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“An Introduction to Holocaust Studies” – Course Syllabus

Prerequisite Course for those with Gandel or Pauline Glass Scholarships

As an introduction to the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators, this course provides a survey of prewar Jewish life in Europe, the history of antisemitism, ghetto life, the beginnings of the “Final Solution,” and finally the circumstances of liberation. Some attention is also paid to modern issues that arise in Holocaust education, such as that of Holocaust denial. Necessary before in-depth study, this course provides learners with a basic knowledge of Jewish history and the Holocaust.

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Lesson one:
Introduction and the Jews of Berlin
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:
Excerpts from interviews with Professors David Bankier, Saul Friedlaender, and Shulamit Volkov.
Further reading:

  1. Amos Elon, “Introduction,” The Pity of it All, a History of the Jews in Germany, 1743-1933. New York: Picador, 2002, pp. 1-12.
  2. Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol.1. Harper Collins, New York 1997, Chapter 3.

Lesson two:
Jewish Politics in Poland in the Interwar Period
This lesson looks at the political life of Jews in Poland from the 16th century until the eve of World War II.
Reading:
Ezra Mendelsohn, “Jewish Politics in Interwar Poland: An Overview,” in Yisrael Gutman, Ezra Mendelsohn, Jehuda Reinharz, Chone Shemruk (Eds.), The Jews of Poland Between the Two World Wars, University Press of New England, Hanover, 1989, pp. 9-19.
Further reading:
Ezra Mendelsohn, “The Jewish Response: Jewish Politics in Poland in the 1920’s”, The Jews of East Central Europe Between the Two World Wars, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1983, pp. 43-63.


Lesson three:
German Anti-Jewish Policy
This lesson is an historical background to Nazism.
The materials explore Nazi Ideology with a focus on the antisemitic components.
Reading:

  1. Walter Zvi Bachrach, “Antisemitism and Racism in Nazi Ideology”, Michael Berenbaum (Ed.), The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined, Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press, 1998, pp. 64-74.
  2. Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. I, Harper Collins, New York, 1997, Chapter 5, Sections IV-VI, pp. 162-173

Lesson four:
Antisemitism – A Look at Stereotypes


Lesson five:
Anstisemitism – Stereotypes and Prejudice


Lesson six:
Introduction to the Ghettos
This lesson is an introduction to the ghettos established by the Nazi regime, in which we will examine the single, vague order which resulted in the creation of an extensive network of ghettos in occupied Poland and eastern Europe in which Jews were isolated and made to suffer. The lesson discusses the purposes the Nazis sought to achieve by establishing ghettos, and studies three ghettos in some depth - the Warsaw, Lodz and Vilna ghettos.
Reading:
Dieter Pohl, “Hans Krueger and the Murder of the Jews in the Stanislawow Region”, (Yad Vashi Studies, Vol. 26, 1998), 239- 265.

Additional Reading:
  1. Avraham Liebesman, “The Smuggling of Food”, With the Jews of Stanislawow in the Holocaust (Heb.), (Ghetto Fighter’s House and Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1980), 48-50.
    Aharon Weiss, “The Relationship between the Judenrat and the Jewish Police Force in Occupied Poland,” Patterns of Jewish Leadership in Nazi Europe 1933-1945, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1979, pp. 201-218.
  2. Aharon Weiss on the Relations Between the Judenrat and the Jewish Police.

Lesson seven:
Introduction to the “Final Solution”
This lesson traces the German war with the Soviet Union and the fate of its Jews.
Reading:
Extracts from: Yitzhak Arad, “The Holocaust of Soviet Jewry,” Yad Vashem Studies, XXI, pp. 1-47.
Further Reading:
Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman (Eds.), The Black Book, Holocaust Library, Holocaust Publications Inc, New York 1981) (esp. “The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic”, pp. 253-294.)


Lesson eight:
Liberation and Return to Life
This lesson takes a look at survivors returning to life after the Holocaust.
Through use of photographs and testimonies, the materials will present a series of educational directives to be applied in the classroom.

Lesson nine:
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:
Gandel Philanthropy
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