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HGS 555/755 - The Holocaust and Memory

In your other HGS courses you have learned a great deal about how the Holocaust happened and about its perpetrators and victims, as well about survivors, rescuers, witnesses, and government action and inaction during the Shoah. The Holocaust and our knowledge of it, fundamentally changed our world.  In the United States the Holocaust has come to assume an important place in our public consciousness, as we have built museums to teach about it and monuments to its victims.  Many states now requires public schools to teach about it.  In this course we will examine the development of what I would call the “public memory” of the Holocaust in the United States.  We begin by discussing when Americans “in the know” found out about it and how the American people learned about it, and then look at how it has been taught an explain in public space.  We will read some short histories of events surrounding the Holocaust and then see how these have been portrayed to the public in movies, museum, monuments, and the like   We will also look at efforts to bring Nazi criminals to justice both immediately after the Holocaust and later.  We will end with a new, short biography of Elie Wiesel, who came to personify the memory of the holocaust in his long career, mostly in the United States, following his liberation from Buchenwald.