INAF-165 Holocaust: Destruction of Jews
Spring for 2017-2018
Almost 70 years after the War, the Holocaust remains one of the most researched chapters in human history. Both, for scholars, teachers, students and the tens of thousands of people living outside of Europe who had no personal connections to World War II and its events; the Holocaust remains a haunting and troubling question. Despite all the books written on this subject matter, there is still no clear and satisfactory answer about how this crime was possible, given the fact that the Holocaust was carried out by one of the most sophisticated, developed, cultured and civilized European nations. Almost 6 million Jews, mostly unarmed civilians, were murdered by well-educated German leaders who found killing the Jews as their most important task.
The main objective of this class is to examine several key issues including: the factors leading up to the Holocaust, the planning and implementation of extermination, and the response of nation-states. We will also examine important questions including; was German and European anti-Semitism a driving force that lead to this genocide? What was the role of modernity in this process and finally, we will discuss complicity and vicarious liability of European nations. This course will be divided into three major components including: the origins and development of anti-Semitism and its impact on anti-Jewish Nazi policy, preparations for and implementation of systematic and bureaucratized mass killing of Jews and other ethnic groups, and finally the response of the world during and after the Holocaust.
All these questions will be addressed and accessed through the reading of primary and secondary sources and film. We’ll be reading survivors testimonies and memoirs, as well as the testimonies of witnesses which often evoke painful and emotional reactions. We will also focus special attention on the moral questions faced by the victims, perpetrators, bystanders and rescuers.
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