Anti-fascism Then and Now: Jewish Anti-fascism in the 1940s and Today's Far Right

Research Lounge,  Level 5, North Wing, Arts West Parkville campus

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History Postgraduate Association

Max Kaiser

History Graduate Student Afternoon Seminar series

This graduate seminar series take place in a friendly informal setting, with tea and coffee provided. All welcome!


In the wake of World War Two, Jewish antifascism was a hegemonic ideology across Jewish communities worldwide. In Australia this was embodied by the Jewish Council to Combat Fascism and Antisemitism which represented the official public relations wing of the Jewish community for a short period in the late forties. In this paper I will explore the analysis of fascism proffered by the Jewish Council. Key to their ideology was the inextricability of antisemitism and fascism, the economic roots of fascism, and its connection to reactionary political forces.

I will offer an assessment of this analysis’ appropriateness in light of today’s far right and fascist politics. I focus on the Australian situation and the recent street mobilisations of fascists in Victoria, drawing out continuities and discontinuities between past fascisms and today’s variants.

Max Kaiser is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. He is writing a history of Australian Jewish Antifascism. He is the host of the Mazel Tov Cocktail, a Jewish lefty podcast and a co-host of the New Books in Jewish Studies podcast.…/religion-faith/jewish-studies/

Image: 1952 Jewish Council to Combat Fascism and Anti-Semitism pamphlet