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Prof. Marion Kaplan

Fall 2015

Time: Monday


Office & office hours: King Juan Carlos Center, rm. 110. Mondays … and by appt.

Email: marion.kaplan@nyu.edu

Jews and Other Minorities in Nazi Germany

The destruction of European Jewry has been a central focus in studying Nazi extermination policies. This course will look at Nazi policies towards the Jewish people and examine how the “racial state” (or racist state) dealt with those it deemed “racially unfit” to belong to the German Volk. It will analyze the ways in which the Nazis sought to create a nation based on invented categories of “blood and race.” By studying policies towards the so-called “enemies” of the Third Reich -- including Jews, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), the physically and mentally disabled, homosexuals, Afro-Germans, “asocials,” etc. -- the course will also highlight how these policies interacted with each other. It will examine measures that the government enacted to delegitimize, isolate, rob, incarcerate, sterilize, and/or murder many of these minorities as well as measures intended to increase and strengthen the “Aryan” population. The course will also look at theories as to why many German perpetrators and bystanders participated in or allowed discrimination or murder to occur.

Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945
Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus, Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany
Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (NY 1998)
These books are available at the NYU Bookstore, at Book Culture (112th St. near Broadway) and online. Half price books can be found at Abebooks.com as well as Amazon and B&N.com.
Course Requirements:

Serious and consistent class participation (including regular oral introductions of the homework readings with 1 page response papers, typed, double spaced);

surprise quizzes;

three short papers;

final paper



Late papers will be docked a grade a week.

(Jan. 28) Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus, “Social Outsiders and the Construction of the Community of the People,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany (pp. 3-19)

2. Excerpts from Race and Membership in American History: the Eugenics Movement [Classes]


Richard Evans, “Social Outsiders in German History: From the Sixteenth Century to 1933,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, pp. 20-44


Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State, pp. 1-4, 23-74


"When Racism was a Science" http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/science/haunted-files-the-eugenics-record-office-recreates-a-dark-time-in-a-laboratorys-past.html

(NY Times, Oct. 13, 2014)
First short paper due (3 to 4 pages): Did Nazi racism have a historical background in Germany and elsewhere? If so, where/how did Nazi racism overlap with other racisms and where/how did it differ?

Recommended: Stefan Kühl, The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. https://getit.library.nyu.edu/go/9302195

George Fredrickson, Racism: A Short History
“When good people do evil: the Milgram experiments revisited,” Yale Alumni Magazine, Jan/Feb. 2007 [Classes -- see Milgram]


“Famous ‘Nazi in us all’ Manipulated,” The Australian (Oct. 8, 2013)



“Finding Hope in Knowing the Universal Capacity for Evil,” New York Times, April 3, 2007 [Classes -- see Zimbardo]


Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, chaps. 2 and 3 “Modernity, Racism, Extermination” [Classes]


“A Mosaic of Victims” from USHMM: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007329

Prompt for 2 para. written response:

1) Using Baumann, argue against those who insist that mass hatred (like antisemitism) and murder is “natural” among humans (Crusades, Turks/Armenians, etc.). 2) Also explain why Baumann does not accept the notion that the Holocaust was a breakdown of “civilization” or a “failure of modernity.”

4. Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany

Intro. and chaps. 1-2 (pp. 3-73), chaps. 4 – Conc. (pp. 94 -237) (we will read chap. 3 later)

What is "social death?"  Can you trace its stages?

What do we learn about Jewish life in Nazi Germany by understanding gender dynamics?  In what ways does a gender analysis illuminate daily life?   What other lenses might we use?

Recommended: Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews

5. SINTI AND ROMA (Gypsies)

Burleigh, 113-128


Gilad Margalit, Germany and its Gypsies, pp. 25-55 [Classes]


Sybil Milton, “Gypsies as Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, pp. 212-232


Wolfgang Wippermann, “Christine Lehmann and Mazurka Rose: Two ‘Gypsies’ in the Grip of German Bureaucracy, 1933-1960,” in Michael Burleigh, ed., Confronting the Nazi Past: New Debates on Modern German History, pp. 112- 123 [Classes]


Ian Hancock, review of Guenther Lewy book, The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies in Journal of Genocide Research, 2001 [Classes: read pp. 120-127 only] Also at:



US Holocaust Memorial Museum article, “Genocide of European Roma”:



Walter Winter, Winter Time: Memoirs of a German Sinto who Survived Auschwitz (2004) (trans. and annotated by Struan Robertson). ISBN 1-902806-38-7.

Gilad Margalit, Germany and its Gypsies: A Post-Auschwitz Ordeal at


Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon, The Destiny of Europe’s Gypsies


“What happened to an Ordinary Man,” from USHMM: http://www.ushmm.org/exhibition/persecution-of-homosexuals/


Burleigh, pp. 183-197


Geoffrey Giles, “The Institutionalization of Homosexual Panic in the Third Reich,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, pp. 233-255


Stefan Micheler, “Homophobic Propaganda and the Denunciation of Same-Sex-Desiring Men under National Socialism, “The Journal of the History of Sexuality vol. 11, nos. 1-2 (Jan/April 2002) [available online: Project Muse -- go to NYU home, then to “research”]

Second short paper due (5 pages): book/film assignment on Jews, Sinti/Roma, or homosexuals (see end of syllabus for requirements)
Recommended: Gad Beck, An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin John Fout, ed., Homosexuals and Homosexuality in Germany from the Kaiserreich through the Third Reich

Claudia Schoppmann, Days of Masquerade: life stories of lesbians during the Third Reich (trans. Allison Brown) (NY, 1996)

Günter Grau (ed). Hidden Holocaust: Gay and Lesbian Persecution in Germany, 1933-45 (London: Cassell, 1995)
Henry Friedlander, “From Euthanasia to the Final Solution” from Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, 2004 [on Classes]


