Lectures: Sam Mather 202

Discussions: Sam Mather 202

Films: Sunday at 7 PM, Olin Auditorium

INDS 231: The Holocaust
Kenyon College
Fall 2010


Prof. Allan Fenigstein
Samuel Mather 304; PBX 5372 
Office Hours: MW F 10-12am and by appt.

Prof. Mary Suydam
Ascension 11; PBX 5067
Office Hours: MW 2-3; T-Th. 1-2:30 and by appt.

Course Information



Course Syllabus

I. Books (Required reading):

Bergen, Doris, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (Rowan and Littlefield: 2003)

Klein, Gerda, All But My Life (Noonday Press, NY: 1988)

Levi, Primo, Survival in Auschwitz (Macmillan, Collier Books, NY: 1961)

Heger, Heinz, The Men With the Pink Triangle (Alyson Publications, Boston: 1994)

Sereny, Gitta, Into that Darkness (Random House, Vintage Books, NY: 1983)

Niewyk, Donald, The Holocaust (Houghton-Mifflin, NY: 1997)

Spiegelman, Art, Maus I (Pantheon Books, NY: 1986)

II. Course Requirements

A. Attendance and participation (20%) at regularly scheduled classes, occasional guest lectures, as well as all films, is required. All students are expected to participate in seminar discussions. Chronic absenteeism (4 or more unexcused absences from a lecture, seminar, and/or film) will result in automatic failure.

Seminar discussion will partially revolve around questions set up by partnered students in consultation with the instructors. The discussion leaders will be expected to generate and post ideas and questions for the seminar by Wednesday, 8 PM, and to lead the seminar discussions. See Seminar List

There are ten films required for this class. The films will be shown on Sunday evening and will be followed by a discussion. The films can be viewed in AV if one cannot attend the regularly-scheduled showings. Students who miss the Sunday showing will be expected to write a two-page critical review of the film.

B. Writing. All writing is due on the date announced, or, in the case of response papers, on the day the reading is discussed. No late papers will be accepted unless properly excused. Carefully read and follow essay guidelines, which will be distributed early in the semester, and review the College rules on Academic Honesty (pp. 24-27 in the Course of Study). Please keep all copies of your writing until it is graded and returned to you. Writing requirements are as follows:

1. Response Papers (20%). At the beginning of each seminar you will be asked to write a short response paper. These essays will become the basis for part of the seminar discussion. Response papers will be expected to demonstrate understanding of the weekly lecture materials and reading assignments.

2. Annotated Bibliography (20%). This assignment is a short research project on a topic related to the Holocaust. By short I mean more comprehensive than you can find in online encyclopedias but less thorough than a semester-long research project. See Guidelines for a fuller explanation. Your assignment is to find at least two books, two journal articles, and a website that you would use to write a research paper about the topic (Note: for this assignment you will NOT be actually writing a research paper). Your assignment is to prepare an annotated biliography which provides a critical review of the literature related to your topic. Follow the format in How to Write an Annotated Bibliography and refer to Critically Analyzing Information Sources. For a sample format click here .

After you prepare the annotated bibliography, you will generate 3 questions -- based on your research -- that are important to understanding the topic that you chose. You will then write a one-paragraph thesis for that topic. The final project is due December 9.

C. Exams: Midterm and Final Exam (20% each).

III. Course Outline
Week 1: Thursday, August 26: Introduction and Issues

Thurs. Introduction to the course (Profs. Fenigstein, Suydam)
Sunday evening: Film: The Longest Hatred


Handout: Ruth Kruger, "The Camps", in Levi and Rothenberg, eds., The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings, 50-55

Week 2: August 31 - September 5: Christian Ideologies of Antisemitism

Tues. Christian Antisemitism (Prof. Rhodes)
Thurs. Seminar

Sunday evening film (Sept. 5): Triumph of the Will

Bergen, War and Genocide, chapter 1

Niewyk, ed., The Holocaust, 1-24

E-Res: Moishe Postone, "Anti-Semitism and National Socialism", in Levi and Rothenberg, eds., The Holocaust, 132-139

Week 3: September 7 - 12: The Nazi Rise to Power

Tues. The Ideology of Fascism in pre-war Germany (Prof. Suydam)
Thurs. Seminar (Handout: Chronology of the Nazi Rise to Power)
Sunday evening (Sept. 12): Into the Arms of Strangers

Bergen, War and Genocide, chapter 2

E-Res, Kenneth Burke, "The Rhetoric of Hitler's 'Battle'", andGeorge Battaile, "The Psychological Structure of Fascism", in Levi and Rothenberg, eds., The Holocaust, 107-120

