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HIST 471: A Guide to Holocaust Memory

This guide aids in providing resources that will help students and researchers investigate public engagement with the Holocaust.

A Guide to Holocaust Memory

HIST 471: Holocaust Memory

Professor Richard Frankel

The Holocaust involved the systematic persecution, expropriation, and ultimately the attempted murder by Germany and its helpers of every last Jew, man, woman, and child, wherever they could be found—an effort that succeeded in killing some six million Jews during the Second World War. The aftereffects of such an unprecedentedly violent experience would naturally be felt for decades to come. Beyond the history of the Holocaust, therefore, there is also a history of the post-Holocaust, a history of the myriad ways in which those murderous years would affect the lives, not only of those directly involved, but of millions who did not experience the horrors of the 'Final Solution', including those who lived beyond the European killing fields, and those who were part of subsequent generations. How did the Holocaust affect the post-war world? This is a question that involves not simply the demographic consequences or even the destruction of an entire Jewish world that had thrived especially in Eastern Europe for nearly a thousand years prior to the war. It also involves the ways in which people came to make sense of the Holocaust—through both history and memory. What do we mean when we talk about 'Holocaust memory'? Whose memory? And what significance should we attribute to the varieties of Holocaust memories that would emerge in the years and decades that followed? What were some of the tangible responses to the Holocaust by various individuals, groups, and institutions? These are just some of the questions we will pursue in this course.

Holocaust Memory Graphics

Adolf Hitler

German Chancellor and Fuhrer. With the 1939 invasion of Poland, Hitler launched Europe into the Second World War. 

Concentration Camps

Male Prisoners of War standing outside of the Ebensee Concentration Camp in 1945. 

Anne Frank

Jewish diarist, Anne Frank documented her experience of hiding from the German Police for over two years. Her diary was later published as "The Diary of a Young Girl," and is still widely read today. 

Collective Memory - Uses & Abuses

Understanding Collective Memory

  • The Collective Memory Reader. Edited by Daniel Levy and Jeffery K. Olick. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity. Edited by John R. Gillis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
  • Cubitt, Goffrey. History and Memory. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2007.
  • Rose, Julia. Interpreting Difficult History at Museums and Historic Sites. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.
  • White, Hayden V. Tropics of Discourse : Essays in Cultural Criticism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.

Holocaust Memory in the US

  • The Americanization of the Holocaust. Edited by Hilene Flanzbaum. Baltimore, Md.; London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
  • Fallace, Thomas D. The Emergence of Holocaust Education in American Schools. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
  • Gray, Michael. Contemporary Debates in Holocaust Education. London, UK: Palgrave Pivot, 2014.
  • Linenthal, Edward Tabor. Preserving Memory: The Struggle to Create America's Holocaust Museum. New York: Viking, 1995.
  • Lipstadt, Deborah E. Holocaust an American Understanding. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2016.
  • Mintz, Alan L. Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001.
  • Novick, Peter. The Holocaust in American Life. Boston, MS: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
  • Diner, Hasia R. “Post-World-War-II American Jewry and the Confrontation With Catastrophe.” American Jewish History 91, no.3-4 (September-December 2003): 439-467.