| Faculty of Philosophy, Historisches Seminar, Research, Events

"On the Meaning of Complicity. 'Voluntary' Participation in National Socialist Crimes"

The "voluntary" participation in National Socialist crimes and the significance of complicity will be the subject of an event hosted by the City of Erfurt and the "Voluntariness" research group of the University of Erfurt on Tuesday, December 6, at the "Topf & Söhne" place of remembrance in Erfurt. The event will begin at 6 p.m.

Since the 2010s, the German judiciary has also been taking action against those individuals who contributed to the enabling and realization of National Socialist crimes. Not only so-called main perpetrators such as concentration camp commandants, but also guards and even secretaries who had no direct contact with inmates in the course of their appointments must now face up to their historical responsibility. Using the example of this group of persons, historians will speak about the aspect of voluntariness in the context of National Socialist crimes.

The panel will discuss:

  • Professor Thomas Lindenberger, Hannah Ahrendt Institute for Research on Totalitarianism, University of Dresden,
  • Dr Annegret Schüle, senior curator at the "Topf & Söhne" place of remembrance
  • Professor Jens-Christian Wagner, director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation / Friedrich Schiller University Jena

The panel will be moderated by Professor Christiane Kuller and Elena M. E. Kiesel from the University of Erfurt.

The panel will focus on people who worked in the concentration camps on behalf of the SS, as well as on the SS's business partners in the private sector, such as the stove builders of the "Topf & Söhne" company. On the one hand, the specific conditions and scope of action of these accomplices will be discussed. In this context, however, questions will also be raised about the motivations for their own actions, ranging from personal interests to loyalty to the state. In addition, the discussion will focus on the effects of this participation within the framework of the overall process as well as on the historical responsibility that arises for those involved in this context.

The aim of the event is, on the one hand, to place these multiple cooperations in the overall context of National Socialist crimes. On the other hand, the contribution of this historical complicity in National Socialism to a concept of "voluntariness" under the conditions of a dictatorship will be elaborated.


All interested parties are cordially invited to this event. However, registration is requested.

link zu registration