HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST Jewish Studies 3521/Religious Studies 354l Tuesdays-Thursdays Summer Session 2: l996: 6:20-8:50PM Dr. Stephen Feinstein, Adjunct Professor Goals of the Course: "The Holocaust cannot be thought because it cannot be exhausted by historical narration. It remains elusive, uncontained, a putative mystery because the categories by which such immensities are grasped seem inadequate and trivial." Arthur Cohen, The Tremendum. Despite the introductory statement, this course will attempt to document and analyze the Holocaust--in particular, the background, development and systematic extermination of European Jews by the Nazis. Not only were Jews affected by Nazi policy, but others labeled "undesireable" or "subhuman" were also exterminated in this process. If one studies the history of the second World War, one might come away believing that the extermination of the Jews was simply a footnote to history. Recent historical thought, however, has suggested that the very reason for the War might be directly linked to Hitler's desire to kill Jews. In this course, particular attention will be given to the phenomenon of anti -Semitism, in b oth its religious and secular forms, to the relationship between mass murder or genocide and the growth of bureaucracy and technology, and to the challenges posed by the Holocaust for religious and humanistic beliefs and values. Because of recent events in the post-Cold War World, there is a certain potency to studying the Holocaust as an event, it may now be said to foreshadow the destruction of human beings that has begun anew in the former Yugoslavia and famine and politically-linked killing in Africa. In this course, however, it is hoped to make a definitive definitional line between genocide and Holocaust, as the latter word is often misused. In fact, it may be said that the word "holocaust" has been so misused that it now has to be modified. At his trial in Milwaukee a few years ago, serial killer Jeffrey Dalmer said "I created a real Holocaust." Anti-abortion activists have used the phrase "holocaust of the unborn." Whatever your views on the subject, it is important for each movement to create its own vocabulary and not to appropriate words and imagery from another movement. The word “holocaust” was in use well before World War II, as it means a “burnt offering,” having religious connotations. Popular use of the word before 1945 usually meant a terrible accident, as in a train crash. Now, u sing the word "Holocaust" for events other than the destruction of the Jews banalizes this and other events. So, part of the course will implicitly deal with the changing vocabulary associated with genocidal events. The course will depend on several techniques: l. Lectures for basic introduction and explanations. 2. Class discussion. 3. Reading books on syllabus for paper writing and some analtyical thought about the meaning of the Holocaust. 4. Utilization of films and video taped materials which will hopefully raise more questions and provide some graphic illustrations of the Holocaust's dimensions. 5. Utilization of guest speakers--in particular, a Holocaust survivor. WORLD WIDE WEB SITES: WWW has many sites for information about the Holocaust. This includes sites from the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, sites that provide information about the Holocaust generally, plus a group of Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi materials. Use Netscape or Yahoo for searches under words: “Holocaust,” “Nazi Germany,” “Holocaust Denial,” “Revisionism,” Site for US Holocaust Museum: (http://www.ushmm.org/) Accessing the Resource Page USHMM: (http://www.ushmm.org/access.htm) Also Cybrary, which includes some photo albums and lesson plans.
the MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS and the PATHOLOGICAL MUSEUM in the KZ GUSEN Concentration camp. Even DR.VETTER experimented there too in parallel to his Auschwitz RUTHENOL EXPERIMENTS. For more, simply click "Medical Experiments at KZ Gusen" in one of the following URL?s: http://linz.orf.at/gast/gusen/index.htm http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/camps/gusen/index.htm http://calgary.shaw.wave.ca/doulos/gusen/index.htm Website - Woman and the Holocaust:http://www.interlog.com/~mighty
Required texts: Available from the bookstore for purchase. Yehuda Bauer. A History of the Holocaust.(Franklin Watts) (This is the basic chronological text for the course and should be read in a way to maintain a chronological understanding of the materials) Primo Levi. Survival in Auschwitz. Judith Magyar Isaacson. Seed of Sarah Deborah Lipstadt. Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Holocaust. \Christopher Browning. Ordinary Men. John K. Roth and Michael Berenbaum.(ed). Holocaust, Religious and Philosophical Implications. (Paragon)
Requirements for the Course: Students are expected to attend class regularly (we meet for only l0 sessions , 5 weeks!) and to read assigned material ahead of time. The degree of preparation that you bring with you will have an obvious relationship to the quality of your participation in the class sessions. The reading above may appear massive, but several books are very short. In case you think you already know all that is to be known about the Holocaust, try to discard that view and search for new ideas and truths. There are three writing assignments for th is summer class. This is no final in an effort to give you an opportunity to breathe. While this is a four credit course, the shortness of contact hours of teaching is made up in reading and writing assignments. Students should read the weekly reading assignments in advance as it may add to your understanding of the material and also to the class discussion. If you need extra time for assignments, some arrangement can be made but you will get an Incomplete grade for the course.
