
Anne Frank, John Locke, John Milton, Voltaire

In this panoramic lecture, Simon Schama begins by considering the appeal and significance of Anne Frank and her diary for successive generations. He relates Anne’s experiences in hiding, as well as the choices and dilemmas facing the Dutch population in the face of Nazi occupation and murderous antisemitism, to the long and chequered history of toleration in Europe. In particular, he traces the idea and practice of toleration to the writings of figures such as Milton, Locke and Voltaire as well as to the politics of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century. Schama goes on to consider the challenges to toleration both in modern European history and in the present. He asks what the limits to toleration are and whether we are required to show forbearance towards those who are themselves intolerant.

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