HST2011S: The Holocaust course is being offered!

16 Jul 2015 - 08:30

The premeditated mass murder of approximately 6 million Jews during the Second World War was a central event of our times. Yet despite the passage of nearly seven decades since the end of that war, the Holocaust has not yet passed into what has been referred to as “mere history.” It continues to shape our world in a variety of ways. It informs our understanding of genocide and moral responsibility, memory and justice. It remains a touchstone in our culture, the subject of endless books and films. And the historical debates and controversies that its aroused remain contentious. 

Our course will do two things.

Firstly, you will be introduced to the development of Nazi policy toward the Jews. We will focus here on the questions "How and why did Germany embark on a program of systematic mass murder? And what did this program of mass murder look like?"

Secondly, we will examine a variety of major, and often troubling, themes relating to the Holocaust. These include the psychology of the perpetrators, the (in)actions of bystanders, the role of the church, the responses of Jews, and the memorialization of mass murder. 

At every point along the way our grim goal is to understand the thinking of those who planned, perpetrated, and participated in mass murder, the behaviours of those who witnessed the actions of the Nazis and their allies,  as well as the experience and "choiceless choices" of the victims.