Week 4: September 14 -19: Accommodation, Emigration, Escape
Tues. Jewish Response in Germany (Professor Baumann)
Thurs. Seminar
Sunday evening film (Sept. 19): In the Shadow of the Reich

E-Res: Botwinick,Rita, A Holocaust Reader, chapter 6

E-Res:Botwinick, Rita A History of the Holocaust, chapter 6

Week 5: September 20 - 26: Ideologies of race

Tues. Racial hygiene (Prof. Suydam)
In class film: Alles Leben ist Kampf
Thurs. seminar

Heinz Heger, the Men with the Pink Triangle
Gita Sereny, Into That Darkness, part I
Bergen, War and Genocide, chapter 3

Week 6: September 28 - October 3: The outbreak of war

Tues. Invasions of Poland and Russia; (Prof. Fenigstein)
Thurs. Seminar
Sunday film(October 3): The Warsaw Ghetto

Bergen, War and Genocide, chapters 4 and 5
Klein, All But My Life, part 1

Week 7: Oct. 5: Life and Death in the Ghettoes (Prof. Fenigstein)

Tues. Survival and Death in the Ghettoes.

Topics for Annotated Bibliography due

Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
Bergen, War and Genocide, chapter 6

------------------------------OCTOBER BREAK --------------------------------------


Week 8: October 12 - 17: Life and Death in the Camps
Tues. From Ghettoes to Extermination (Prof. Fenigstein)
Thurs. seminar

Take Home Midterm Handed out October 14: Due Tuesday, October 19.
Sunday film (October 17): Now After All These Years

Bergen, War and Genocide, chapter 7

Klein, All But My Life, part 2

Week 9: October 19 - 24): The Characters of the Onlookers

Tues. Bystanders, Collaborators, Resisters (Prof. Suydam)
Thurs. seminar

Take Home Midterm Due Tuesday, October 19.

Sunday film (October 24): Wannsee Conference

Niewyk, part 5
Sereny, Into that Darkness, part 2
 E-Res, "Race, Gender, and Genocide, in Levi and Rothenberg, eds., The Holocaust, 160-186

Bergen, War and Genocide, chapter 8


Week 10: October 26 - 31: The Character of the Killers

Tues. The Psychology of the Perpetators (Prof. Fenigstein)
Thurs. seminar

Sunday film (October 31): Partisans of Vilna

Klein, All But My Life, part 2 (review)

Sereny, Into that Darkness, part 3
Niewyk, part 2

Week 11: November 2 - 7: Jewish Resistances

Tues. Jewish resistances (Prof. Suydam)
Thurs. seminar

Reading List for Annotated Bibliography due
Sunday film (November 7 at 8:15 pm):They Risked their Lives

Niewyk, part 4

E-Res, Botwinick, A Holocaust Reader, chapter 10

Week 12: November 9 - 14: Rescuers
Tues. Who were the rescuers? (Prof. Suydam)

Thurs. seminar

Klein, All But My Life, part 3

Niewyk, part 6

E-Res: "Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust" inJoseph Mitchell and Helen Mitchell, eds., The Holocaust: Readings and Interpretations, 272-283

Week 13: November 16 -18: What did the United States Know and Do?

Tues. The U.S. and the Holocaust (Prof. Suydam)

Learning from Mistakes?
Thurs. seminar

Sample Annotated Bibliography (1 book) due November 18.

 --------------------------------------------THANKSGIVING BREAK --------------------------------------

E-Res, "The Roosevelt Administration and the United States", in Joseph Mitchell and Helen Mitchell, eds., The Holocaust: Readings and Interpretations, 339-362

E-Res, Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews, chapters 5 and 16

Week 14: November 29-December 4: Art and the Holocaust

Tues: The Holocaust on Film (Professor Finke)

Thurs. seminar

Spiegelman, Maus I

E-Res, Liliane Weissberg, "in Plain Sight", in Levi and Rothenberg, eds., The Holocaust, 396-403


Week 15: Reverberations

Tues: Legacies of the Holocaust

Thurs. seminar

Complete Annotated Bibliography Due December 9.

Final Exam Handed Out.

E-Res: R. Rubenstein and E. Wiesel, "An Exchange" in Roth and Berenbaum, Holocaust: Religious and Philosophical Implications, 349-369

E-Res: R. Rubenstein, "The Dean and the Chosen People", in Roth and Berenbaum, Holocaust: Religious and Philosophical Implications, 277-288