When Polish Jew, Henri Tajfel, left Poland to study Chemistry in Sorbonne, France he did not know that when he returned that none of his immediate family and few of his friends would be alive. The Second World War would find in France, where he volunteered in the French Army and later would become a prisoner of war a year later.
He would face a dilemma, announce to his captors deny he was a Polish Jew or claim to be a French citizen. In the end he admitted to being Jewish but claimed French citizenship. This act probably saved his life as he survived the war in a series of POW camps. This experience also embarked him on a quest to find out the reasons for prejudice and intergroup relations.
After the war he worked with a Jewish organization helping to resettle Jewish orphans and the UN’s refugee Organization, but it was his work in social psychology that is the most influential to this day. After moving to the UK to study psychology and graduating his research examining different areas of social psychology, social judgment, nationalism and prejudice that I want to talk about.