Bob Weinberg                                                                               Marion Faber

Trotter 218                                                                                    Kohlberg 336

328-8133                                                                                       328-8155

rweinbe1                                                                                       mfaber1

Office Hours: MWF 1:30-3:00                                    Office Hours: MW 9:30-11:00



More than sixty years after the fact, and despite an enormous amount of research and testimony, the Holocaust of European Jewry continues to generate compelling historical and interpretive questions.  This course explores historical explanations, forms of memory and commemoration, and artistic representations of the Holocaust through an interdisciplinary approach that relies on primary sources, fiction, historical scholarship, memoirs, poetry, painting, and film.


Course Requirements:


Two six-page papers

One class presentation and eight-page paper based on the presentation

Class attendance and participation

Watching of films.  Please note that we will watch films as a class on most Tuesday afternoons from 4 to 6 in Trotter 301.  However, attendance on Tuesday afternoons is optional if you have scheduling conflicts with athletics and other commitments.  All films are on reserve in McCabe and you can watch them at your convenience.


This course counts toward the German Studies Concentration.


All students are expected to read the College’s policy on academic honesty and integrity that appears in the Swarthmore College Bulletin.  The work you submit must be your own, and you will be subject to prosecution by the College Judiciary College for work that we suspect is plagiarized.  When in doubt, check with us.


We also do not accept late papers and will assign a failing grade for the assignment unless you notify us and receive permission to submit the paper after the due date.  Class attendance is required, and unexcused absences will result in a lower grade for the class.


You can purchase the following books at the bookstore; they are also on reserve in McCabe.  All other readings are on Blackboard


Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin

Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men

Saul Friedländer, When Memory Comes

Gunter Grass, Crabwalk

Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair

Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

Art Spiegelman, Maus, volumes one and two


Week One: Introduction


January 23: Introduction to the Course


January 25: The Holocaust: Memorialization and Commemoration


Philip Gourevitch, “Behold the Behemoth” and Readers’ Letters

Gabrile Schonfeld, “Death Camps as Kitsch”

Timothy Ryback, “Evidence of Evil”

“A Debate about Teaching the Holocaust”

James Young, The Texture of Memory, selections


Week Two: Prelude to the Holocaust


January 30: The Impact of the First World War and Volkism

Watch Triumph of the Will (115 minutes)


February 1: Discussion of Hitler’s Weltanschauung


Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, selections

Susan Sontag, “Fascinating Fascism”


Week Three: Prelude to the Holocaust


February 6: Jews under Nazi Rule


Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany

Watch Degenerate Art (60 minutes)


February 8: Guest Lecture by Scott Gilbert


Week Four: The Final Solution


February 13: The Final Solution

Watch The Wannsee Conference (87 minutes)


February 15: Discussion of the Final Solution


Materials on the Wannsee Conference

Christopher Browning, “The Decision Concerning the Final Solution”


Week Five: Perpetrators and Victims


February 20: The Holocaust in the Soviet Union

Watch Chaim Rumkowski and the Jews of Lodz (55 minutes)


February 22: The Perpetrators


Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men




Week Six:  Accounts of the Holocaust—Diaries and letters


February 27: Library Skills.  Meet in Computer classroom in McCabe, 4th floor


March 1: Holocaust Memoirs


Victor Klemperer,  I Will Bear Witness, selections

Etty Hillesum, Letters from Westerbork, selections


Week Seven: Accounts of the Holocaust--Memoirs


March 6: Watch and discuss Night and Fog


March 8: Holocaust Memoirs


Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

Jean Amery, At the Mind’s Limits, selections


Week Eight: Accounts of the Holocaust--Memoirs


March 20: The Vichy Syndrome


Watch Weapons of the Spirit (91 minutes)


March 22: Holocaust Memoirs


Saul Friedlander, When Memory Comes


Week  Nine: Accounts of the Holocaust—Testimony


March 27: Shoah


We will watch selection from Shoah during and after class


March 29: Discussion of Shoah


Week Ten: Accounts of the Holocaust—Testimony


April 3: The Holocaust and Music:  Guest Lecture by Barbara Milewski

Watch Blind Spot (87 minutes)


April 5: Holocaust Testimony


Gitta Serenyi, Into that Darkness, selections


Week Eleven: Auschwitz Meets the Catskills


April 10: Guest Lecture


April 12: The Generation Gap


Art Spiegelman, Maus




Week Twelve: The Holocaust in Literature and Painting


April 17: Poetry and Painting


Paul Celan, Anselm Kiefer, and Nelly Sachs

Tadeusz Borowski, “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen”

Watch Mein Krieg (90 minutes)


April 19: German Reception of the Holocaust


Gunter Grass, Crabwalk


Week Thirteen: Gender and the Holocaust


April 24: Women’s Experiences


Anonymous, Woman in Berlin

Watch Germany, Pale Mother (123 minutes)


April 26: Women’s Experiences


Week Fourteen: Presentations


May 1 and 3: Group Presentations