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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - German

Undergraduate Course: The Third Reich in Literature and Testimony (Ordinary) (ELCG09005)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryStudents will read German-language texts by perpetrators and victims of the Nazi genocide, exploring the ways in which writers positioned themselves, or were forced to position themselves, in relation to their experiences. Students will assess the different ways in which these texts have been interpreted in the post-war world.
Course description The course is designed to encourage students to consider witness texts from different angles, comparing perpetrator and victim perspectives and understanding the influence of language, genre and context in memory texts. In the first half of the semester, we look at two well known texts, one by a perpetrator and one by a victim, looking closely at the context of composition and investigating the contrasting narrative strategies. In the second half, we explore different statements by the same witness, a written text, a recorded trial testimony, and an extract from Lanzmann's Shoah, asking questions about how the framing of a testimony affects the way in which events are narrated.

Assessment is by essay, group presentation and pass/fail participation. Participation will consist of ALGs developing themes from the classes and working towards their group presentations at the end; they will also regularly review the work of the other groups and compare results. The aim is to develop a resource of material, references and questions to help the others

The module uses Learn as the basis for ALG work. The student presentations can be synchronous via Teams or asynchronous if necessary. The synchronous sessions will work either f2f or online. If synchronous activity becomes impossible, the synchronous sessions can be redesigned as ALG activity, with groups addressing specific questions and monitoring each other's work.

Primary texts:

Short clips of Abraham Bomba testimony for week 1

Rudolf Höß: Kommandant in Auschwitz

Ruth Klüger: weiter leben

Filip Müller: Sonderbehandlung / trial testimony / extract from Shoah
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesIn order to be eligible to take 4th Year Options, Visiting Students should have the equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s).
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay (1750 words): 70%

Group Presentation: 30%

Participation: pass/fail
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand approaches to testimonial and literary writing arising from the Third Reich and the Holocaust
  2. Read and analyse texts using theories of witnessing, autobiography and memory in historical context, and show a clear appreciation of the features of texts by victims and perpetrators
  3. Produce clear, well organised work, which develops arguments systematically with the use of relevant emphases, subsidiary points, and examples.
  4. Demonstrate clear communication, presentation and interaction skills
  5. Consistently exercise autonomy and initiative, taking significant responsibility for the work of others in group work.
Reading List
Rudolf Höß: Kommandant in Auschwitz: Autobiographische Aufzeichnungen des Rudolf Höß, ed. Martin Broszat (Munich: dtv, 1998)

Ruth Klüger: weiter leben: Eine Jugend (Munich: dtv, 1994). Available as e-book

Filip Müller: Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1999), tr. by Susanne Flatauer. Available as e-book.

NB: the German original of this text is out of print, but I hope to have copies available for us to use by the time the class starts. In the meantime, read this good translation.

Filip Müller: Auschwitz trial testimony:

Listen to the first part of his testimony, where he speaks German (up to minute 167 of the recording, page 70 of the pdf transcript, which you can download from the website). You may need to ensure that Flash is enabled on your browser.

There is plenty of background information on the trial on this site: click on 'zurück' and go to the Texte und Materialien section.
There is also some useful background information here:
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Hanna Schumacher
Tel: (0131 6)50 3670
Course secretaryMiss Hope Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167
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