are compulsory sources.

Write a paper of about 5-6 pages (12 point, double-spaced) on one of the following.  Please state a thesis or argument at the beginning of your essay.  Do not simply answer the questions in each prompt one after the other, but, instead, construct an essay that answers all of them.  Make use of the relevant readings and/or films from the course.  Any consistent footnote style is acceptable.


1.Do you think that any conclusions can be drawn about human nature from studying the extreme conditions of the Holocaust? Primo Levi argues that all prisoners in Auschwitz occupied a “gray zone” in which some form of collaboration was necessary for survival.  He also contends that prisoners were totally on their own but then relates stories of solidarity. What are some examples that he gives for these various contentions?  Which of them seems the most convincing?  Now, expand your essay to include the ghettos and other sites in Nazi occupied Europe as well, using all of the resources from the course to discuss the spectrum of responses to the Nazi onslaught.  Include in your answer not only the victims, but also rescuers, bystanders and collaborators.

  1. In this course, we followed the fate of a number of Polish Jews: Dawid Sierakowiak, Mates and Idesa Jablonka, Maya Trilling and the Jews of the “Two Barns.” What can we conclude about the experience of Polish Jews in the Holocaust?  Include in your answer not only the Jewish victims but also the role of Polish Christians.  Are their stories unique or do they represent certain common themes in the history of Holocaust in other European countries beyond Poland?
  2. To what degree was the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust determined by the level of antisemitism before the war? To what degree did their chances of survival depend on sympathy from the non-Jewish population and the nature of the regime during the Holocaust?  Answer these questions by comparing three countries in occupied Europe, two of which should be Germany and France.
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