The Holocaust: an Introduction - Part 2

Part 2 of 2. This course depicts the complex history of the Holocaust, highlighting its impact on our world today.


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The Holocaust was an inconceivable historical event, which forever robbed Western culture of its innocence. As civilized human beings, we fail to understand how events of such horror could have taken place, and how an idea so inhumanly warped could have spread like wildfire through an entire continent, instigating the systematic annihilation of millions of Jews.

This free online course was produced jointly by Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem – the World Center for Holocaust Research. This course is the second of the two courses and covers three themes in its three weeks:

Week 1: The Final Solution
We’ll look at the cultural and mental processes that paved the way to the comprehensive and systematic mass murder of Jews in Europe – that is, the Final Solution. As part of this hard lesson we will discuss the various characteristics of the murder sites and death camps, and reveal selected aspects of the horror that occurred in them.

Week 2: Jewish and Non-Jewish Responses to the Holocaust
We will try to explore questions regarding knowledge about the application of the Final Solution, as well as a variety of responses and annihilation of victims, local populations and perpetrators.

Week 3: The End of the War
We will dedicate this lesson to the events that occurred in the last years of the Holocaust, as well as questions of memory, commemoration and future research.

We strongly recommend that you register for The Holocaust: an Introduction - Part 1 as well. Taking both parts of the course would enable you to obtain a fuller and more comprehensive knowledge about The Holocaust.

This online course is offered in an innovative, multi-level format, comprising:

  • Comprehensive lectures by leading researchers from Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem.
  • A wealth of voices and viewpoints presented by guest lecturers.
  • Numerous documents, photos, testimonies and works of art from the time of the Holocaust.
  • Novel learning experience: Crowdsourcing – involving the learners themselves in the act of collecting and shaping information, via unique, exciting online assignments.

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in the Holocaust, including students, teachers, academics and policy-makers.

Assess historical documents and their various uses with a critical eye, including the point of view expressed in historical sources, and the limit of what can be learned from them.,Explore the way historians collect, evaluate and shape historical sources into historical narratives and facts.,Reflect on the importance of Jewish documentation.,Identify one’s responsibility in a world full of knowledge that is being modified and mediated, and the importance of critical thinking.,Investigate how the Holocaust was humanly possible.,Explain the way knowledge of the murders influenced reactions to it.,Explore the limited reactions available to Jews: “Choiceless Choices”.,Identify the wide range of actions that were available to perpetrators, as well as the different possibilities that stood before those who witnessed the mass murder.,Describe reactions of Jews and non-Jews in the “Free World”.,Explain the interaction between the higher ranks and grassroots that ultimately led to the development and implantations of the “Final Solution to the ‘Jewish Question’”.,Describe types of camps that were established under Nazi rule, and different killing methods.,Discuss the liberation of Europe and its meaning for the victims.,Debate the burden of remembrance, as well as commemoration efforts and the various influences the Holocaust has on our lives today. ,Discuss the Holocaust within the wider contexts of Jewish History, European History, and genocide.
This course is designed for anyone with an interest in the Holocaust, including students, teachers, academics and policy-makers.