De historisering van de moraal. De Groningse universiteit tussen universiteitsgeschiedenis en bezettingsgeschiedenis
Pieter Caljé, Historicizing morality. The University of Groningen poised between the history of the university and the history of the occupation.
By consistently describing the history of Groningen University during the war years as a history of the university from the perspective of the main historical players, Van Berkel was able to write an important and progressive book that historicizes the moral judgements that were made about the behaviour of the students and their professors. A key moment in the history of Dutch universities during the war – and in the book – is the so-called ‘declaration of loyalty’ to the German occupying forces in 1943.
The student resistance boycotted the declaration and university life eventually ground to a halt. Van Berkel convincingly demonstrates that this action by the student resistance was part of an earlier power struggle between the traditional student fraternities and more recently formed unions that emerged as a result of the universities opening up to a broader public. The choice to use this moral weapon, or not, had far-reaching and extremely unfair consequences for those involved after the war.
This review is part of the discussion forum 'Academische illusies' (K. van Berkel).
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