UC Santa Barbara > History Department > Prof. Marcuse > Courses > Hist 133Q homepage > Retired 2006 133Q homepage
133q books for 2006
The 8 books we will read in Winter 2006

Readings in Holocaust History
(UCSB Hist 133Q)
by Professor Harold Marcuse (homepage)
contact: marcuse@history.ucsb.edu
class e-mail: 55442-W2006@ulists.ucsb.edu (prof. use only)

page created Jan. 4, 2004; last update: March 9, 2006
NO LONGER UPDATED: see 2008 version

(at top)
Weekly Topics
with additional links
2006 syllabus
Course history
(with links to previous syllabi)
My other courses
Hist 2C, 33D, 133C, 133P
133Q: 2001, 2004

Announcements (old announcements move to bottom)

Schedule of weekly topics (back to top)

Course Description and History (back to top)

Hist 133Q, "Readings in Holocaust History," is one of my favorite courses to teach, because we read and discuss issues at great depth in each meeting and over the course of the term. I taught it first in 1998, twice in 1999, then again in 2001 and 2004 (see the syllabi: 1998, 1999 winter, 1999 fall, 2001, 2004).
Basically, in this seminar of about 15 students, we read a book a week (long or thematically complex books are spread over 2 weeks). Each week teams of 2 or 3 students prepare background material and lead the discussion, while other students either write a 2-page essay on a guiding question, or formulate 6-10 questions of their own.
Class time is almost completely devoted to discussion, with the discussion leaders or professor presenting background material as necessary. (Prior to enrolling, all students should already have substantial knowledge of Holocaust history--completion of or parallel enrollment in one of my other courses is normally required.)
Each student (or team) also prepares a more substantial paper on their book or topic.
Each time I offer the course I keep some of the students' favorites from the previous time, and choose a theme to guide the rest of the selection.

  • 1998. The first time I picked 9 of what I consider superior introductory books on the Holocaust, each paired with a scholarly essay: Keneally's Schindler's List (with movie viewing), Sebastian Haffner on Hitler; Michael Burleigh on Euthanasia; Browning's Ordinary Men; Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss's memoir; Judith Isaacson's memoir of a female survivor's experience, Seed of Sarah; Art Spiegelman's Maus; Mel Mermelstein's anti-denial Auschwitz memoir; and Anne Frank's diary. (see 1998 syllabus)
  • 1999-1st. For the second offering I chose Teaching the Holocaust as the theme, and started with Anne Frank's diary and Elie Wiesel's Night; then Isaacson and Browning again; followed by a new Hitler book (by Gerald Fleming); Robert Abzug's commentated source collection America Views the Holocaust; Eva Fogelman's book about rescuers; Deborah Lipstadt's scholarly work on Holocaust denial; and a collection of essays about using Anne Frank's diary in the classroom. I didn't assign the scholarly essays to everyone this time, but helped the presenting teams to find appropriate background readings. Instead, I started using the guiding questions for the rest of the class, and finishing up the readings with a more challenging book. (see winter 1999 syllabus)
  • 1999-2nd. Guilt and Responsibility for the theme of the third offering. Readings started with Abzug's source collection on the US and the Holocaust; Alfon's Heck's Burden of Hitler's Legacy; Proctor's Racial Hygiene; Gitta Sereny's biography of Treblinka commandant Stangl; Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz; Fogelman's Conscience and Courage; a visit by Holocaust survivor Nina Morecki; and finally Isaacson's Seed of Sarah. (see fall 1999 syllabus)
  • 2001. After a two-year break I wanted to read some great new survivor memoirs that had been published, so I chose the Range of Victims' Experiences as the theme in 2001. We began with the memoir of afro-German Hans Massaquoi; continued with Melissa Müller's biography of Anne Frank; Dawid Sierakowiak's Lodz diary; Alicia Appleman-Jurman's memoir again; a visit by Nina Morecki; Primo Levi's memoir again; followed by Isaacson's memoir (a perennial favorite); Auschwitz Sonderkommando Filip Müller's memoir; and concluded with Australian anthropologist Inga Clendinnen's reflections on Holocaust historiography Reading the Holocaust. (see 2001syllabus; my fall 2001 Hist 133D website contains links on these books)
  • 2004.

    6 of the 7 books for Winter 2004
    After another long break, in 2004 I chose Histories and Memories as the theme, beginning with Mark Roseman's Past in Hiding; Henry Friedlander's book on Euthanasia; Filip Müller's Sonderkommando memoir; Appleman-Jurman's Story; Fogelman on rescuers again (also a perennial favorite, because students like its positive stories); Shermer and Grobman's new book on Holocaust denial; and finally Elinor Langer's 100 Little Hitlers on a skinhead murder of an African immigrant in Oregon (Langer had presented her book on the UCSB campus the preceding quarter). (see 2004 syllabus)
    note after the course: I think the student-led discussions didn't work as well this year, so I think next time I'll go back to leading the first hour myself.
  • 2006.

