Winter Semester 2022/2023
»At the Crossroads between Barbarism and Advancement:«
»On the Entangled Interrelations between Socialism and the Holocaust
Monday, 9.15–10.45 a.m.
Start: 10 October 2022
Dubnow Institute, Goldschmidtstr. 28, Leipzig
Seminar Language: English
During the 20th century, two radically opposed visions of human society reached the climax of their implementation: the utopian vision of socialism; and the apocalyptic reality of the genocide. Around the mid of the century, various socialist movements were at the height of their influence: labor parties, trade unions, cooperatives, and communes. Simultaneously, the most murderous regimes used socialism as a title: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under Stalin; and National-Socialism under Hitler. It was as part of the apocalyptic clash between these two powers that National-Socialism brought its anti-Jewish policy to its extreme end, known as »the final solution of the Jewish question.«
This seminar will address the following questions: How were the histories of socialism and the Holocaust interconnected? What were the reactions of socialists—Jews and non-Jews—to the »Jewish question,« and especially to its culmination with the »final solution«? How and to what extent did socialists attempt to resist the Holocaust? How did socialists interpret the Holocaust while it unfolded (as exemplified by the citation of the German-Jewish communist Otto Heller from 1939 in the title) and during its aftermath?
Methodologically, this seminar will involve conceptual history, political history, intellectual history, analysis of testimonies, and memory studies. Historical examples will be given from various countries from within and outside the territories occupied by Nazi Germany, and especially from the German Reich, occupied Poland, the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, and the Jewish Settlement in the Land of Israel.
- Introduction: Definitions—Socialism, Holocaust; Historical Background—Socialism and the Jewish Question.
- Non-Jewish Socialists Facing the Holocaust: Silence, Collaboration, Assistance, Rescue.
- Jewish Socialists Facing the Holocaust: Helplessness, Despair, Resistance, Revolt.
- Socialist Interpretations of the Holocaust: Philosophy, Historiography, Culture, Memory.
Open to mature age students: no
Participation is limited to 20 people.