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Choosing a research topic

Sophomore Seminar – Spring 2019
Choosing a Research Topic.
As we begin the semester, you should be trying to find something about the history of the Holocaust that
interests you for whatever reason. You should do some preliminary reading on the topic to learn a bit
about it and confirm that it holds your interest. A good place to turn for this initial reading is the list of
general reference books in the “Beginning Bibliography of the Holocaust” given to you in class.
Once you have picked a general topic, you will want to narrow it down and then develop a question that
you seek to answer about it. Thus, for example, if you picked the topic of Nazi anti-Jewish laws, you
might decide to narrow your focus to the Nuremburg laws of 1935, and you might further decide to try to
answer the question of why the Nazis defined Jews the way they did in the implementation of the Reich
Citizenship Law.
On 12 February you must submit a preliminary statement of your research topic. This must be a typed
paragraph or more that explains what the topic is and why you have chosen it. It must also list the
preliminary reading that you have already done on it. At least one reading that is not from the internet
must be listed, and it must be cited in the bibliographical format used in the “Beginning Bibliography on
the Holocaust” that you have been given. If possible, try to begin narrowing down your topic along the
lines suggested in the preceding paragraph.
Some suggestions for topics follow. You are certainly free to choose something else as these are far from
exhausting the possibilities.
The origins of Nazi anti-Semitism or racism.
Hitler’s anti-Semitism.
The Nazi sterilization campaign
Nazi policies against Blacks, Roma, Slavs, and
other peoples considered inferior.
Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda.
The “Madagascar Plan” (a plan to deport Europe’s
Jews to Madagascar)
The motives of the perpetrators of mass murder.
Non-German accomplices of the “Final Solution”:
the Hilfswillige, the Romanians, etc.
The fate of Mischlinge (people who are partially
Jewish) or of Jews married to Aryans.
The Holocaust in specific countries (France,
Hungary, Italy, etc.)
The Auschwitz camp complex or some other camp.
Nazi use of slave labor.
Jews in hiding from the Nazis.
The rescue (or rescuers) of Jews during the
The death marches at the conclusion of the war.
The role of specific perpetrators (Hitler, Himmler,
and others) in the Holocaust.
Nazi medical experiments on camp inmates.
Nazi anti-Jewish laws.
Kristallnacht (the 1938 pogrom versus the Jews of
The Nazi T4 “Euthanasia” campaign.
Aryanization of Jewish property
The Jewish ghettos in Poland (Lodz, Warsaw, etc.)
The Judenräte (Jewish administrative bodies set up
to run ghettos established by the Nazis).
The role of the Einsatzgruppen SS, police
battalions, or German army in the Holocaust
German public opinion and the Holocaust
The planning of the Holocaust
The role of neutral countries in the Holocaust
(Sweden, Switzerland, etc.)
The gas chambers.
The concentration camp experience.
The flight of Jews from Germany before World
War II.
The Holocaust and the Churches (Catholic,
Protestant, etc.).
The bombing of Auschwitz (or rather why it was
not undertaken).
War crime trials and bringing the perpetrators to
Jewish resistance.
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