Representing the Holocaust

Representing the Holocaust Banner

Fall 2019
FILM 2253 / GERM 2203: MWF, 10-11 AM

Syllabus Representing the Holocaust



  • Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz. Touchstone, 1996. ISBN 978-0684826806
  • Elie Wiesel, Night. Hill and Wang, 2006. ISBN 978-0374500016
  • Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, My Father Bleeds History, Vol. I. (you might want to think about buying the combined vols. I & II. But we will only discuss the first in class.) ISBN 978-0394747231
  • Aharon Appelfeld, Badenheim 1939. David R Godine, 1980. ISBN 9781567923919
  • BUY A STAPLER (to turn in papers)
  • All other readings will be made available at Canvas.

Representing the Holocaust

📖 Primary Literature (read as homework)
📌 Secondary material to be covered in class (Students will be responsible for citing the material on exams. If citing in essays, students should cite more precisely with author and page number. On exams, the information should be recalled and recited, but it is not necessary to remember authors’ names.)
✎ 1-2 page critical response (write)
📥 3-4 page essay (write)
👓 Guest Lecturer (listen, speak)
🎥 Movie
DateAssignments are due on the date to the left.
Mon, August 26📌 Celan – “Death Fuge”
Wed, August 28📖 “How to Read a Poem,” Judith Ryan, in A User’s Guide to German Cultural Studies, 452-455 [3 pages]
📌 Martin Niemöller, “First they came”
📖 USHMM, “History of the Holocaust: An Overview” [9 pages – all readings must be printed out and brought to class]
📖 Primo Levi - Survival in Auschwitz [187 pages]
Fri, August 30📖 USHMM, “Chronology of the Holocaust” [15 pages]
📖 Primo Levi - Survival in Auschwitz
Week 2
Mon, September 3🚫 Labor Day—no class
📖 Primo Levi - Survival in Auschwitz
Wed, September 4📖 Primo Levi - Survival in Auschwitz
Fri, September 6📖 Primo Levi - Survival in Auschwitz
Mon, September 9📖 Giorgio Agamben – “Witness” in Remnants of Auschwitz [25 pages]
🎥 Holocaust testimony.
Watch 30 minutes of clips among Holocaust testimony (not other genocides). Possible topics: Voting, The 1936 Berlin Olympics, World War II Veterans and Liberators, Messages to the Future, Kindertransport, etc.
✎ 1-2 page critical response on testimonial clips. Read "Rubric for critical response" at Canvas. Think thematically rather than topically to write your response. What is striking about what they choose to talk about? What is their demeanor while talking? How do they differ from each other?
Wed, September 11Quiz: Chronology of the Holocaust
📖 “How to View a Film,” Gerd Gemünden, in A User’s Guide to German Cultural Studies, 458-460 [2 pages]
🎥 Shoah (France, 1985) [Excerpts: Disc 1, first 14 min., 00:42-1:30, 2:05-2:34 (end)]
Fri, September 13🎥 Shoah (France, 1985) [Excerpts: Disc 2, 00:59-1:19, 1:42-1:53; Disc 3, 00:17-00:37, 1:23-1:32]
📖 Berel Lang, "Holocaust Genres and the Turn to History." The Holocaust and the Text: Speaking the Unspeakable. Ed. Andrew Leak and George Paizis. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000. 17-31. [14 pages]

Week 4
Mon, September 16📖 Elie Wiesel – Night [120 pages]
📖 "Site and Speech." An Interview with Claude Lanzmann about Shoah (1985) [12 Pages]
If you didn't already see: 🎥 Shoah (France, 1985) [Disc 3, 00:17-00:37, 1:23-1:32]
📌 🎥 Night and Fog (France, 1955)

