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GERMAN 2N03 Holocaust in Film and Fiction

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Iris Bruce


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 502

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24697

Office Hours: Tue 12:30-1:30; Friday 5:30-6:30; or by appointment

Course Objectives:

Students will become familiar with many key issues in Holocaust Studies: truthfulness, politicization, marginalization, universalization, trivialization, abstraction, aestheticization, commercialization, Holokitsch.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


Required Texts:

Fink, Ida. A Scrap of Time (Northwestern UP)

Frank, Anne. The Diary of Anne Frank (Mass Market Paperback, Bantam)

Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

Seiffert, Rachel. The Dark Room (Vintage)

Spiegelman, Art. Maus I (Pantheon)

Wiesel, Eli. Night (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


Films may include:

1. Europa, Europa (A. Holland, 1990) DVD 1183

2. Fateless (Koltai, 2006) DVD 1140

3. Prisoner of Paradise (Malcolm Clarke and Stuart Sender; 2002)

4. Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl; excerpt; 1935) DVD 1018

5. Everything is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer; Elijah Wood & Eugene Hütz; 2005)

6. Life is Beautiful (Benigni, 1997) eVideo

7. Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (M. Rothemund, 2005) eVideo

8. The Wannsee Conference (1984)

9. Naked Among Wolves (Frank Beyer;1963)


Method of Assessment:

Research Essay (2500-3000 words) . . . 30% (due: Nov. 15)

Presentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 30%

Final Exam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30%

Participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Written Work and Late Submissions:

Late work will be penalized: there will be a reduction of 3% per day on essays handed in late without permission, and they will receive no extensive commentary. .

Late Assignment Policy:

All essays are due either in class or electronically by the end of the day on the assigned date.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

The Ideology of National Socialism, WWII, racism, literary and filmic representations of the Holocaust after WWII, perspectives of perpetrators and victims.

Other Course Information:

This course will examine the moral, philosophical, and cultural legacy of the Holocaust as represented through the artistic imagination. Primarily focussing on literature and film, we will explore the roots of modern antisemitism, its role in the rise of Nazism, the Final Solution, the behaviour of perpetrators, bystanders, and victims, as well as the place of the Holocaust in European history.