Minority in/at War | Minority in/at War
Between violence and legal protection, organised by the Jewish Museum of Belgium, in partnership with CEGESOMA-State Archives of Belgium with the support of Visit.Brussels
Un colloque international qui traite de la question de la violence perpétrée envers les minorités et de leur protection légale dans la période entre 1912 et 1923.
home,page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-5,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode_grid_1300,qode-theme-ver-10.1.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0.1,vc_responsive


On the 9th and 10th of March 2017 will be held the international colloquium “Minorities in/at War: between violence and legal protection, 1912-1923”. This scientific event will gather high-profile academics from Europe, North America and the Near East.


Themes particularly relevant to the present day will be discussed, including violence against minorities, minorities’ representation on the international stage, the creation of mechanisms for legal protection of minorities and the development of minority rights, and the impact that these processes and events have had until the present day.


The current day situation in Europe and the world, with community tensions and an unpreceded migratory crisis, will be debated in the light of these presentations in the final plenary discussion. This event is organized by the Jewish Museum of Belgium and the Cegesoma-State Archives of Belgium in the context of the First World War centenary, with the support of Visit.Brussels.


Zahava Seewald

Zahava Seewald is a Curator at the Jewish Museum of Belgium since 1993 and is mainly responsible for the collections. She holds a Master of Arts in Art History and Archeology and specialized in Late Antiquity and contemporary art at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She studied classical singing at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Brussels and and specialized in Jewish music. She curated many art exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and exhibitions dealing with Jewish history and culture in Belgium and abroad.

Nico Wouters

Nico Wouters coordinates the Academic Activities Section of CEGESOMA. He holds a PhD in contemporary history (University of Gent). He is a guest lecturer at the Brussels School of International Studies (Kent University) and at the University of Antwerp, as well as a steering member of the Institute for Public History (University of Ghent) and of the Belgian Association for Contemporary History.


Pascale Falek Alhadeff

Pascale Falek Alhadeff is a Curator at the Jewish Museum of Belgium since 2014. She obtained a PhD in History and Civilization at the European University Institute in Florence (2011), a Master of Arts in European Studies at the College of Europe in Warsaw, a Master of Studies in Jewish Studies at Oxford University and a Master of Arts in contemporary history at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Scientific committee

Scientific committee • Bruno Benvindo (Cegesoma) • Dominiek Dendooven (In Flanders Fields Museum – University of Antwerp) • Peter Gatrell (Manchester University) • Chantal Kesteloot (Cegesoma) • Martin Kohlrausch (Catholic University of Leuven) • Pieter Lagrou (Université Libre de Bruxelles) • Pierre-Alain Tallier (State Archives of Belgium) • Antoon Vrints (University of Ghent) • Laurence Van Ypersele (Université Catholique de Louvain) • Isabelle Delvaux  ((CegeSoma))

Julie Balériaux

Julie Balériaux is a Curator at the Jewish Museum of Belgium between 2016 and 2017 as well as a Scientific Collaborator at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She holds a PhD in ancient History from the University of Oxford (2016), a Master of Arts in Classics from Stanford University, where she was a Hoover Fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation, and a Master of Arts in History from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.



Professor Gershon Bacon

Professor Gershon Bacon is Associate Professor in the Jewish History depart- ment of Bar-Ilan University, where he holds the Marcell and Maria Roth Chair for the History and Culture of Polish Jewry. He is an expert in the history of East European Jewry, specializing in the social, political and religious history of Polish Jewry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His numerous publications have appeared in leading academic journals in the United States, Europe and Israel. Among his best-known works are The Politics of Tradition: Agudat Yisrael in Poland 1916-1939 (1996) and The Jews in Poland and Russia: Bibliographical Essays (1984). He was one of the editors of Jews in Eastern Europe: the Yivo Encyclopedia (2008). He is currently completing the writing of the book The Jews of Modern Poland, to be published by the University of California Press.

Professor Hamit Bozarslan

Professor Hamit Bozarslan received his PhD degree in history in 1992 (EHESS) and in political sciences in 1994 (Sciences-Po, Paris). Since 1999 he teaches at the EHESS (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales). He is the author, namely, of Révolution et état de violence Moyen-Orient 2011-2015 (Paris, CNRS Editions, 2015) ; Le luxe et la violence. Domination et contestation chez Ibn Khaldûn (Paris, CNRS Editions, 2014) ; Histoire de la Turquie. De l’Empire à nos jours (Paris, 2013, Tallandier) ; Comprendre le génocide des Arméniens (avec V. Duclert & R. Kévorkian, Paris, Tallandier, 2015) ; Une histoire de la violence au Moyen-Orient. De la fin de l’Empire ottoman à al-Qaida (Paris, La Découverte, 2008) ; La question kurde : Etats et minorités au Moyen-Orient (Paris, Presses de Sciences-Po, 1997).


