09/11/2015
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Documents found at University of Aberdeen reveal opposition to Nazis

e3a25ada-63bd-4bd7-a53f-e201062507b8
Historical documents discovered in a storeroom at the University of Aberdeen's King's College campus have shed light on the university's opposition to Hitler's Nazi regime in the years leading up to World War Two. For more on Scotland and World War Two, visit our archive pages.

The papers, which are in the form of minutes from a series of meetings of the Law Faculty between December 1938 and February 1939, were contained within leather-bound books, and reveal details of a request sent by the University of Amsterdam to Law Faculties across Europe and the United States, asking for their support in a resolution opposing political, ethnic and religious persecution.

The resolution highlighted 'with sorrow and dismay' that people were 'being persecuted and tormented on account of their faith, race or political convictions' and expressed concern over the use of 'so-called concentration camps.'

The Faculty, headed at the time by Thomas Taylor (pictured above) who became the university's principal and received a knighthood, unanimously agreed to support the resolution, and copies were sent to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as well as the Herald, Scotsman and Press and Journal, along with a covering letter highlighting the Law Faculty’s support.

'TRULY REMARKABLE' DOCUMENTS

Malcolm Combe, a law lecturer who has used the documents to set up the university's first Law School blog, said: 'Old documents of this nature are always interesting, but these minutes are truly remarkable.

'They offer a fascinating account of the concerns that that existed over the persecution of Jews and dissenting political voices in the period leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War. While Aberdeen had the North Sea to keep it at a relative distance from Hitler’s gathering military might, the minutes show that the University was by no means inactive in the face of the challenges of the time.

'That the Law Faculty unanimously backed the University of Amsterdam’s resolution is extremely heartening, and shows how our tradition of tolerance and freedom of expression was alive and well during this troubling and uncertain time in history.'

For more on the University of Aberdeen, visit the website.



Images copyright University of Aberdeen.

Back to "Scotland and World War Two" Category

09/11/2015 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Scottish MP Joseph Hume was born - On this day in history

Scottish MP Joseph Hume, who founded the memorial to the Scottish Political Martyrs in Edinburgh, was born on ...


Robert the Bruce state sword now on public display in Edinburgh

The state sword of Robert the Bruce is one of several historic treasures which are on display at Bonhams ...


The Brontë sisters, Scotland and Robert Burns

Author Nick Holland explores the fascination of the Brontë sisters for Scotland, and in particular the work ...


Top three accessible visitor attractions in Edinburgh

Saga Magazine presents its top three accessible visitor attractions and things to do in the city of Edinburgh. ...


Other Articles

Stories of remarkable World War One women in the collections of Edinburgh Libraries

On the shelves of libraries and archives everywhere there are hidden lives waiting to be discovered. This ...


Our Red Aunt: rekindling the sparks of firebrand Helen Crawfurd

Dr Adele Patrick of Glasgow Women’s Library tells the story of legendary Scottish suffragette campaigner ...


Scottish theologian George Gillespie was born - On this day in history

Church leader George Gillespie was born on 21 January 1613 in Kirkcaldy.


Inventor and engineer James Watt was born - On this day in history

James Watt, inventor of the condensor, which helped make the Industrial Revolution possible, was born on 19 ...