RELIGION 1529 / HDS 2293 – The Holocaust and the Churches, 1933-45

RELIGION 1529 – The Holocaust and the Churches, 1933-45

Semester: Spring
Offered: 2022
Instructor: Kevin Madigan
Meeting Time: M 3:00pm-5:00pm

This seminar will approach the Nazi persecution of European Jewry from several disciplinary perspectives. Initially the seminar will explore the topic historically. In these weeks, the seminar will use a variety of historical materials dealing with the history of European anti-Semitism, German history from Bismarck to the accession of Hitler, the evolution of anti-Jewish persecution in the Third Reich, and the history of the Holocaust itself. Sources to be used will include primary sources produced by the German government 1933-1945, by Jewish victims-to-be or survivors, documentary films, and secondary interpretations. The aims of this part of the seminar will be to understand the basic background to and narrative of the Holocaust, to introduce students to the critical use of primary historical sources, and to familiarize them with some of the major historiographical debates. Then the members of the seminar will ponder religious and theological reactions to the Holocaust. The seminar will also consider the historical question of the role played by the Protestant and Catholic churches and theologies in the Holocaust.  Throughout the seminar, participants will use various literary and cinematographic sources and test their limits in helping to understand and to represent the Holocaust.

Enrollment limited to 15 with the permission of the instructor, by application at the first course meeting.

Recommended Prep: Some familiarity with the general shape of modern European history is desirable but not required.

Offered jointly with Harvard Divinity School as HDS 2293

For more details please visit the Harvard Course Catalog.