Nicholas outlined the way that study of the Holocaust had developed over the years. A brief explanation of this is:
1) D Goldhagen. Looked at the broader picture to try and establish why the Holocaust happened. Argued that the German people were infected by anti-semiticism.
2) Aly and Heim wrote an article in 1990 that offered a new theory. These scholars argue that there was rational and economical planning by middle management in the Third Reich, under the direction of Hans Franck, that led to the Holocaust being possible.
3) The University of Freiburg. In the book Nationalist Extermination Policies, edited by U. Herbert they argue that the Holocaust was a deliberate attempt at the biological re-ordering of Europe. This is quite distinct from a racial policy - asylums were often the first place to be cleared for example, and the victims of this process may be Aryan.
Nicholas' research into the SS in Vilnius was explained. He coined the term Bio-Utopia as a possible explanation of what was being attempted. He used a diagram to illustrate how the professions combined with ideology to create a situation in which this was attempted.
Political Cleansing - Sterilisation
Historic Sciences - Euthanasia
Geneology - Eastern Conquest
Racial Science - Ethnic Resettlement
Racial Health Laws - Germanisation
Lebensborn - Extermination
(Ok, so the diagram is hard to do on the forum - items to the left are the things that result from the professionals, items on the right result from ideology)
Several questions were discussed at the session, which may be worth discussing here:
Teachers lack sufficient subject knowledge in this area. How can this be overcome? (Probably enough scope for this to be an entirely seperate thread in itself, given that the same judgement can be applied to just about any area of the history curriculum).
Is it a good idea to use videos and images of the victims of the Holocaust? Can this lead to 'unwanted' reactions and a trivialisation of the issues?
How can teachers link their teaching of the Holocaust with other examples of Genocide? Should they do this?
How do teachers avoid creating anti-German sentiment whilst teaching the Holocaust?
Are there inherent dangers in making frequent use of eyewitness testimonies when teaching the Holocaust, especially given that students studying the Holocaust will likely have been taught to question the reliability of sources and witnesses?
How do teachers deal with Holocaust denial?
Edited by Dan Moorhouse, 18 November 2003 - 10:31 AM.