UCSB Hist 133Q, Winter 2004
Readings on the Holocaust
HSSB 4201, Wed. 2-4:50

Prof. Marcuse
HSSB 4221, 893-2635
Office hours: Mon 10:30-11:30, Tue noon-1pm

Readings on the Holocaust: 2004 SYLLABUS
(pdf print version)

Course Description

This course is designed for students who have taken my Hist 133D or 33D courses, or who have a substantial prior knowledge of Holocaust or German history. Thus all participants should have taken a course in the UCSB Hist 133 series, or the equivalent in another department or at another school. In the latter case, permission of the instructor is required. We will read and discuss important works about the Holocaust in order to examine some of the historical, historiographical, and moral issues it raises. We will also learn and practice some of the skills used in writing history: interpreting primary sources, assessing secondary works, and reporting orally and in writing about our findings. This is an intensive reading course: We will read about one book per week. Each week 2 or 3 students will present their research to the class, while all other students will write short (2 page) essays or prepare a page of questions. Each student will write a research report on one of the weekly topics.


  1. Regular, active participation in class discussion, which counts for 32% (!) of the final grade.
    Grading for each meeting is on a 4 point scale, with 1 point for being present and alert, but not contributing. An excused absence will count for 2 points.
  2. There are nine discussion meetings during the quarter. Each student will be part of a group that leads the discussion once. During seven of the other eight sessions, students will either submit a short paper (three times), or a set of questions (four times).
    1. The three short papers, about 500 words (2 double-spaced, typed pages) in length, on the weekly questions about the readings (see reverse side), or about a question you choose. Please note that I will be looking more for a coherent and thoughtful engagement with the book than a paper that addresses all aspects of the question(s). You should be sure to argue a thesis using specific examples as evidence to back up your argument. These papers are due on Tuesdays, by 3pm, in the envelope outside my office. Each is worth 4% of your final grade for a total of 12%. [1/15/04: see sample essay on Roseman]
    2. Submission of four sets of 5-10 questions each, about the weekly readings. Some questions may address specific points that you don't understand; others should aim at broader issues raised by the material. These are also due on Tuesdays, by 3pm, in the envelope outside my office. Each question set is worth 4% of the final grade (16% altogether). [2/5/04: see sample questions on Müller]
    3. Leading class discussion. This will be done individually or by teams of two students. An outline of the presentation is due in the instructor's office on Monday by 2pm. Each week's team should meet with the professor beforehand to review their discussion plan. (5% of final grade)
  3. A 6-8 page paper (plus annotated bibliography) discussing the topic of your book in a more formal way. A draft is due two weeks after the book is discussed (except for the final presenters). Papers receiving an "A" or "B" grade may be published on the course web site. (35% of final grade)
  • There will be no midterm or final examination.

Components of Grade:
discussion: 8x4%=32%; short papers: 3x4%=12%; questions: 4x4%=16%; presentation: 5%; paper: 35%.

Required Books

  1. Mark Roseman, A Past in Hiding: Memory and Survival in Nazi Germany (Henry Holt, 2000)
  2. Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (North Carolina, 1995)
  3. Filip Müller, Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Ivan Dee, 1999)
  4. Alicia Appleman-Jurman, Alicia: My Story (Bantam, 1988)
  5. Eva Fogelman, Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust (Anchor, 1995)
  6. Michael Shermer, Alex Grobman, Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened (UC Press, 2000)
  7. Elinor Langer, 100 Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and … (Metropolitan, 2003)

Hist 133Q, Winter 2004
Schedule of Topics

Jan. 7

Introduction. Course theme: Histories and Memories

Discussion leaders:


Jan. 14

Jews in Germany, I: Roseman, A Past in Hiding, 1-247
What was exceptional about the Strauss's story? When did they understand that Hitler intended to murder all Jews?



Jan 21

Jews in Germany, II: Roseman, Past in Hiding, 248-421
What explains the discrepancies between the various versions of Marianne's story?



Jan. 28

The Path to Genocide: Friedlander, Origins of Nazi Genocide
Why was Friedlander the first one to argue that Nazi "euthanasia" was integral to the process of genocide? (What evidence is there that the "final solution" evolved over time?)



Feb. 4

Factories of Death: F. Müller, Eyewitness Auschwitz
Is Müller telling the whole, "unvarnished" truth? In what cases might his memory be changing what actually happened? Why?



Feb. 11

Odyssey of survival: Appleman-Jurman, My Story
Why did Alicia write this book? How did this goal shape her narrative? (Did she leave some things out, emphasizing others?)



Feb. 18

Rescuers: Fogelman, Conscience and Courage
How might our need to find examples of positive behavior during the Holocaust shape how we portray rescuers' stories?



Feb. 25

Denial I: Shermer, Grobman, Denying History, 123-259
To what extent is history fact, and to what extent interpretation?



Mar. 3

Denial II: Shermer, Grobman, Denying History, 1-119
Why do Holocaust deniers make the claims that they do? What motivates them? What benefits to they gain?



Mar. 10

Legacies: Langer, 100 Little Hitlers
Why do the Oregon skinheads glorify Nazi Germany?
How did the prosecutors' strategies help or hinder the town's coming to terms with racism in the community?


Mar. 16

Last paper deadline: Tuesday, 4pm


Plagiarism—presenting someone else's work as your own, or deliberately failing to credit or attribute the work of others on whom you draw (including materials found on the web)—is a serious academic offense, punishable by dismissal from the university. It hurts the one who commits it most of all, by cheating them out of an education. Offenses will be reported to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action.

prepared for web by H. Marcuse, Jan. 7, 2004, links added 2/5/04, formatting 3/25/05
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