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The Holocaust: History, Memory, & Controversies


Admission requirements

BSA norm and a pass for both first year Themacolleges


This course provides students with an introduction to the history of the Holocaust and later controversies surrounding its memory. The syllabus focuses on the experiences of victims, perpetrators, and bystanders through historical studies, testimony, and documentary evidence. Students will analyze the escalation of Jewish persecution during the early years of the Third Reich and the radicalization of exterminationist antisemitism under conditions of war. In the postwar period, we will explore the transnational development of Holocaust memory, with particular attention to the treatment of victims’ voices. Finally, we will analyze major recent episodes in various public spheres when memory of the Holocaust has been intensely contested.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

  • 1) Carry out a common assignment.

  • 2) Devise and conduct research of limited scope, including:
    a. searching, selecting and ordering relevant literature;
    b. organising and using relatively large amounts of information;
    c. an analysis of a scholarly debate;
    d. placing the research within the context of a scholarly debate.

  • 3) Reflect on the primary sources on which the scholarly literature is based;

  • 4) Write a problem solving essay and give an oral presentation after the format defined in the first year Themacolleges, including:
    a. using a realistic schedule of work;
    b. formulating a research question and subquestions;
    c. formulating a well-argued conclusion;
    d. giving and receiving feedback;
    e. responding to instructions of the lecturer.

  • 5) Participate in discussions during class.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialization

  • 6) The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically: in the specialisation General History : the place of European history from 1500 in a worldwide perspective, in particular the historical causes and enduring legacies of ethnic and racialized violence.

  • 7) Knowledge and insight in the main concepts, the research methods and techniques of the specialisation, more specifically in the specialisation General History: the study of primary sources and the context specificity of nationally defined histories.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific seminar

  • 8) Knowledge of the Holocaust and its relationship to other crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi regime;

  • 9) Knowledge of methods and sources in the field of Holocaust Studies;

  • 10) Critical evaluation of the relationship—and distinction—between history and memory across various national contexts.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (attendance required)

This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If you are not able to attend, you are required to notify the teacher beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If you do not comply with the aforementioned requirements, you will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Written paper (5000-6000 words, based on historiography, excluding title page, table of contents, footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 2-4, 6-10

  • Oral presentation
    measured learning objectives: 1, 3-4, 6-10

  • Active Class Participation
    measured learning objectives: 5

  • Written response to readings from one class session:
    measured learning objectives: 1, 5, 8-10


  • Written paper: 60 %

  • Oral presentation: 10 %

  • Particiation: 20 %

  • Written response to readings from one class session: 10 %

The final grade is based on the weighted average of the partial grades, with the additional requirement that the paper must be satisfactory.


The written paper can be revised, when marked insufficient. Revision should be carried out within the given deadline, as published in the corresponding Brightspace course.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

  • Ruth Klüger, Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered (2003).

  • Other readings will be made available through Brightspace.


Enrolment through My StudyMap is mandatory.

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.


Course will be conducted in English.