This week: the Conference on Faith and History, remembering a key victory in the battle for civil rights, sin and history, the Chicago Fire, and the man who volunteered to be imprisoned in Auschwitz.

• Be sure to read the unforgettable story of Witold Pilecki, the Polish resistance fighter who volunteered to be imprisoned in Auschwitz in order to gather intelligence. He spent three years in the death camp before escaping in 1943. He went on to fight in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Germans and survived World War II, only to be arrested, tortured, and executed by Communist authorities in 1948.

• Speaking of the relationship between the Holocaust and WWII… Still more evidence that ordinary German soldiers played a greater role in the genocide than was long assumed.

Chicago after the 1871 Fire
The aftermath of the 1871 fire – Wikimedia

• Fifty years after its first African-American student enrolled, the University of Mississippi commemorated its integration — and some are criticizing the nature of the commemoration.

• The Smithsonian posted a good summary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 – though it doesn’t mention that a Swedish Baptist seminary was founded in the fire’s aftermath, nor that that school’s history department would be blogging about said fire in 2012.

• Imagining the history of the space race if NASA had never been created.

• What would history look like if Christian historians took sin seriously?

• And the leading professional society for Christian historians ends its biennial meeting this afternoon. Our own Chris Gehrz is on the scene: here are his summary of panel sessions on Friday morning and afternoon, his take on CFH president Tracy McKenzie’s call for a rethinking of “The Vocation of a Christian Historian,” and a whole bunch of Tweets.

• Prof. Gehrz also provided a reflection and several links on the death of Eric Hobsbawm, one of the 20th century’s greatest historians.

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