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The International School for Holocaust Studies

Online Courses

“Commemoration and Remembrance” – Course Syllabus

“At the Edge of the Abyss – The Holocaust of European Jewry"

This course focuses on Holocaust consciousness beginning in the immediate postwar period and continuing through the present. We will address contemporary issues, such as Holocaust denial, popularization of the Holocaust, and integration of Holocaust remembrance into global education. We will also cover representation of the Holocaust in the arts, film and media.

As with all our online courses, assignments may be submitted at your own pace. Once you are approved onto the course system, participation will remain open for a period of 6 months, after which your course access will expire. We recommend reading the material and submitting the assignments at a rate of one lesson or more every two weeks.

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This online course is one of 5 courses comprising “At the Edge of the Abyss – The Holocaust of European Jewry".

Lesson one:
Awareness, Consciousness, and Memory
This lesson focuses on Holocaust consciousness in the period beginning in the 1950s and continuing through the end of the 20th century. Particular attention is paid to the role of Holocaust survivors in Holocaust awareness, as well as various forms of commemoration.
Reading:
Anita Shapira, “The Holocaust: Private Memories, Public Memory,” in Jewish Social Studies, Vol.4, No.2, Winter 1998, pp. 40-58.
Further reading:

  1. Saul Friedlander, Memory, History and the Extermination of the Jews of Europe, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), 1993.
  2. Dalia Ofer, “Israel,” The World Reacts to the Holocaust, (Editor) David Wyman, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press), 1996.

Lesson two:
Memory, Commemoration, and Education
This lesson focuses on Jewish life in Berlin between 1812 and 1930, marked by changes in Germany’s political climate, and influenced by major Jewish political thinkers.
Reading:
Extracts from: Dalia Ofer, Beyond the Conflict – Israel, The World Reacts to the Holocaust, David Wyman, editor, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, pp. 873-880; 889-894.
Further reading:
Dalia Ofer, Beyond the Conflict – Israel, The World Reacts to the Holocaust, David Wyman, (ed.), Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, pp. 836-925.

Lesson three:
The Politics of Memory
This lesson looks at memorials and attitudes toward the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, Poland, and France.
Reading:
Zvi Gitelman, “The Soviet Union,” The World Reacts to the Holocaust, David Wyman, editor, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, pp. 306-324.
Further Reading:
Yehuda Bauer, “Speech to the Bundestag on January 27, 1998,” Rethinking the Holocaust, Yale University Press 2001, pp. 261-273.

Lesson four:
Facing the Past – Memory and Commemoration in Germany
Focusing specifically on Germany, this lesson looks at Holocaust commemoration from the immediate post-war period until after the Cold War.
Reading:
Jeffrey Herf, “Legacies of Divided Memory for German Debates about the Holocaust in the 1990s,” German Politics and Society 52, Vol. 17, No. 3, Fall 1999, pp. 9-34.
Further Reading:

  1. Dan Bar-On, Legacy of Silence, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989.
  2. Richard Evans, In Hitler's Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt to Escape the Nazi Past, New York, NY: Pantheon, 1989.
  3. Ulrich Herbert, “Extermination Policy: New Answers and Questions about the History of the Holocaust in German Historiography,” in National Socialist Extermination Policies (U. Herbert, ed.), Berghahn Books, 2000.

Lesson five:
Art and Memory
Art has an indelible impact on memory. This lesson focuses on monuments as well as personal art that has been designed to memorialize the Holocaust.
Reading:

  1. Sybil Milton, "Art of the Holocaust: A Summary", Randolph L. Braham (Ed.), Reflections of the Holocaust in Art and Literature, City University of New York, New York, 1990, pp.147-152.
  2. More links to art and artists related to the Holocaust: www.yadvashem.org.il – Charlotte Salomon, Private Tolkachev.

Further Reading:

  1. Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Depiction and Interpretation, the Influence of the Holocaust on the Visual Arts, Pergamon Press, Oxford, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, 1993, xxxi-xxxiii, pp. 32-42.
  2. James Young (Ed.), The Art of Memory: Holocaust Memorials in History, Munich, Prestel, 1994.

