'I belong here.' This is what the young Jewish law student Hetty Koster felt when she attended the memorable protest speech given by Professor Cleveringa on 26 November 1940. She managed to survive the war by going into hiding. She married Dolf Cohen, later Rector Magnificus of Leiden University, and had two sons: Floris and Job Cohen, now Professor of the Thorbecke chair.
With his speech in protest against the sacking of his Jewish colleague, Rudolph Cleveringa, Dean of the Faculty of Law, became the foremost symbol for Leiden’s resistance against the Nazis. But there are also other brave professors who should not be forgotten: what are the stories of Ben Telders, Ton Barge and Lambertus van Holk?
The American historian and Japan specialist Carol Gluck is the new Leiden Cleveringa professor for the 2014–2015 academic year. On 26 November 2014 she will give the Cleveringa inaugural lecture, in which she will examine how World War II is commemorated in Asia.
What can we learn from Cleveringa’s courageous protest speech? ‘Without imagination and a strong community, people do not stand up for one another,' says Cleveringa Professor Michael Ignatieff in his lecture on 26 November.
On 26 November 1940 Professor Cleveringa held his courageous speech protesting against the dismissal of his Jewish colleague, Professor Meijers. Cleveringa was arrested and the university was closed. Every year the university honours Cleveringa with a chair and meetings throughout the world.
Michael Ignatieff, Canadian author, university professor and former politician, has been appointed Cleveringa Professor for the 2013-2014 academic year at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Professor Ignatieff will deliver the Cleveringa lecture on 26 November 2013.