Instructor: Jack Kugelmass

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Screening the Holocaust

Spring 2016

T: 11:45-1:40, R: 12:50-1:40

Instructor: Jack Kugelmass

Office: 201 Walker Hall

Hours: Wednesday 1:00-3:00 or by appointment Tel. 2-9245


The course examines a fragment of what is an ever expanding corpus of films exploring the destruction of European Jewry, an event we now commonly refer to as the Shoah. Given the vastness of the filmic literature, the course limits itself to feature or fiction films and covers the period from the rise of European fascism through the Holocaust, the postwar period and the continuing profusion of films on this subject. The course is intended to:

  1. use films to explore critical issues related to Hitler’s war against the Jews

  2. familiarize students with the most important fictional films on the Holocaust

  3. examine the ways in which films tell stories and the rhetorical devices they use to slant understanding, interpret and sometimes misinterpret events

  4. consider what films reveal about the ever-changing memory culture of countries in which the Shoah took place or were affected by the migration of refugees

  5. review and discuss appropriate critical readings of these films

  6. consider the limits of representation and whether or not the Shoah can be intellectually, put to rest

  7. familiarize students with some of the critical literature connected to the study of the Holocaust


Attendance and participation (10%). Absence of two classes without justification will result in a lower grade.

Weekly submission of one page write up of readings and films marked by asterisk (20%)

Selection and in class presentation of films (20%)

Two ten-page papers (25% each)

Topics for these should be discussed with me in advance. The essays do need to indicate that you have been reading the assigned critical literature and that you have made use of additional material available on line and in the library. There are compilations of film reviews by the New York Times and other publications known for serious film reviews and should be consulted. Reading what others have to say is an excellent way to gain insight into particular films. Remember to always cite your sources and unless paraphrasing to indicate direct quotes through the use of quotation marks.

Nota Bene:

Downloading papers produced on the web or submitting work done by others is a serious infraction of proper student conduct. Please read and be familiar with the University of Florida’s definition of, and policy, regarding plagiarism as described in the Code of Student Conduct. The first of many pages that outline students’ responsibilities and obligations can be found at the following UF website. Please read it carefully:

Intentional plagiarism of any source will result in a failing grade for the course. If you do not understand plagiarism or what constitutes it, please ask.
If you have a disability that requires special arrangements (e.g., note- and/or test-taking), please register with UF’s Office of Students with Disabilities and contact the instructor within the first two weeks of class. Every effort will be made to accommodate those with registered disabilities.

Schlemiels as Heroes 01/05-14

*The Great Dictator (Avisar)

*To Be Or Not To Be

Me and the Colonel

Life Is Beautiful
Martyrs: The Heroic Monumental 01/19-28

*Border Street (Haltof)

*The Last Stop (Haltof)
Victims and Bystanders 02/02-11

*Shop on Main Street (Avisar)

*Mr. Klein

Stained Memory 02/16-25

Au revoir les enfants

*Lacombe, Lucien (Friedlander) (Arendt)

The Last Metro

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)

*The Nasty Girl (Baron) (Sereny) (Arendt)


The Murderers Among Us
SPRING BREAK 02/27-03/05
Complicity 03/08-24

*Seven Beauties (Levi) (Browning)

*Sophie’s Choice
Survivors: Ruined Memory 03/22-24

*The Pawnbroker (Langer, Leff)

The Juggler


The Search
Survivors: Nihilism 03/29-31

*Enemies a Love Story


Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

Realism as Fiction 04/05-07

*Schindler’s List (Bratu Hansen) (White)

Europa, Europa (Baron)

The Diary of Anne Frank

Judgment at Nuremberg

The Post Holocaust? 04/12-04/19

*The Producers

*Dr. Strangelove

Inglorious Basterds

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.

-Pp48-55 (Lacombe, Lucien)

-pp126-134 (The Nasty Girl)

-pp148-150, pp230-233 (Schindler’s List)

Ilan Avisar, Screening the Holocaust: Cinema’s Images of the Unimaginable.

-Pp134-148. (The Great Dictator)

-pp79-86 (Shop on Main Street)
Lawrence Baron, Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema. Rowman & Littlefield,

-Pp84-88, (Europa, Europa)

-Pp225-230, (The Nasty Girl)
Miriam Bratu Hansen, “Schindler’s List Is not Shoah: Second Commandment, Popular Modernism, and Public Memory.” Critical Inquiry 22, Winter 1996:292-312.
Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Harper Perennial, Pp159-189.
Saul Friedlander, Reflections of Nazism: An Essay on Kitsch & Death. Indiana University Press, Pp85-115.(Lacombe, Lucien)
Marek Haltof, Polish Film and the Holocaust: Politics and Memory.

Pp 28-52 (The Last Stage)

Pp 53-73 (Border Street)
Lawrence Langer, Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. Yale University Press, 1991, pp.162-205. (The Pawnbroker)
Leonard Leff, Hollywood and the Holocaust: Remembering the Pawnbroker. American Jewish History 84, n.4, December 1996: 353-376.
Primo Levy, The Drowned and the Saved. Simon and Schuster, 1988, pp70-87. (Seven Beauties)
Robert J Lifton, Life in Death
Gitta Sereny, Into that Darkness.Vintage, Pp221-228. (The Nasty Girl)
Hayden White, “Historical Emplotment and the Problem of Truth.” In Saul Friedlander, ed. Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the “Final Solution.” Harvard University Press, Pp37-53.

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