Holocaust in History and Memory

Department of Theology and Religion, School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion

College of Arts and Law


Code 24783

Level of study Second Year

Credit value 20

Semester 2

Pre-requisite modules Introduction to the Study of the Holocaust - 18230, Introduction to Jewish Studies and Holocaust Studies - 24047

Other pre-requisites None

Module description

The module allows the student to gain an appreciation of the intrinsically interdisciplinary nature of study and representation of the Holocaust. It involves close study of ONE particular theme/aspect from a variety of perspectives, in a range of media, both as events were happening, and in terms of the cultural ‘afterlife’ of the Holocaust. Students will work closely with a range of secondary sources and primary sources where appropriate.

In 2012/13 this theme is Auschwitz in history and memory. We will explore the evolution and multi-functionality of the camp from 1940-1945, focusing on the differing roles of Auschwitz I (concentration camp), Auschwitz II-Birkenau (death camp) and Auschwitz III-Monowitz (slave labour complex), and the experience of different victim groups in Auschwitz (e.g., Poles, Soviet POWs, Jews, and Sinti and Roma). We will study a range of testimonies by victims, survivors and perpetrators. Particular attention will be paid to the nature of survival in the camp, the distinctive experiences of women (including women prisoner-doctors), and the role of the Sonderkommando. In terms of the cultural life of Auschwitz, we will discuss the emergence of Auschwitz as the symbol of the Holocaust, the establishment and evolution of the Auschwitz museum from 1947 to the present, archival and contemporary photographs of Auschwitz, documentaries and feature films on/in Auschwitz, Auschwitz as a site of pilgrimage, and Auschwitz as a site of mass tourism.

Teaching and learning methods

1 x 2-hour lecture + 1-hour seminar (weekly)