Wed, September 18📖 Elie Wiesel – Night
🎥 Theresienstadt: The Führer gives a City to the Jews (Nazi Germany, 1944)
📌 Bathrick, “Teaching Visual Culture and the Holocaust”
Fri, September 20📖 Elie Wiesel – Night
📌 Benjamin Wilkomiriski, Fragments;
Week 5
Mon, September 23📖 Elie Wiesel – Night
📌 Naomi Seidman – Faithful Renderings
Wed, September 25📖 Elie Wiesel – Night
Fri, September 27Holocaust Memorials and Museums
📖 “How to View a Building,” Scott Denham & Irene Kacandes, in A User’s Guide to German Cultural Studies, 456-457 [2 pages]
📌 🎥 Peter Eisenman: Building Germany’s Holocaust Memorial (USA, 2005) (available @library on course reserve)
📥 Essay on literary representations of the Holocaust: Elie Wiesel’s Night or Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz.
Week 6
Mon, September 30🚫 Rosh Hashanah—no class
📖 Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning [15 pages]
📖 Stumbling Stones in Berlin Neighborhood Walk [11 pages]
Wed, October 2Jewish Critique of German Holocaust Memorialization
📖 Esther Dischereit – Before the High Holy Days the House Was Full of Whisperings and Rustlings [60 pages, see also]
📌 Eugen Gomringer, “Silence”
Fri, October 4📖 Esther Dischereit – Before the High Holy Days the House Was Full of Whisperings and Rustlings [60 pages, see also]
Week 7
Mon, October 7📖 “How to View a Performance,” Heidi Gilpin, in A User’s Guide to German Cultural Studies, 469-473 [3 pages]
📌 🎥 Entweder Broder, "Happy Holocaust" (0:00 – 9:13,
📖 Giorgio Bassani – “A Plaque on Via Mazzini” [25 pages]
Wed, October 9🚫 Yom Kippur—no class
Field Excursion – New England Holocaust Memorial
✎ Take a picture of the memorial and write a 2-page critical response of the affective work the memorial does, plus the picture that YOU took (not one off the Internet). [Due next class]
Fri, October 11Midterm [review sheet on Canvas]
✎ 2-page critical response on New England Holocaust Memorial due.
Week 8
Mon, October 14🚫 Fall Break—no class
Wed, October 16Representing the Holocaust in the United States
🎥 Schindler’s List (USA, 1993)
📌 Claude Lanzmann, "Why Spielberg has Distorted the Truth" (1994)
📌 Hansen, “Schindler’s List Is Not Shoah: Second Commandment, Popular Modernism, and Public Memory”
Fri, October 18📖 Spiegelman – Maus I [159 pages]
📌 🎥 The Great Dictator (USA, 1940)
Week 9
Mon, October 21🚫 Sukkot—no class
📖 Spiegelman – Maus I
Wed, October 23📖 Spiegelman – Maus I
✎ 1-2 page critical response
Fri, October 25No homework. Catch-up day to finish discussion of American representations
Woche 10
Mon, October 28Representing the Catholic Church
🎥 Amen (USA, 2002 / originally a German play)
📖 Rebuttal to Amen
Wed, October 30Representing the Holocaust in the Eastern Bloc
🎥 The Murderers are Among Us (German Soviet Zone, 1946)
Fri, November 1📖 Hannah Arendt – The Banality of Evil [336 pages, excerpts]
📖 Gershom Scholem and Hannah Arendt letters [6 pages]
📥 Essay 2 on memorialization representations of the Holocaust
Week 11
Mon, November 4🎥 Come and See (Soviet Union, 1985)
Wed, November 6Israeli Representation
📖 Aharon Appelfeld, Badenheim 1939 [144 pages]
Fri, November 8📖 Aharon Appelfeld, Badenheim 1939
Week 12
Mon, November 11📖 Aharon Appelfeld, Badenheim 1939
Wed, November 13📖 Aharon Appelfeld, Badenheim 1939
✎ 1-2 page critical response
Fri, November 15🎥 The Great Promise (British Palestine, 1947)
Week 13
Mon, November 18Representing the Next Generation
📖 Yehuda Amichai – “My Father’s Deaths” [9 pages]
📖 Suleiman, “The 1.5 Generation: Thinking About Child Survivors of the Holocaust” [15 pages]
Wed, November 20📖 Leonard Tushnet – “The Ban” [4 pages]
📖 S. L. Wisenberg – “Liberator,” “My Mother’s War” [13 pages]
📖 Weigel, “‘Generation’ as a Symbolic Form: On the Genealogical Discourse of Memory since 1945” [11 pages]
Fri, November 22🎥 The Flat (Israel, 2011)
Week 14
Mon, November 25📌 McGlothlin, “Introduction: Rupture and Repair: Marking the Legacy of the Second Generation” from Second-Generation Holocaust Literature: Legacies of Survival and Perpetration
✎ First page of Final Essay due
Wed, November 27🚫 Thanksgiving—no class
Fri, November 29🚫 Thanksgiving—no class
Week 15
Mon, December 2🎥 Chasing Portraits (USA, 2018)
Wed, December 4Historiography: Is the Holocaust Unique?
📖 “How to Read History,” Omar Bartov, in A User’s Guide to German Cultural Studies, 477-478
📖 Steven Katz, “The Uniqueness of the Holocaust: The Historical Dimension,” in Is the Holocaust Unique?, p. 19-38 [17 pages]
📖 David Stannard, “Uniqueness as Denial: The Politics of Genocide Scholarship,” in Is the Holocaust Unique?, p. 169-171, 186-199 [excerpt 17 pages]
Fri, December 6Historiography: Women in the Holocaust
📖 Lenore Weitzman “Living on the Aryan Side in Poland: Gender, Passing, and the Nature of Resistance,” in Women in the Holocaust, p. 187-222 [32 pages]
📌 Historikerinnenstreit; Diary of Anne Frank
Week 16
Mon, December 9🎓 Last Day. Course Synthesis.
🎥 Denial (UK/USA, 2018)
Sat, Dec. 14📥 Essay 3 on cinematic representations of the Holocaust: discuss the cinematic representations as representing a national narrative in regard to the Holocaust. Essay and makeup work due by 2:30pm.