Troy University at Montgomery history professor Dan Puckett will be discussing his book “In the Shadow of Hitler: Alabama’s Jews, the Second World War, and the Holocaust” this Thursday.
Puckett became an associate professor of history at the Montgomery campus in 2005. He teaches modern European history and his research interests are in the Holocaust and Jewish history.
“In the Shadow of Hitler” describes how Jews in Alabama responded to the horrors of the Holocaust. In an effort to save Jewish lives overseas, Alabama’s Jews bridged the gap between their own internal divisions and contrasting traditional backgrounds. Alabama’s Jews were able to sway the opinions of the media, the general public and political leaders on all levels.
“I chose to focus my writing on the Holocaust and Jewish history because it was what I studied in grad school. It really fascinated me, and still does, so I began exploring it. I wanted to know how the Jewish people in the United States reacted to the Holocaust,” Puckett said.
It took Puckett several years to gather information, research the topic further and prepare the book for the publication process.
“There are a lot of misconceptions that Jewish people in the United States were not trying to do anything about the Holocaust, and that is not the truth. You had invested Jewish communities in Alabama that knew what was going on in Europe and fighting to make a difference,” Puckett said.
Puckett’s work has appeared in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Southern Jewish History and Alabama Heritage, as well as other publications. Additionally, Puckett has been a Starkoff Fellow at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and a Chancellor’s Fellow at Troy University. He was appointed to the Alabama Holocaust Commission by Governor Robert Bentley and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Southern Jewish Historical Society and the editorial Board of Southern Jewish History.
His book discussion will be Thursday, Nov. 20, at noon in the Troy Campus library.