UCSB Hist 133Q, Fall 1999Prof. Marcuse
Readings on the HolocaustHSSB 4221, 893-2635
HSSB 4201, Wed. 2-4:50marcuse@humanitas.ucsb.edu
http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/133d Office hours: Tues. 1-2, Wed. 11-12



In this course we will read and discuss important works about the Holocaust in order to examine some of the psychological, moral and historiographical issues it raises. 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 book per week. Each week two students will present their research to the class, while all other students will write short (2 page) essays or prepare questions. Each student will write a research paper on one of the weekly topics.


  1. This course is designed for students concurrently enrolled in Hist 133D, or who have a substantial prior knowledge of Holocaust or German 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 4% of the final grade (16% altogether).
  5. Research presentation (10-15mins.) (this will usually be done by teams of two or more students). An outline of the presentation is due in the instructor's office on Monday by 4pm. Each week's team should meet with the professor beforehand to review their discussion plan. (5% of final grade)
  6. A short paper (5-7 pages, plus bibliography) discussing your research topic in a more formal way. This will normally be due one week after the class discussion. (20% of final grade)
  7. There will be no midterm or final examination.

discussion: 8x5%=40%; short papers: 4x5%=20%; questions: 4x4%=16%; presentation: 5%; paper: 20%.


  1. Abzug, Robert, America Views the Holocaust (Bedford/St. Martin's, 1998), $11/8
  2. Heck, Alfons, The Burden of Hitler's Legacy (Renaissance House, 1988) $17/10/7
  3. Proctor, Robert, Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis (Harvard, 1988) $18/13
  4. Sereny, Gitta, Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience (Vintage, 1983) $16/[12]
  5. Levi, Primo, Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi Assault on Humanity ([1947]) $11/8
  6. Blatt, Thomas Toivi, From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival (Northwestern, 1997) $16/[12]
  7. Fogelman, Eva, Conscience & Courage: Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust (Anchor, 1994) $15/11
  8. Nina Morecki, "Letter to Young People," in: Reader for Hist 133D, #27. $11 at Graphikart in IV
  9. Isaacson, Judith Magyar, Seed of Sarah: Memoirs of a Survivor (U. Illinois, 1990) $13/10.
  10. recommended for background: Ronnie Landau, The Nazi Holocaust (Ivan Dee, 1994) $15/11.

6 Oct.Introduction
Course Theme: Guilt and Responsibility
13 Oct.Bystanders: Abzug, America views the Holocaust
Why was there no Holocaust in the United States?
Did Americans incur any responsibility by not intervening sooner?
20 Oct.The German Experience: Heck, The Burden of Hitler's Legacy
In what ways did Heck's behavior contribute to the Holocaust?
27 Oct.Perpetrators I: Proctor, Racial Hygiene
How could doctors have stopped the Holocaust? Which of their attitudes helped to further the program of genocide?
3 Nov.Perpetrators II: Sereny, Into the Darkness
When did Stangl begin to incur guilt for participating in systematic mass murder? Did he ever come to recognize his responsibility? How? In what ways was his wife responsible?

10 Nov.Survivors I: Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
In what ways did Levi incur guilt?
What circumstances does he describe that explain or exonerate such behavior?

17 Nov.Jewish Resistance: Blatt, From the Ashes of Sobibor
In what ways did Blatt contribute to or hinder the mass murder system in Sobibor? Discuss using concrete examples.
24 Nov.
Rescuers: Fogelman, Conscience & Courage
What 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?

1 Dec.Survivors II: Nina Morecki, Letter (also: www.history.ucsb.edu/holocaust)
This week everyone should write a list of questions.
For next week, write a one page paper on what you found most striking about the discussion.

8 Dec.Survivors III: Isaacson, Seed of Sarah
How did Isaacson deal with situations where she had to decide whether or not she bore responsibility? (Also after the war!)
How did women's experience of the Holocaust differ from men's?