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Religious Minorities and Resistance to Genocide

Religious Minorities and Resistance to Genocide: The Collective Rescue of Jews in the Netherlands during the Holocaust

Robert Braun, Cornell University and Northwestern University

This article hypothesizes that minority groups are more likely to protect persecuted groups during episodes of mass killing. The author builds a geocoded dataset of Jewish evasion and church communities in the Netherlands during the Holocaust to test this hypothesis. Spatial regression models of 93 percent of all Dutch Jews demonstrate a robust and positive correlation between the proximity to minority churches and evasion. While proximity to Catholic churches increased evasion in dominantly Protestant regions, proximity to Protestant churches had the same effect in Catholic parts of the country. Municipality level fixed effects and the concentric dispersion of Catholicism from missionary hotbed Delft are exploited to disentangle the effect of religious minority groups from local level tolerance and other omitted variables. This suggests that it is the local configuration of civil society that produces collective networks of assistance to threatened neighbors.

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American Political Science Review / Volume 110 / Issue 01 / February 2016, pp 127-147 / Copyright © American Political Science Association 2016