Prof. Marcuse
HSSB 4221, 893-2635
Office hours: Tues. 1-2, Wed. 11-12

UCSB Hist 133Q, Winter 1999
HSSB 2202, Wed. 2-4:50



In this course we will examine some of the psychological, moral and historiographical issues raised by the Holocaust. We will also learn and practice some of the skills used in creating 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 one or more books per week. Most weeks two students will lead the class discussion based on questions they prepare and distribute in advance. All other students will write short (2 page) essays or prepare questions themselves.


  1. This course is designed for students with substantial prior knowledge of German or Holocaust history. Thus all participants must have taken a course in the UCSB Hist 133 series, or the equivalent at another school. In the latter case, permission of the instructor is required.
  2. Regular, active participation in class discussion, which counts for 40% of the final grade.
  3. Submission of four short papers, about 500 words (2 double-spaced, typed pages) in length, on the weekly questions about the readings (see reverse side). Please note that I will be looking more for a coherent and thoughtful engagement with the material than a comprehensive 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 2pm, in the envelope outside my office. Each is worth 5% of your final grade (A=5, B=4, …) for a total of 20%.
  4. Submission of four sets of 5-10 questions each, about the weekly readings. Some of each set 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 2pm, in the envelope outside my office. Each question set is worth 5% of the final grade (20% altogether).
  5. Leading classroom discussion for one week (this will usually be done by teams of two or more students). Each team will prepare a discussion guide with 5-10 questions, which will be distributed to all students. A "master version" with an explanation/rationale and suggested answers to those questions is due in the instructor's office on Monday by 4pm. Each week's team will meet with the professor on Tuesday to review their discussion plan. (20% of final grade)

discussion: 8x5%=40%; short papers: 4x5%=20%; questions: 4x5%=20%; guide+discussion: 20%.

REQUIRED BOOKS (also on reserve at the library)

  1. Frank, Anne, The Diary of a Young Girl (Bantam paperback ed.) $4.99 (or any other edition).
  2. Wiesel, Elie, Night (Bantam Books, 1986) $4.99.
  3. Isaacson, Judith Magyar, Seed of Sarah: Memoirs of a Survivor (U. Illinois, 1990) $12.85.
  4. Browning, Christopher, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (HarperCollins, 1998 ed.) $13.00.
  5. Höss, Rudolf, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (Prometheus Books, 1992) $15.95.
  6. Fleming, Gerald, Hitler and the Final Solution (UC Press, 1984) $15.95.
  7. Abzug, Robert, America Views the Holocaust (Bedford/St. Martin's, 1998), ca. $11.
  8. Fogelman, Eva, Conscience & Courage: Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust (Anchor, 1994) $15.
  9. Lipstadt, Deborah, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (Free Press, 1993) $11.95.
  10. Rittner, Carol, Anne Frank in the World: Essays and Reflections (M.E. Sharpe, 1998) $18.95.
  11. recommended for background: Ronnie Landau, The Nazi Holocaust (Ivan Dee, 1994) $14.95

Jan. 6 Introduction
What was the Holocaust? Why do we study it?
Jan. 13 Learning about the Holocaust: Anne Frank, Diary; Wiesel, Night
Which of these books is more suitable for teaching high school sophomores (age 15) about the Holocaust? Why? What lessons can it teach? What aspects of the Holocaust should it convey?
Jan. 20 Victims and Survivors: Isaacson, Seed of Sarah
What lessons did Judith Magyar learn from the Holocaust? Which lessons does she wish to teach? How is this reflected in her memoir?
How did women's experience of the Holocaust differ from men's?
Jan. 27 Perpetrators I: Höss, Death Dealer
Which character traits and factors enabled Höss to organize factory-style mass murder at Auschwitz? Did he derive satisfaction from his work? Did he come to think that what he did was wrong? How?
Feb. 3 Perpetrators II: Browning, Ordinary Men
Which character traits and factors enabled these men to become cold-blooded mass killers? Which of the traits are uniquely German?
Feb. 10 Perpetrators III: Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution
Without Hitler, the Holocaust would never have happened. What role did Hitler play in the specific way European Jews were annihilated?
Feb. 17 Bystanders I: Abzug, America views the Holocaust
Which factors were most important in the U.S. government's failure to act against the Holocaust? Why was there no outcry from the U.S. public? Can we say how much people "knew" about the Holocaust at the time?
Feb. 24 Bystanders II (rescuers): Fogelman, Conscience & Courage
What character traits and factors played a role in rescuers' decisions to attempt to save victims of the Holocaust? Can education about the Holocaust foster those traits and factors? How?
Mar. 3 Holocaust survivor Nina Morecki, manuscript (will be provided)
What role did the Holocaust play in Nina's life? Why did she not tell her story sooner? What lessons has she drawn from her experience? How will students (what age?) respond to her "letter"?
Mar. 10 Deniers: Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust
Why do people deny that the Holocaust happened? How has Holocaust denial influenced scholarship about the Holocaust?
Mar. 17 Teaching the Holocaust: Rittner (ed.), Anne Frank in the World
What media and topics are most appropriate for reaching age cohorts born long after 1945? What messages (or lessons) should we convey when we teach about the Holocaust today? How has the Diary been adapted to teach different audiences about the Holocaust?