Lesson six:
Literature and Memory
This lesson focuses on the postwar emergence of Holocaust literature as we continue to explore the relationship between art and the Holocaust.
Reading:
Leslie Epstein, "Writing about the Holocaust," Berl Lang, (Ed.), Writing and the Holocaust, Holmes & Meier Publishers, New York 1988, pp. 261-270.
Further Reading:

  1. Aharon Appelfeld, "After the Holocaust", Berl Lang, editor: Writing and the Holocaust, Holmes & Meier Publishers, New York 1988, pp. 83-92.
  2. Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, "Considering the Apocalypse: Is the Writing on the Wall Only Graffiti?", Berl Lang, editor: Writing and the Holocaust, Holmes & Meier Publishers, New York 1988, pp. 137-153.

Lesson seven:
Films and Memory
This lesson looks at films of the 1940s and 1950s produced in France, Germany, and the United States. Each makes a statement on the Holocaust period and is a form of commemoration.
Reading:
Michael Bernard-Donals, Richard Glejzer, “Film and the Shoah: The Limits of Seeing”, Between Witness and Testimony – The Holocaust and the Limits of Representation, State of New York University Press, Albany, 2001, pp. 103-129.
Further Reading:

  1. Annette Insdorf, “The Holywood Version of the Holocaust”, Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust, Forward: Elie Wiesel, Cambridge University Press, 3rd edition, 2003, pp. 3-23.
  2. Joseph Roquemore, History Goes to the Movies, Broadway Books, New York 2000, pp. 190- 194.
  3. Ilan Avisar, “The Holywood Film and the Presentation of the Jewish catastrophe”, Screening the Holocaust: Cinema’s Images of the Unimaginable, Indiana University Press, Blomington and Indianapolis, 1988, pp. 90-133.

Lesson eight:
Commemoration of Non-Jewish Victims
This lesson discusses non-Jewish Holocaust victims who were deported and murdered during the years of World War II. Special attention is paid to the Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, disabled people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and political enemies.
Reading:
Jeffrey Herf, “Legacies of Divided Memory for German Debates about the Holocaust in the 1990s,” German Politics and Society 52, Vol. 17, No. 3, Fall 1999, pp. 9-34.
Further Reading:
Harold Marcuse, Legacies of Dachau, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge; New York, 2001.

Lesson nine:
Commemorating Righteous Among the Nations
This lesson focuses on individuals or groups who worked to save Jews in their societies. These heroes worked against the Nazis and for this they are honored at Yad Vashem.
Reading:

  1. Nechama Tec, “A Glimmer of Light”, Carol Rittner, Stephen D. Smith, Irena Steinfeldt (Editors), The Holocaust and the Christian World, Bet Shalom, Yad Vashem, 2000, pp. 150-155.
  2. Eva Fleischner, “The Memory of Goodness”, Carol Rittner, Stephen D. Smith, Irena Steinfeldt (Editors), The Holocaust and the Christian World, Bet Shalom, Yad Vashem, 2000, pp. 156-158.

Further Reading:
Carol Rittner and Sondra Myers, The Courage to Care: Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, New York: New York University Press, 1986.

Lesson ten:
Desecrators of Memory – The Phenomenon of Holocaust Denial
This lesson focuses on Holocaust denial both in the postwar years as well as well as today. It covers its origins, methods, and main lines of argument, including steps for combating the phenomenon.
Reading:
Kenneth S. Stern, “Denial of the Holocaust: An Antisemitic Political Assault,” Antisemitism in America Today: Outspoken Experts Explode the Myths, Jerome A. Chanes (ed.), New York: Carol Publishing, 1995, pp. 242-257.
Additional Reading:
Pierre Vidal-Naquet, The Assassins of Memory: Essays on the Denial of the Holocaust, Columbia University Press New York, 1992.


With the generous support of:
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany