Prof. Marcuse
HSSB 4221, 893-2635

UCSB Hist 133D, Winter 1998
HSSB 1174, T-Th 9:30-10:45
[10/10/05: please see my more recent Holocaust course web sites: Hist 33d, Hist 133d]



There are many reasons to study the Holocaust, which I conceive of as the development and systematic implementation, in a ("civilized," "Western") country similar to our own, of a program to wipe whole populations of quite ordinary people from the face of the Earth. In this course I wish to probe questions of causation (what made it happen?), moral responsibility (what human behaviors contributed to or mitigated it?), and history as an activity (how-and why-do we concern ourselves with the past?). We will address these questions as we study the historical "facts."


  1. I expect you to attend all classes and the three film screenings. Why take a course if you don't make the effort to learn what it teaches? Lectures include slides, videos, and information not available elsewhere in the course. Biweekly questions (see next item) indicate regular attendance.
  2. There will NOT be a midterm examination. Instead, you will be asked to write a short paragraph on a simple question about the assigned readings or films, roughly once every two weeks. These five questions will be announced one lecture in advance. They are worth 2 points each.
  3. You must keep a journal with two entries per week. Each entry, averaging 450 words, will be based on your thoughts about newspaper or magazine articles which you relate to the course, or, for up to one entry per week, about the course readings or films.
    (For further details, see the blue "Journal and Term Paper Assignment" handout.)
    These journals will be collected four times during the quarter (weeks 3, 5, 7 and 9). They must be turned in before class on the Tuesdays noted on the back of this page.
    This course fulfills the General Education writing requirement. If you do not submit this journal and the term paper based on it, you will not receive credit for this course (i.e., you will fail).
  4. A term paper (1000 words, ca. 4 pages). This paper will draw on the entries in your journal and the course materials. It is due by Monday, 9 March, 2pm. It counts for 30% of your final grade.
  5. A two-hour final examination will have 3 IDs chosen from 5, one source interpretation, and one essay question. A study guide will be distributed in early March.

COMPONENTS OF GRADE: questions: 5x2=10%; journal: 4x5=20%; term paper: 30%; final exam: 40%.
GRADING ASSISTANT: Josh Ashenmiller,

REQUIRED COURSE BOOKS (on 2 hour reserve at the library)

Reader with 12 essays and a map, available at Graphikart at 6547B Pardall in Isla Vista, 90pp., $6.75.

Textbook: Ronnie Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, $13 new/10 used; D804.3.L355 1994.

Rudolf Höss, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (1946-47; 1992 ed., translated by Steven Paskuly), $16/12; D805.P7 H6713 1992

Judith Magyar Isaacson, Seed of Sarah: Memoirs of a Survivor, $13/10; DS135.H92 K375 1990.
The author was sent to Auschwitz in July of 1944, when she was 19. She began writing this memoir in 1976, when she was Dean of Students at Bates College.
Aspects of her story are similar to those of Holocaust survivors who will come to speak with us.



6 Jan. 1T. Introduction: Why study the Holocaust? What was it?

8 Jan. 2R. What caused the Holocaust?: Obedience, Hitler, Antisemitism Textbook Chap. 1


13 Jan. 3T. What happened?: Historical Overview 1933-1945 [election day!] Textbook 317-326
13+14 T+W 6 (5?) pm: FILM SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993, 3 hours) Reader: Sklar
15 Jan. 4R. Discussion of film / Power: Attaining and Exercising it Reader: Landau, Appel


20 Jan. 5T. Where did the Nazis come from?: German History, 1871-1933 Textbook Chap. 4
Journals due Tuesday! Höss pp. 48-87
22 Jan. 6R. Who were the Jews?: Jewish History to the 1930s Textbook Chaps. 2+3


27 Jan. 7T. How was persecution institutionalized? German Hist. 1933-38 Textbook Chaps. 5+9
Reader: Seidelmann
29 Jan. 8R. What role die science play in the Holocaust?: Eugenics Reader: Burleigh


3 Feb. 9T. The Origins and First Phase of World War II Textbook Chap. 6+7
Journals due Tuesday! Reader: Dawidowicz
5 Feb. 10R. From Ghettoization to the "Final Solution" (Wannsee conf.) Höss pp. 371-381


10 Feb. 11T. Auschwitz and the Concentration Camp System, 1940-44 Höss 3-47, 336-348
Textbook pp. 183-192
12 Feb. 12R. The Mentality of the Murderers Höss 88-117, 118-164


17 Feb. 13T. The Experience of the Victims / Journals due Tuesday! Seed pp. ix-100
17+18 T+W 7pm: FILM ESCAPE FROM SOBIBOR, 2 hrs Reader: Blatt
19 Feb. 14R. Questions of Resistance (Jewish, German) Textbook pp. 192-221


24 Feb. 15T. Discussion with Holocaust Survivors Seed pp. 101-159
24+25 T+W 7pm: FILM EUROPA, EUROPA, 1 hr, 55 mins. website: epilogue
26 Feb. 16R. Questions of Collaboration and Responsibility Reader: Perechodnik
3pm: Lecture about LA Museum of Tolerance, HSSB 60xx Reader: Wyman


3 Mar. 17T. The Final Phase: Dissolution and Liberation Textbook Chap. 10
Journals due Tuesday!
5 Mar. 18R What to do with the Perpetrators? Höss pp. 165-177, 178-86


9 Mar. MON. 1-2pm, professor's office: term paper due (with journal) Monday due date!
10 Mar. 19T. How has the Holocaust been portrayed since 1945? Seed pp. 172-179
Reader: Wieviorka
12 Mar. 20R. Final Discussion: Why remember the Holocaust? Reader: Bettelheim


17 Mar. TUESDAY, 9-11 AM, HSSB 1174: FINAL EXAMINATION bring a blue book