BA History and Sociology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
The Holocaust: History, Historiography, Memory

Course unit fact file
Unit code HIST31492
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


More and more, the Holocaust is perceived and assessed as one of the seminal event of the 20. Century in Europe. If its consequences were not clearly embraced in the immediate after war, the long shadow of genocide shapes today’s culture and politics.

This course aims at presenting some main themes in the growing field of Holocaust studies. Themes will be on the Holocaust itself, its general interpretations, the question of victims, of perpetrators, the technologies of mass killings, but also on the consequences of genocide (justice, memorials, testimonies). It is a history class, with some interdisciplinarity: politics, literature, psychology will also be used in class.

A specific attention will be dedicated to the digital aspects of Holocaust learning, documentation and memory.


Restricted to History programmes, History joint honours programmes (please check your programme structure for further details).


  • Training in critical thinking
  • Reading and writing skills
  • Debates on sensitive and political issues
  • To promote the mastery of a discipline (history) with the help of auxiliary disciplines (such as visual studies, anthropology, law, …): attention will be given to knowledge, epistemology and methodology
  • Raising awareness of social, political and environmental issues. Enhancing the sense of social responsibility
  • Consciousness of the values of cultural diversity, commitment to human rights, equality and equal opportunity regardless of gender, race, disability, religious or other beliefs, sexual orientation or age

Learning outcomes

  • A general knowledge of the Holocaust and the position of Holocaust studies within the field of genocide scholarship
  • How to analyse diverse documents and to comprehend the way they are produced and the moral issues at stake
  • Work in group
  • Work in an interdisciplinary setting
  • Navigate the Internet and database of historical documents
  • Critical analysis of documents and testimonies found on the Internet
  • Introduction to digital humanities
  • Knowledge in history in order to inform current political and social debates.


Knowledge and understanding

  • the moral issues at stake with the studies of mass violence and genocide
  • understanding of state persecution
  • minority rights.

Intellectual skills

  • Analyse and connect information from various types
  • Critical analysis

Practical skills

  • Work in groups
  • Navigate databases
  • Uses of digital resources
  • Knowledge on the production of electronic files and documents.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Details should be listed of the specific expected learning outcomes, for a student studying this course unit, in relation to the students' transferable skills and personal qualities. Transferable skills:

  • Communication skills: presenting, advising others, writing and editing
  • Organisation skills: follow through, meeting deadline, planning, time management
  • Interpersonal skills: relating with other members of the team, motivating people, resolving conflicts, being a team player
  • Some computer skills, searching the web in an organised web
  • Teamwork skills
  • Creativity skills

For guidance on Transferable skills, please see: 

Employability skills

Knowledge on how the past inform political debates can sustain career paths in diverse professions: - Ethics and religious education - Community organisers - Interfaith organisers - Learning centres in museums and memorials - Policy planning in various centres, think tanks, etc. - Journalism - Museum curation - Events managers

Assessment methods

Group presentation with Powerpoint slides 30%
Draft Powerpoints 0%
Essay 70%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Week 5: on the work in class


Week 7: on the oral presentations



Recommended reading

Bauer, Yehuda, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2000).

Adler, Nanci, Understanding the Age of Transitional Justice. Crimes, Courts, Commissions, and Chronicling (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2018).

Dreyfus, Jean-Marc, Langton, Daniel, Writing the Holocaust (London: Bloomsbury, 2011).

Friedländer, Saul, Nazi Germany and the Jews. Volume 1, The Years of Persecution ; Volume 2, The Years of Extermination, 1933-1945, (New York : HarperCollins, c1997; 2007).

Kwiet, Konrad, Matthäus, Jürgen (eds.), Contemporary Responses to the Holocaust (Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 2004).

Lagrou, Pieter, The Legacy of Nazi Occupation: Patriotic Memory and National Recovery in Western Europe, 1945-1965 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Steinbacher, Sybille, Auschwitz. A History (New York: Harper Perennial, 2006).


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jean-Marc Dreyfus Unit coordinator

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