    The 8 books for Winter 2006
    This year's theme was Testimony and Memory. We started by taking two weeks to read Victor Klemperer's diaries for 1933-1941; then again Mark Roseman's Past in Hiding; back to another perennial favorite with Isaacson's Seed of Sarah; also repeating Müller's Sonderkommando memoir; then Roseman's book on the Wannsee conference (as an analysis of various sources); Auschwitz commandant Höss's memoir; Lukacs' study of books about Hitler, and finally Jan Gross's Neighbors, a study of a massacre in an eastern Polish town. Klemperer, Wannsee and Lukacs on Hitler I've never used before; I tried Gross in a 4-unit GE freshman seminar in 2003, and it didn't work (too challenging).

Old Announcements (back to top)
  • May 8, 2004: here is a similar course: Research Seminar in History and Theory (by Craig Cameron, Old Dominion University [Norfalk, VA], Spr. 04, now only on internet archive)
  • March 21, 2005: I may be offering this course again in Winter 2006. Expect at least half of the books to change. See the 2004 syllabus. [added 1/06: 2006 syllabus].
  • Nov. 7, 2005: I don't have the prerequisite--how can I enroll in this course anyway? This course has as a prerequisite any course in the Hist 133 series, or permission of the instructor. I grant permission to students who have sufficient background in German or Holocaust history--another relevant course (including high school electives), substantial independent reading, films, museum visits would all count. If you are highly motivated and are willing to do some preparatory reading, I can also let you into the course. (Since this is a discussion-based course, if you don't have the background, you will feel left out of the discussion and your grade will suffer.) Recommended titles for preparation are:
    • Ronnie Landau, The Nazi Holocaust
    • Deborah Dwork and R.J. van Pelt, The Holocaust: A History
    • Enzo Colotti, Hitler and Nazism
    • Jackson Spielvogel, Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History. UCSB: DD256.5 .S68 1996
    • or another textbook on Nazi Germany or the Holocaust
    • Contact me by e-mail to discuss whether your preparation is sufficient: marcuse@history.ucsb.edu.
  • Nov. 18, 2005: Winter 2006 theme: Testimony and Memory. The books will be:
    1. Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness : A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933-1941 (Modern Library, 1999) [$12/3 at amazon]
    2. Mark Roseman, A Past in Hiding: Memory and Survival in Nazi Germany (Picador, 2002) [$18/3 at amazon]
    3. Judith Isaacson, Seed of Sarah: Memoirs of a Survivor (Illinois, 1991) [$11/3 at amazon]
    4. Filip Muller, Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Ivan Dee, 1999) [$10/5 at amazon]
    5. Mark Roseman, The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution: A Reconsideration (Picador, 2003) [$11/3 at amazon; special: $13 hardcover]
    6. Rudolf Hoss, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (DaCapo, 1996) [$13/12 at amazon]
    7. John Lukacs, The Hitler of History (Vintage, 1998) [$10/4 at amazon]
    8. Jan Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (Penguin, 2002) [$11/6 at amazon]
  • Jan. 2, 2006: Here are the main parts of an e-mail I just sent to the class:
    • Although I haven't finalized this year's syllabus yet, the eight books we will be reading for this course have been set for some time. If you are sure that you are up to the book-a-week pace (we will also practice how to read at that rate) and will stick with this course, you may want to try to save some money by purchasing the books used or on-line. (I now purchase most of my books this way, unless I'm in a rush.) It may be short notice for the first book, but there should be ample time for the rest. See the links in the Nov. 18 announcement, immediately after this one.
    • Reading through the "course history" section below will give you a good idea of how the course works. For 2006 I think I will go back to the way I did it in 1998, beginning each class with a professor-led discussion, then turning it over to student teams who did background research.
    • The classroom, 1934 Buchanan, is a small seminar room tucked away on the far side of Buchanan hall (on the side towards EngineeringPhysical Sciences, away from Ellison Hall). (campus map)
  • Jan. 19, 2006: I finally finished updating this site for 2006. The 2006 syllabus is now available. See below especially the links to reviews of Klemperer, as well as some links for the "Horst-Wessel-Song," which Klemperer mentions many times (see the note in the middle of p. 459).
  • Jan. 19, 2006: I had promised to send out a list of topics and who signed up for them: it appears below and I will send it on e-mail. Now that you have had a chance to look at the books yourselves, we can discuss in class on 1/25 whether anyone wants to join another group or trade. If anyone is willing to double up, I'd encourage you to look at Wannsee, Höss and Lukacs again. I think it can be much easier to discuss a book with one of your peers in advance of class.
    1. Klemperer Diary: Danelle & Alison
    2. Roseman on Marianne: Kaaren, Hayden
    3. Isaacson on Women in Auschwitz: Jenn, Janet, Cecilia, (Kaaren)
    4. Müller on Auschwitz crematoria: Aubrey
    5. Roseman on Wannsee Conference: Simon
    6. Höss's memoir: Kari, (Kimberly, Kaaren)
    7. Lukacs on Hitler: Megan, Greg
    8. Gross on Jedwabne: Mira, Kimberly
  • Jan. 26, 2006: Students have asked about "what makes good questions." If you have received a "+" for your questions on Klemperer and are willing to let me post them on this website, let me know (and send them, if I don't have an electronic copy already). For now, see the "Weekly Topics" below, where you'll find sample essays (Janet's from this year, otherwise from 2004), and sample questions (2004 about Müller's Auschwitz memoir).
  • Feb. 2, 2006: More sample discussion questions added to topics section, below; also some links on Seed of Sarah.

author: H. Marcuse

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