Katharine White's picture
The 2021 Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar focuses on the history of LGBTQ+ people during the Holocaust, as well as the continued relevance of this history to understanding the discrimination that queer and trans people face today. The Seminar will explore how the Nazi state persecuted, incarcerated, and interned men in concentration camps for violating § 175 of the German criminal code, which prohibited consensual sex between men, resulting in at least 5,000 perishing at the hands of the Nazi state agents. At the same time, the seminar will highlight that there is so much more to the history of LGBTQ+ experiences during the Holocaust. Drawing on new research, seminar leaders will stimulate discussions about the many facets of queer and trans histories under Nazism, including: To what extent were queer women targets of state violence? How did racialization affect queer Jews and queer Poles? When did gender transgression and queerness not necessarily aggravate the Nazi state? And what lasting lessons can we learn from the under-researched history of trans people and gender non-conformity during the Holocaust? The seminar will further address how the German law against sodomy and the Austrian law concerning “crimes against nature” were similar to laws on the books in the United States and elsewhere at the time.  

Seminar Leaders
Jennifer V. Evans, Professor of European History, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Laurie Marhoefer, Associate Professor of History, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 

Guest Lecturer
Anna Hájková, Associate Professor of Modern European Continental History, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Seminar applicants can be at any career stage but must be teaching or anticipate teaching relevant courses at accredited institutions in North America. This seminar will occur entirely online through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions over the course of five days, from January 4–8, 2021. Applications must be received in electronic form no later than November 1, 2020. For questions regarding the application process, please contact Dr. Katharine White at

This seminar is endowed by Edward and David Hess in memory of their parents, Jack and Anita Hess, who believed passionately in the power of education to overcome racial and religious prejudice.