Welcome to the blog for the History 299 course "The History and Memory of the Holocaust." We are a group of 24, including history professor Anna Peterson and art professor Lea Lovelace. Starting January 8th, we will visit Washington, D.C., Germany, Poland, Denmark, and the Czech Republic studying how the Holocaust has been memorialized throughout the US and Europe.
Meet your blog coordinator, Katie! I am a senior from South St. Paul, MN, double-majoring in history and political science with a minor in international studies. This is my second J-term course abroad (Brazil in January 2017) and I could not be more excited to explore Europe with my fellow classmates!
The Holocaust is one of the darkest atrocities to reign over the history of our existence. The events occurred for over a decade and finally came to an end in 1945. I have had the chance to research the memorialization of this event for the past year and have found myself continuously intrigued through the process used to remember this horrific event. I chose to take this J-term course for a few reasons.
The Holocaust is something students learn about at a young age, typically introduced to the topic through The Diary of Anne Frank. Since my personal introduction to this topic in 8th grade, I have always had a fascination and passion for learning about these events. As a history major, participating in this trip will allow me the chance to see some of the most well-known places involved in the history of the Holocaust. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to see these sites, but here we are!
I also chose to participate in this course because of my ongoing research regarding the memorialization of the Holocaust. Through speculation, I didn’t think it was possible for one to truly grasp the impact and meaning behind museums, memorials, or famous landmarks until seeing them in person. Turns out, my speculation was accurate. I had the opportunity to travel to Germany this past summer, and while the trip focused on Martin Luther and the Reformation, we had the chance to visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe as well as Platform 17, which was used to transport Jews in and out of Berlin during the Holocaust. I was overcome with so many different emotions from simply walking alongside a set of train tracks and wandering the paths through hundreds of stelae. My brief visit to Berlin (about 8 hours) allowed me the smallest insight to these landmarks, and I know this trip will open up the door for so many more similar encounters.
Seeing these sights in Berlin helped me to emotionally comprehend parts of the Holocaust that seem incomprehensible from thousands of miles away, but it also allowed for self-evaluation and reflection based on my understanding of the events. I chose to participate in this course because of my love for history and learning about the Holocaust, to enhance my academic research, but most importantly, to allow myself time to reflect on the atrocities our world has faced. I look forward to the many raw emotions I know I will feel while in Europe, and I plan to bring many Kleenex along to wipe away all of my tears! Until arrival, hopefully I’ll keep my tears to a minimum.
Over the course of January, each student in our class will have the chance to write a blog post relating our experiences back to class content and discussions. I will be the one to edit and post these blogs daily so all of you can stay up to date with our adventures!
If you have any questions along the way or want to reach out to our class, you can email me.