Assignments: a. Students are to write a 6-8 page report/analysis utilizing the works by Levi and Isaacson, bringing together the main ideas and arguments in a contrast arrangement. Levi speaks as an Italian Jew and male survivor who was in Auschwitz-Buna (Camp 3); Isaacson speaks as a Hungarian Jew and female who was a survivor of ghetto and camps. Focus on how the accounts are similar, and how they differ. What does each work teach about the Holocaust, about the camps, and about survival? You may include some personal responses to these works in the text. b. A 6-8 page report analyzing Lipstadt’s approach to the issue of the American press and the Holocaust and the questions that it raises about what should the Am erican role have been as onlookers , and Browning’s approach
to who becomes a perpetrator. In viewing this assignment, a significant theme may be the role of “ordinary people” in the Holocaust. What do these works say about institutions and individuals we may take for granted? c. A report analyzing the religious and philosophical issues brought forth in the book by Roth and Berenbaum. The nature of these essays will demand some personal reflections by you as an individual, which may differ according to your own world outlook, religious background, attitudes toward political system and bureaucracies, and attiutude toward the world today. This report should be 6-8 pages. As this course is listed in both Religious Studies and Jewish Studies, ultimately the study of the Holocaust should lead to some moral considerations.
TENTATIVE SESSIONS: (l) Thursday, July 18: Background, various types of anti-Semitism through the ages, the condition of German and East European Jews in the l9th century; the rise of racism. Read: Bauer, Chapters 1 & 2. Selection from Nazi propaganda film, "The Eternal Jew." (2) Tuesday,July 23 Rise of Nazism, legalization of terror in Germany. Read Bauer, Chapters 3,4,5 & 6; Lipstadt, Chapters l and 2. Psychological aspects of authority and obedience. Film: "The Milgram Experiment." Read Levi (all). Discussion of selection and victimization process. (3) Thursday,July 25. Jews as a Public Health Problem: Biomedical ethics and the Holocaust. Excerpts from film on Euthenasia program/T-4. Discussion of selection, victimization process. Reading for the week: Bauer, Chapters 7-l2/ Issacson and Levi. (4) Tuesday,July 30. The Final Solution and Resistance Bauer, Chapter ll. Analysis of sections of Claude Lanzmann's film, "Shoah." Class participation and response is particularly welcome in this class. July 30: FIRST REPORT DUE: LEVI AND ISAACSON (5) Thursday, August 1. Testimony of a survivor. TBA. (6) Tuesday,August 6 Some continued remarks regarding "Shoah."Escape routes and the world's reaction Reading: Lipstadt. (all);Bauer, Chapter l2,.l3. (7) Thursday,August 8. Altruism and religious based responses:Film: "Weapons of the Spirit." (Rescue in Le Chambon Sur Lignon, 30 minute version). Reading:Bauer, Remainder of book. Roth and Berenbaum. all. (8) Tuesday, August 13. The theological and philosophical implications of the Holocaust on modern Christian and Jewish thinking. Issues of "death of God" and "reasons for God's silence." Roth and Bernenbaum. August 13. Second report due on Lipstadt and Browning. (9) Thursday, August 15. Resistance in the ghettos and camps, the role of the Judenrat, p roblems of survival after the end of the War. The DP camps, post-war refugee questions, and establishment of the State of Israel. Ongoing questions of German responsibility and reparations. (10) Tuesday, August 20. Nuremberg trials and hunting war criminals,some of the issues that affect life in the l980s. Film: "The Hunter and the Hunted."(If time warrants); The use and abuse of the Holocaust"Revisionism" and the meaning of the Holocaust in the context of Zionism and the State of Israel. See section in Bauer. Other victimsof Nazism: Homosexuals, Gypsies, question ofvictimization of the Poles and post-Holocaustdisputes involving the concentration camp sites. Who owns memory of the Holocaust?
August 20: Last Report Due Roth and Berenbaum
Dr. Feinstein's telephone: Home 6l2-377-3857. Wisconsin: 7l5-425-3376 (University of Wisconsin-River Falls during day). EMAIL: [email protected]
Feel free to ask questions or make appointments via email. Office Hours: 5-6PM on Class days by appointment. Please try to let me know in advance if you need to see me during office hours. Fowell Hall 309A Hall. Mail box 305 Fowell Hall during the day. Please do not slip papers under door of secretarial staff in 330/330A. Do not send papers by FAX.