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The Holocaust

Murray Baumgarten, Peter Kenez University of California, Santa Cruz @Coursera
Class Start: TBA
Duration: 10 weeks
Certificate: Yes
Level: beginner
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This course traces the destruction of the Jews and Jewish life in Nazi Germany, drawing on major works of history, literature, and film. The lectures outline the work of the Nazis as well as Jewish responses.

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2013-10-08
This is a brilliant course! I only planned to audit the lectures, and I found that the literature classes were not very viable for me, as I had no access to the texts (nor time to read them) but my original degree was in literature and I can see that they would have been very valuable to people doing the full course.
I did watch all of the history lectures, and I found them most compelling. Peter Kenez impressed with his comprehensive understanding of C20th Europe, and with the thoroughness of his approach. I was particularly moved by the quiet dignity and humanity with which he told of these most dreadful events. This course has been a privilege to watch, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

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Jan Carr , 2013-09-18
This is one of the best courses I have ever taken, either online or on campus.

It has been a great experience because of the unique partnership of the instructors -- Kenez (historian) and Baumgarten (literature scholar). Kenez provides the necessary historical framework, but the carefully selected survivor memoirs take you back to that period and help you understand what this horrific experience was like. The combination leads to a broad insight that would be impossible studying one or the other.

So kudos to the instructors for designing the course in this fashion, and for their outstanding execution.

I am also grateful to the instructional staffer, Shawna Vesco, for the extraordinary job she did with the discussion forum, which is an integral part of the learning process in any online course. She guided discussions by starting threads, and offered frequent comments to direct or redirect discussions. She also navigated the course through some early bumps and technical glitches, but most important, she seized control of the forums at a point when the were threatened by trolls, and other miscreants who were there only to inflame and disrupt.

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Rosette Rozenberg , 2013-09-10
The Holocaust is my third Coursera course and the one with which I have engaged the most. It is also the one on which I have spent the most time because it is so compelling. I very much like the interplay between the historical perspective and the literary perspective that the professors present.

As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, I have had quite a lot of resistance to studying the Holocaust in any depth. I am delighted that I have taken on this course as it has helped me to understand so much more about the Holocaust and its causes. I especially appreciate the compassion, warmth and humour of the two professors in the presentation of such a delicate subject. The presence of the teaching assistant has been invaluable. I have felt accompanied by her all along and I especially like the questions that she put to the students and her comments. These have enabled me to broaden and deepen my reflection about the material. I have also found the forums to be a very valuable resource. They are stimulating, challenging and help me to clarify my thinking. A big thank you to all my fellow students.

I think, personally, that this course should be compulsory both as a warning of the potential destructiveness of human beings. On a more positive note, this course demonstrates the resilience, courage and love of which humans are capable in the most adverse conditions possible

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the people who have made this course possible. Without it I don’t know if I would have had the courage to study the Holocaust in any depth. My only criticism is that the professors referred to material that was projected to the students attending the lectures but were not visible to the online students.

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Carol Colffield , 2013-09-09
Outstanding course! Professors Kenez and Baumgarten have taken us students, on a journey of enormous complexity. However, their approach, in which a dialogue between the Professors translated into a dialogue between History and Literature enriched the experience to a high level.

I would more than recommend this course to everyone not only for its quality but also for its importance as a constant reminder of not only what we humans are capable of doing to other humans, but also of what we humans are capable of enduring and resisting.

A big thank you to the professors' team, to University of California Santa Cruz and finally to Coursera, for the opportunity of having such courses on its platform available to all of us.

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Helga Maria Saboia Bezerra , 2013-10-25
This was the best Coursera course I've ever taken. I strongly recommend it!

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Susan Drogalis , 2013-09-09
I love this class. First of all the approach is different than any other Holocaust class I have ever taken before. It is about a 50/50 split between straight history and Holocoaust related literature. This is the way history should be taught - the literature, which are largely different kinds of memoirs, give the student a personal, experiential perspective on the factual circumstances surrounding Holocaust. Both Drs. Kenez and Baumgarten are great lecturers, with their own styles, and there were a number of interesting guest speakers.

For me the most valuable part of this class has been the forums. The opportunity to exchange ideas, compare perspectives, learn about resources and discover personal histories has been a unique and incredibly enriching experience that I think cannot be found in a live classroom. I have been studying the Holocaust for over 30 years and I have literally learned something new from my fellow students every time I have logged onto the class.

This class is not necessarily for the casual student. Though I suppose you could do as much or as little work as you choose, the full reading and media material list given in the syllabus is what one would expect in a live full semester university class. The suggested hours per week listed by Coursera (3-6) is I think substantially underestimated. have found the class to be well organized and administered. Any technical problems have been resolved quickly.

The Holocaust is a sensitive topic so forum discussions occasionally get heated - those situations have been smoothly mediated by our great online administrator, Shawna. All in all a great class. I would, and have, highly recommended it to others.

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2013-09-08
Not only were the lectures fantastic, but the forum moderator was really helpful as well. I felt connected to the material and to the students. There were many technical issues at first (poor audio quality, quiz troubles, etc.) but that doesn't matter. This is a valuable and wonderful course. Please please offer it again.

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Stuart Snyder (Adelaide, South Australia) , 2013-09-08
The class is fascinating for anyone who has an interest in the Holocaust or for those who want to learn more. Professor Kenez is a holocaust survivor. I do think the course is a bit lengthy and should be split in 2. Part of the course is on holocaust literature discussing the meaning of words or what did the author really mean. I'm more interested in the history than the meaning of what the word meaning really means.

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2013-08-24
Two wonderful lecturers! I liked that they are always present on stage and give inputs to each other. Peter is a historian. Murray focuses on literature. I recommend this course to everyone, it is very rewarding. There are 3 short assignments. The only drawback is: You could spend the whole week on the material. So the best thing would be to only select this single course. ;-)

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