Dominiek Dendooven

Dominiek Dendooven is a researcher and curator at In Flanders Fields Museum (Ypres). He is a guest lecturer at KU Leuven and a member of the Power in History-Centre for Political History at the University of Antwerp. He curated exhibitions on (a.o.) the colonial presence at the front (2008) and the Chinese Labour Corps (2010) and author of (a.o.) several studies on memorials, the non-European presence at the front and the reconstruction of Ypres. He is currently nishing a PhD on subordinate groups at the front in Flanders (University of Antwerp and University of Kent)

Carole Fink

Carole Fink, Humanities Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at The Ohio State University, has recently published Cold War: An International History. She is the author of two prize-winning books, Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, and International Minority Protection, 1878-1938, and The Ge- noa Conference: European Diplomacy, 1921-1922 as well as Marc Bloch: A Life in History, which has been translated into six languages. She has also edited seven books and published some sixty articles and chapters in European International History and is currently writing a book on West German-Israeli relations between 1965 and 1974, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press.

GornyFoto - copie

Maciej Górny

Maciej Górny is assistant professor at the Historical Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences since 2006 (extraordinary professor since 2015). 2014-2016 – professor at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw. He was a research associate at the Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Berlin from 2006 to 2010. Currently, he is research-fellow at Imre Kertész Kolleg in Jena (Germany). His research interests are Central-Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th century, history of historiography, discourses on race and the First World War. His publications include The Nation Should Come First: Marxism and Historiography in East Central Europe (2013, Polish edition 2007, German edition 2011), Wielka Wojna profesorów (2014, English and Russian editions forthcoming) and Nasza wojna, vol. 1: Imperia (together with Włodzimierz Borodziej, 2014, English edition forthcoming). From 2014 he is also editor-in-chief of “Acta Poloniae Historica” (www.aph-ihpan.edu.pl).

Jaclyn Granick

Jaclyn Granick holds a PhD in international history from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. She is working on a monograph, International Jewish Humanitarianism in the Age of the Great War, adapted from her prize-winning doctoral research, which investigates American Jewish responses to Jewish suffering abroad from 1914-1929. Currently a Newton International Fellow of the British Academy at Oxford, she is also beginning a new project on Jewish women’s internationalism and universalism in the long twentieth century and planning a workshop together with Abigail Green to rethink Jewish internationalism from a gender perspective.


Pieter Lagrou

Pieter Lagrou teaches contemporary history at the Université Libre de Bruxelles since 2003. He studied history at the universities of Leuven, Yale and the European University Institute in Florence. He worked as a researcher at the Institut d’Histoire de Temps Présent in Paris from 1998 till 2003. He has published on the history and legacy of Nazi occupation in Western Europe, on the history of international justice and on contemporary European historiography. He is currently working on a history of popular sovereignty and national languages in Europe.

Erez Manela

Erez Manela is a professor of history at Harvard University, where he teaches the history of the United States in the world and modern international history. He also serves as Director of Graduate Programs at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and as co-chair of the Harvard International and Global History Seminar (HIGHS). In addition, he co-edits a book series on Global and International History at Cambridge University Press. His most recent book, Empires at War, 1911-1923 (2014), co-edited with Robert Gerwarth and published on the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War, opens up exciting new directions in the history of that war. First, it considers the conflict as a global war of empires rather than a clash of European nation-states. Second, its expanded time frame locates the war as part of a cycle of mass violence that began with the Italian invasion of Libya in 1911 and did not abate until the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. Empires at War has been translated into seven languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.


Panikos Panayi

Panikos Panayi is Professor of European History at De Montfort University and the leading authority on the history of minorities in wartime. His numerous publications in this area include: The Enemy in Our Midst: Germans in Britain During the First World War (Oxford, 1991); (ed.), Minorities in Wartime: National and Racial Groupings in Europe, North America and Australia during the Two World Wars (Oxford, 1993); Prisoners of Britain: German Civilian and Combatant Internees during the First World War (Manchester, 2012); and ‘Minorities’, in Jay Winter (ed.), The Cambridge History of the First World War, Vol. III, Civil Society (Cambridge, 2014).

Mehmet Polatel

Mehmet Polatel is a PhD candidate in the Ataturk Institute for Modern Turkish History, Boğaziçi University and a research assistant in the History Department of Koç University. After graduating from the Middle East Technical University, he completed the MA program of Comparative Studies in History and Society in Koç University. His academic interests include the land question, Armenian-Kurdish relations, genocide and dispossession of Armenians in the late Ottoman period. His primary works include: Confiscation and Destruction: The Young Turk Seizure of Armenian Property (with Uğur Ü. Üngör, Continuum Publishers, 2011) and 2012 Declaration: The Seized Properties of Armenian Foundations in İstanbul (with Nora Mildanoğlu, Özgür L. Eren and Mehmet Atılgan, Hrant Dink Foundation, 2012).


Corinne Triolet

Corinne Triolet obtained her Master’s degree in History at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 2015. Her Master thesis entitled The plight of the German minorities during interwar Europe. Eupen-Malmedy replaced in European context (1918-1925) focused on the question of minority rights for the German minorities in Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Poland. In October 2016, she began a doctoral thesis at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, in which she proposes to study the German minorities during the interwar period of Belgium, France, Denmark and Czechoslovakia. The goal of her comparative and transversal study of a key moment in European political and cultural history is to examine the “minority question” without being limited to a national or regional approach.

