Annually, the Dutch Dachau Committee organizes a Dachau Lecture in memory of one of the victims or survivors of the Dachau concentration camp. The aim of these lectures is to pass on the stories, memories, ideas, and thoughts of these individuals to a new generation, and also to pay tribute to a victim or survivor in the presence of their family.

The Dachau Lecture 2023

On Wednesday, September 27th, the annual Dachau Lecture took place in the Aula of Radboud University. During the lecture, the demissionairy Minister of Education, Culture, and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, delivered a speech titled 'The Narrow Ledge of Progress.' In his address, Dijkgraaf emphasized the importance of finding an ethical balance in science and technology. He illustrated this with references to historical figures such as Albert Einstein, John von Neumann, and Robert Oppenheimer, who represented different moral positions regarding nuclear weapons and technological development. 

Dijkgraaf argued that extremes in ethical viewpoints are often too sharp and advocated for a middle ground where technological progress is embraced but also applied ethically and socially responsibly. He highlighted the importance of collaboration between scientists, policymakers, businesses, and civil society organizations to achieve this balanced approach. Dijkgraaf suggested that the timing of ethical discussions and scientific advice is crucial and should ideally align with technological development to minimize risks.

Following the minister's address, a panel discussion took place featuring Dr. Matthijs van de Sande (Assistant Professor of Philosophical Ethics and Political Philosophy), Tonie Mudde (De Volkskrant), and Joost van Egmond (Trouw), moderated by Pam Tönissen (Radboud University). They debated statements related to the Oppenheimer film (''what can be done, must be done'') and the recent violent incident on Radboud University's campus involving a new right-nationalist student association. The minister then reflected on the panel discussion.

The event concluded with the performance of the Dachau Song by the duo 'Die Nachbarn' (Gerard Schoren: vocals/guitar; Thomas Ruffmann: violin). The lecture on Titus Brandsma was delivered by Dr. Ria van den Brandt, a researcher in Comparative Religious Studies at Radboud University. She shared insights into the life of Titus Brandsma and his considerations.

Photography: Radboud Universiteit/ Dick van Aalst

Previous Dachau Lectures (pages in Dutch)

Dachau Lecture 2023 - Titus Brandsma

Dachau Lecture 2022 - Carel Steensma

Dachau Lecture 2019 - Nico Rost

Dachau Lecture 2018 - Bib van Lanschot

Dachau Lecture 2017 - Ed Hoornik

Dachau Lecture 2016 - George Maduro

Dachau Lecture 2015 - Wiardi Beckman