The Nazi holocaust

Landau, Ronnie S. (1997) The Nazi holocaust. Masters thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Abstract

The Nazi Holocaust represents an original, interdisciplinary contribution to the field of education, with special reference to the teaching of the humanities in general, and history in particular. Its claim to originality lies in its overall educational conception, in its approach to understanding and transmitting the memory' and lessons of the Holocaust and in its filling a palpable gap.
Before the publication of my work, despite hundreds of volumes devoted at various levels to the subject - from fields as disparate as history, psychology, sociology, theology, moral philosophy, literature and jurisprudence - there was no single accessible, multidimensional volume for the many hundreds of teachers who were faced - often suddenly, as in the case of Britain - with the intimidating task of teaching this
most complex of subjects; under-informed and under-resourced, they were often resigned to teaching it badly or not at all.
Those works that were available were either too simplistic or were too narrowly focused, over-scholasticised and sometimes shrouded in mystification: they generally
failed to take sufficient stock of the fact that the Holocaust had historical and ideological antecedents, such decontextualisation being, perhaps, the single most
glaring educational problem I identified; virtually all 'historical' works failed even to ask, let alone address, the serious moral and psychological questions raised by the subject, and - most seriously - often formed part of an extremist, partisan and passionate literature, seemingly unable or unwilling to grapple with its broader educational meaning [a meaning that I would argue in my book went way beyond the
world of its Jewish victims].
My work set out to make good these shortcomings, and to attempt a breakthrough in the transmission of its most salient messages for all. In a clear, educationally provocative, yet scholarly fashion, I sought to mediate between a vast, often
unapproachable literature, and the hard-pressed teacher and student who wrestle with its meaning. By examining it from different disciplinary perspectives, I also wanted to demonstrate that no one discipline can claim an educational monopoly on this subject.
My work aimed to break new ground in the educational sphere by locating theHolocaust within a number of historically important and educationally desirable
contexts: namely Jewish history, modem German history, genocide in the modem age, and the larger story of human indifference, bigotry and the triumph of ideology over conscience. It examined the impact and aftermath of the Holocaust, considering its implications not only for the surviving Jewish world (including the State of Israel) but for all humanity.
In such a highly-charged emotional and intellectual arena, my work aimed, uniquely, to strike an enlightened balance between various Scyllas and Charybdises, standing, as it were, in the educational and historiographical crossfire of often diametrically opposed views.
The philosophical starting-point of my work is that the Holocaust, though unquestionably a unique historical event, should not be cordoned off from the rest of human experience and imprisoned within the highly-charged realm of 'Jewish
experience' . It offers a new educational perspective by stressing that the attempt to understand even so appalling a tragedy as the Holocaust is, like all good education, ultimately about the making, and not the breaking, of connections. In short, the Holocaust as educational theme is both unique and universal.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13482
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2015 12:00
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:46
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13482

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