Machteld Venken

Machteld Venken is a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher (Elise Richter Fellow) at the University of Vienna. She holds degrees in Slavic Studies and History from the Catholic University in Leuven (KU Leuven), and in European Studies from the Jagiellonian University (Cracow). She is the author of a number of publications, including Straddling the Iron Curtain? Immigrants, Immigrant Organisations, War Memories (2011), and editor of the various group publications, most recently of the special issue Growing Up in the Shadow of the Second World War. European Perspectives (European Review of History 2015) and the edited volume Borderland Studies Meets Child Studies. A European Encounter (2017). She is currently working on a monograph about the history of borderland children in 20th century Europe


Yasmina Zian

Yasmina Zian studied contemporary history at Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). In 2009 she obtained an Erasmus scholarship at Humboldt Universität Berlin, where she returned three years later to undertake a PhD at the Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung of the Berlin Technical University under supervision of Werner Bergmann and Ulrich Wyrwa. She is interested in the construction of the other and the relations between social groups. After having researched the Belgian colonial history at the end of the 19th century, she studied Belgian antisemitism at the beginning of the 20th century. In her PhD thesis, which she also writes under the supervision of Jean-Philippe Schreiber in a co-tutelle programme with ULB since May 2014, she focuses on the impact of the WWI on the relation between the Foreigners’ Police and the Jews. In 2012, she was a historical consultant of the Ilyas Mettioui’s play Contrôle d’identités. She is an associate researcher at the Berlin’s Centre Marc Bloch since September 2015.


Download the abstracts

Provisional Programme

Thursday 09/03

KBR, Royal Sky Room 1
Welcome address

SESSION 1: Minority groups on the international stage

Chair: Peter Gatrell (University of Manchester, UK)

Carole Fink (Ohio State University, USA)

Ethnic violence and International politics


Panikos Panayi (De Montfort University, UK)

A Culture of Complaining? Germans Internees and US and Swiss Consular Visitors in the British Empire, 1914-1919


Dominiek Dendooven (In Flanders Fields Museum/University of Antwerp, BE)

White, or not quite? The issue of skin colour in the British armies on the western front, 1914-1920


Coffee breack


SESSION 2 : Legacies of the period 1912-1923

Chair: Laurence Van Ypersele (Université Catholique de Louvain, BE)

 Corinne Triolet (Université Libre de Bruxelles, BE)

History and evolution of minority rights until the First World War


Hamit Bozarslan (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, FR)

War and minorities in the former Ottoman Empire : 1914-1922


Pieter Lagrou (Université Libre de Bruxelles, BE)

Learning from failure: reappraisals of minority protection, 1933-1948


Lunch breack


SESSION 3 : Legal protection and minority rights

Chair: Pieter Lagrou (Université Libre de Bruxelles, BE)

Gershon Bacon (Bar-Ilan University, IL)

Great Achievement, Toxic Heritage: the Minorities Treaties and Polish-Jewish Relations, 1919-1939


Machteld Venken (University of Vienna, AT)

Language Learning policies in Interwar European Borderlands (1919-1925)


Jaclyn Granick (University of Oxford, UK)

Jews under Nansen, or the Incompatibility of the Interwar Minority and Refugee Regimes



Erez Manela (Harvard University, USA)

Empires, Nation-States, and the Problem of Difference in International Society circa World War I
End of the first day

Friday 10/03

KBR, Royal Sky Room 1
Venue opens

SESSION 4: Cultures of violence

Chair: Antoon Vrints (University of Ghent, BE)

Mehmet Polatel (Boğaziçi University, TK)

Engineering Majority: Mass Violence, Territoriality and Nationality in the Context of the Armenian Genocide


Yasmina Zian (Technische Universität Berlin, DE – Université Libre de Bruxelles, BE)

Violence towards Jewish foreigners in the post-World War I period in Belgium


Maciej Górny (Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena, DE)

Being minority in theory and practice: East Central Europe, 1914-1923


Coffee breack

11.20 – 12.20
Plenary discussion
12.20 – 12.45
Closing remarks

Pratical information


Royal Sky Room 1 – Royal Library of Belgium –
1000 Brussels Entrance through Mont des Arts
Dates Thursday 9th to Friday 10th of March, 2017 18

Information & Registration: georgia@mjb-jmb.org


Conference venue

 Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique – Mont des Arts

Website: www.kbr.be

Entrance is through the park called “Mont des Arts” (just below the stairs leading to the top of the hill). Just so you are not surprised: there will be a security check at the entrance with a metal detector.

The conference venue is on the top floor of the building: you can follow the signs or ask your way to the elevator.

From Brussels International Airport

Take the SNCB train to Bruxelles Central station. Exit through the main entrance (towards the square with the Hilton Hotel) and head to the right. Go up the street until you see the square with a statue of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium: the Mont des Arts is opposite this square (4min walk in total)


For more information about registration please contact



Chouna Lomponda

Head of Communication and
Spokeswoman at the Jewish Museum of Belgium

Phone : 0032 (0)2 500 88 35


Aurore Hofmans

Interns in Jewish Museum of Belgium

Download the press kit