Inaugural Gerald S. Kaplan Endowment Lecture: "Passivity and the Power of Active Bystanders in Genocide and Everyday Life"

Courtesy photo

Ervin Staub addresses new understandings of the role of bystanders both in times of genocide and day-to-day life. This talk will address the great harm done by the passivity of witnesses/bystanders, from internal bystanders in a society and external bystanders, outside groups and nations, as a society moves toward genocide or other extreme violence.

Staub will consider reasons for passivity and the harm done by passivity in less extreme, more everyday situations. He will discuss the characteristics of rescuers, heroic helpers who endanger themselves and often their families to save the lives of intended victims of genocide. The discussion will consider the potential power of bystanders, individuals and especially groups and nations to prevent or stop violence by groups against other groups.

The talk will be based on Staub's and others' research on helping, passivity, the origins of the Holocaust and other genocides, the prevention of genocide and his practical work on reconciliation in Rwanda and other settings. Staub also will discuss raising inclusively caring and morally courageous children and his training of active bystanders, including teaching police officers to prevent the use of unnecessary force by fellow officers, and students in schools to prevent or stop harmful actions by fellow students.

Staub is professor emeritus and founding director of the doctoral program in the psychology of peace and violence at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is past president of the International Society for Political Psychology and of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence.

Admission is free, but seating is limited, and advance registration is requested.



Holocaust Museum Houston
5401 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004


Admission is free; reservations requested.
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