Jews and the Military

John Jay, Derek Penslar 

22/02/2015 11:00 am
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Jewish active involvement in the military is often perceived as a relatively new phenomenon, associated with the establishment and defence of Israel. Derek Penslar’s Jews and the Military: a History challenges this popular misconception, exploring Jewish participation in the military across many countries and centuries. Penslar is in conversation with John Jay, whose Facing Fearful Odds tells the story of his father Alec, a British and Jewish POW, who made five escape attempts before teaming up with Czech partisans to fight the Nazis. The session is chaired by SOAS professor Colin Shindler.

John Jay

John Jay, now an investment manager, was formerly a financial journalist. He has constructed his father’s war story using archival material from four countries and numerous other sources and POW accounts.

Derek Penslar 


Derek Penslar is the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University, and was previously the Samuel Zacks Professor of European Jewish history at the University of Toronto since 1998. He is a historian of modern European Jewry, Zionism, and the State of Israel.