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The Collaborators: Deception and Survival in WWII
Join AJU’s Mark Oppenheimer for a captivating virtual event featuring acclaimed author Ian Buruma as he delves into the enthralling narratives of three enigmatic individuals. In his spellbinding book, “The Collaborators,” Buruma unravels the lives of a Dutch fixer, a Manchu princess, and Himmler’s masseur, exploring their roles as potential con artists, collaborators, or even heroes during the Japanese and German occupations. These larger-than-life figures challenge the simplistic dichotomy of good and evil, blurring the lines of history and war. Buruma’s meticulous research paints a chiaroscuro portrait of their complex stories, reminding us of the enduring relevance and inherent dangers of distorting the truth. In an era of rampant falsehoods, this event offers essential insights into history’s grey areas and lessons from the past.
Ian Buruma was born in the Netherlands. He studied Chinese at Leiden University and cinema at Nihon University, Tokyo. He has lived and worked in Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, and New York. He is a regular contributor to Harper’s and The New Yorker and writes monthly columns for Project Syndicate and Bloomberg. He is a professor at Bard College and lives in New York City.
Mark Oppenheimer received his B.A. in history from Yale in 1996 and his Ph.D. in American religious history from Yale in 2003, the year that he published his first book, Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion and the Age of Counterculture.
Since then, Oppenheimer has taught at Stanford, Wellesley, NYU, Boston College (where he was the Corcoran Visiting Professor in Christian-Jewish Relations), and Yale, where for sixteen years he directed the Yale Journalism Initiative. From 2010-2016, he wrote The Beliefs column, About Religion, for The New York Times. He is the author of numerous magazine articles and five books, the most recent of which is Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and The Soul of a Neighborhood.
A popular speaker and lecturer, Oppenheimer is the creator of two podcasts: Unorthodox, about Jewish life and culture, which he hosted from 2015-2023 and while had over seven million downloads, and Gatecrashers: The Hidden History of Jews in the Ivy League (2022). He is currently writing biographies of author Judy Blume and newspaper columnist Ann Landers.