Political Science | The Holocaust and Politics
Y352 | 25747 | Bielasiak

The course examines Nazi Germany's systematic attempt to exterminate
the Jews of Europe, and other undesirable populations, during the
Second World War.  The focus is on the perpetrators of the
Holocaust, on the victims and intended victims, and on the local and
international bystanders.  The first part of the course covers the
ideological arguments and political actions concerning the "Jewish
question" and the evolution of the Final Solution.  The second part
addresses the question of political responsibility through the eyes
of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders during the Holocaust.  We
turn then to the ramifications of the Holocaust on post-war
political developments and its ethical impact on humanity, including
a brief look at recent examples of post-World War II genocides.  We
conclude by reflecting on the dehumanization of the world and
genocide in the 20th century.

The content of the course presents each of us with an emotional and
painful experience that must be harnessed for reasoned
understanding.  We will use a variety of sources, historical studies
and survivors' testimonies, documentary and fictional accounts,
films and poems.  Class assignments will go beyond the typical
examinations so that we can personalize the issues through reaction
essays, first-person narratives, and a position paper.  The point is
not only to understand the Holocaust but also to account for the
tragedy in a way that confronts our humanity, and our commitment to
become more than bystanders to history.