The Holocaust in Modern Memory

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 4480
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 4480, The Holocaust in Modern Memory, critically analyzes the history of National Socialist Germany (1933-1945) and the premeditated genocide of six million Jews and other targeted individuals and groups, and explores the representation and commemoration of the Holocaust in public memory. Major themes include: antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence in Europe; scientific racism, eugenics and social Darwinism; technology and the role of political, bureaucratic, legal and religious structures and institutions; ideology and obedience to authority; perpetrators, victims, and bystanders; resistance, collaboration, and survival; the categorization and interaction of gender, sexuality, class, disability, and ethnicity in experiences of persecution; medical experimentation and sexual violence; eyewitnesses, oral histories and survivor testimonies; memory, trauma, and personal narrative; human rights and commemoration.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

  1. Introduction: Origins of Hatred
  2. Constructing the Other: The Long Histories of Antisemitism
  3. The Rise of Hitler and the Primacy of Race
  4. From Propaganda to State-Sponsored Violence
  5. The Origins of Mass Killing: Enemies of the State, Eugenic Victims, and the Legally Persecuted
  6. Closing Borders: Refugees, Escape Routes, and Political and Religious Responses
  7. World War Two: Towards Genocide
  8. Borderlands: Territorial Expansion, Occupation, Economic Exploitation, and Slave Labour
  9. Victims and Resistance: Ghettoization, the Camp System, and Industrial Murder
  10. The Final Solution: Perpetrators, Victims, and Ordinary Germans
  11. The International Response: From Allied Intervention to Liberation
  12. The Postwar Search for Justice and Retribution
  13. The Holocaust in Public Memory
  14. Remembrance: Survivors and Commemoration
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include a structured exploration of course topics, readings and resources, supervised and guided by the instructor. Discussion sessions focused on the interpretation of primary documents and additional resources will provide students with opportunities to analyze differing scholarly approaches to historical questions and historical explanations and extend their ability to engage in complex historical reasoning. Students will complete various components of an original research project and gain mastery in discipline-specific writing skills, as well as refining their overall writing ability. Students will refine their research skills, and will undertake significant primary and secondary research, including the use of digital archives. Students may also engage with the presentation of history to the wider public through a community engagement or applied research component of the research project.


Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline provided to the directed studies student at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Seminar participation 15%

Reading journal 20%

Film analysis 10%

Research proposal, literature review, and annotated bibliography 15%

Research presentation 10%

Research paper 30%

Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

  • Students will refine and extend their ability to analyse and interpret complex historical documents
  • Students will be introduced to the principles and practice of archival research and the use of original source materials

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

  • Students will complete longer and more complex writing assignments that demonstrate the abilities to:
    • plan and complete the multiple stages of a research project
    • write a research proposal
    • identify and analyze a range of appropriate primary and secondary sources
    • write an annotated bibliography
    • build historical arguments based on a wide range of historical evidence
    • revise and refine successive drafts of an essay 

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate through discussion and presentation (discussing history).

  • Students will engage in regular, structured and extended discussion and debate of their course reading and progress on their research project with the instructor and with other students
  • Students will refine their ability to deliver a formal research presentation

4. Investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history)

  • Students will gain familiarity with ethical research practices in History
  • Students will gain familiarity with the complexities of political and moral issues arising from a study of the Holocaust
  • Students will be introduced to the theory and practice of oral history
  • Students may plan and design a public history project or a digital humanities project
  • Students may collaborate with community archives, heritage organizations and cultural institutions in public history projects
  • Students may present their research findings to public or non-specialist audiences

Special note: Studying the Holocaust introduces students to the histories of extreme human violence and hatred. Students may experience strong emotional responses to the depictions of suffering in the texts and films that they are encountering. Students will be encouraged to practice self-care and receive support as needed, based on trauma-informed teaching practices.

Textbook Materials

An instructor’s reading list of primary documents and scholarly journal articles, and at least one monograph or collection of essays will be assigned. Additional resources, including works of fiction, autobiographies, and films may be assigned. Additional reading lists and links to specific digital resources may be provided online or in the instructor’s course outline.

Students will develop reading lists of primary and secondary literature, annotated bibliographies, and other resource lists on their chosen topic or theme as part of the research project, in consultation with the instructor.

Examples of monographs, collections of essays, and autobiographies include:

Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Toronto: Penguin Books, 2006. [first published in 1963]

Benz, Wolfgang. A Concise History of the Third Reich. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Bergen, Doris War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

Bernard-Donals, Michael. An Introduction to Holocaust Studies. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Black, Jeremy. The Holocaust and Memory. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016.

Browning, Christopher R. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. New York: Harper Perennial, 2017. [first published in 1993]

Browning, Christopher R. , Peter Hayes and Raul Hilberg. German Railroads, Jewish Souls: The Reichsbahn, Bureaucracy and the Final Solution. New York: Berghahn Books, 2020.

Engel, David. The Holocaust: The Third Reich and the Jews. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Evans, Richard J. The Third Reich in History and Memory. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Hilberg, Raul. The Destruction of the European Jews. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

Kaplan, Marion. Between Dignity and Despair. Jewish Life in Nazi Germany. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Kenez, Peter. The Coming of the Holocaust. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Klemperer, Victor. The Klemperer Diaries 1933-1945. London: Orion Publishing, 2000.

Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi Assault on Humanity. Toronto: Simon and Shuster, 1996.

Magilow, Daniel H., and Lisa Silverman. Holocaust Representations in History: An Introduction. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.

Mintz, Alan. Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001.

Rothberg, Michael. Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009.

Smith, Helmut Walser. The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town. New York: Norton, 2003.

Snyder, Timothy. Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2015.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus. New York: Pantheon Books, 1991.

Stone, Dan, ed. The Historiography of the Holocaust. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Tinberg, Howard, and Ronald Weisberger. Teaching, Learning, and the Holocaust: An Integrative Approach. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014.

Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. [first published in 1960]

Wieviorka, Annette. The Era of the Witness. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006.



One 3000-level History course, or permission of the instructor.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 4480
Acsenda School of Management (ASM) ASM GEN 4XX (3)
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX HIST 2XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 4XX (3)
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO HIST 4XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU HIST 340 (3)
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN HIST 232 (3)
College of New Caledonia (CNC) CNC HIST 2XX (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR HIST 4XX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG HIST 4XXX (3)
LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) LCV HST 4XX (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC HIST 2XX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC HIST 4XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 4XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GENS 4XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW HIST 4XX (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 4XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 320 (3)
Yorkville University (YVU) YVU GES 3XXX (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023