Burleigh, pp.148-167


Friedlander, Registering the Handicapped in Nazi Germany,” Jewish History (Fall, 1997) [available online through NYU “research” and JSTOR]


Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide (1995), chap. 11 and Conclusion [Classes]


NY Times article on new monument to the disabled, August 2014:


Recommended: Horst Biesold, Crying hands: eugenics and deaf people in Nazi Germany (Gallaudet University Press, 1999). Available at:



May Opitz, Katharina Oguntoye and Dagmar Schultz, “African and Afro-German Women in the Weimar Republic and under National Socialism,” in Showing our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out,” pp 41-76 [Classes]


Raffael Scheck, “’They are Just Savages’ German Executions of Black Soldiers from the French Army,” Journal of Modern History, June 2000 [Classes]


Hans Massaquoi, Destined to Witness: Growing up Black in Nazi Germany

Clarence Lusane, Hitler’s Black Victims: The Historical Experience of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi Era (New York/London, 2003)

Raphael Sheck, Hitler's African Victims: The German Army Massacres of Black French Soldiers in 1940 (2008)


Burleigh, pp. 295-303


Robert Gellately, “Police Justice, Popular Justice, and Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany: The Example of Polish Foreign Workers,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, pp. 256-272


Birthe Kundrus, “Forbidden Company: Romantic Relationships between Germans and Foreigners, 1939-1945,” in Journal of the History of Sexuality - Volume 11, Number 1 and 2, January/April 2002, pp. 201-222 [available online: Project Muse]


Burleigh, pp. 48-49, 167-182


Nikolaus Wachsmann, “From Indefinite Confinement to Extermination: “Habitual Criminals” in the Third Reich,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, pp. 165-191


Annette Timm, “The Ambivalent Outsider: Prostitution, Promiscuity, and VD Control in Nazi Berlin,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, pp. 192-211


Annette Timm, “Sex with a Purpose: Prostitution, Venereal Disease, and Militarized Masculinity in the Third Reich,” The Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 11, nos. ½ (Jan/April 2002) [available online: Project Muse]

Third short paper due (3 pages): How did the plight of Afro-Germans and foreign workers differ from that of German “asocials” or “habitual criminals?” Were there any similarities?

10. MIXING “Races”

Nathan Stoltzfus, “The Limits of Policy: Social Protection of Intermarried German Jews in Nazi Germany,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, pp. 117- 144


Kaplan, chap. 3 on “Jewish and ‘Mixed’ Families”


Patricia Szobar, “Telling Sexual Stories in the Nazi Courts of Law: Race Defilement in Germany, 1933-1945,”Journal of the History of Sexuality - Volume 11, Number 1 and 2, January/April 2002, pp. 131-163 [available online: Project Muse]

Gisela Bock, “Racism and Sexism in Nazi Germany,” in Renate Bridenthal, Atina Grossmann, Marion Kaplan, eds., When Biology became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany (New York, 1984)

Gabriele Czarnowski, “The Value of Marriage for the Volksgemeinschaft: Policies towards Women and Marriage under National Socialism,” in Bessel, ed. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany (1996)
Journal of the History of Sexuality also available at



Nazi Policies towards Women

Burleigh, pp. 242-266


Jill Stephenson, “Women, Motherhood and the Family in the Third Reich” in Michael Burleigh, ed., Confronting the Nazi Past: New Debates on Modern German History, pp. 167-182 [Classes]

“ARYAN” YOUTH (Nazis and Outsiders)

Burleigh, 199-241

Optional fourth short paper due (3 pages): Was it easy to be an “Aryan” in Nazi Germany? Make an argument for either “yes” or “no.”


Christian Streit, “Soviet Prisoners of War in the Hands of the Wehrmacht” in Hannes Heer and Klaus Naumann, eds., War of Extermination: The German Military in World War II (New York/Oxford, 2004) chap. 4 (pp. 80-89) [Classes]


Doris Bergen, “Sex, Blood, and Vulnerability: Women Outsiders in German-Occupied Europe,” in Gellately and Stoltzfus, pp. 273-88


Bernd Boll and Hans Safrian, “On the Way to Stalingrad: The 6th Army in 1941-42,” in Heer and Naumann, War of Extermination, chap. 10 (pp. 237-264) [Classes]
Recommended: Omer Bartov, Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis and War in the Third Reich

G. Hirschfeld, ed., The Policies of Genocide: Jews and Soviet Prisoners of War in Nazi Germany

T. Schulte, The German Army and Nazi Policies in Occupied Russia
Hannes Heer, “How Amorality became Normality: Reflections on the Mentality of German Soldiers on the Eastern Front,” from Heer and Naumann, War of Extermination , chap. 13 (pp. 329-341) [Classes]


Christopher Browning, “Holocaust Perpetrators: Ideologues, Managers, Ordinary Men,” (March 6, 2002 lecture at US Holocaust Memorial Museum [available online



Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, “Racial War at Home” (chap. 10, pp. 253-274) [Classes]


review your notes from class # 3
14. Oral presentations of term papers (see end of syllabus for topics)WRITING GUIDELINES:
Please learn the definition of plagiarism, one of the most serious forms of academic misconduct: “Presenting another’s words or ideas as your own.” Always cite your sources (including books, articles, and web sites) and use quotation marks whenever you use a phrase of more than 3 words in succession from another person’s work. Paraphrasing an idea does not make it your idea. You may use it, but give credit where credit is due. Remember that professors can find websites as easily as students. Plagiarism will result in an F for the course and notification of the deans.
WRITING: Write your papers as if you were writing for an English class!

Be sure to go over this quick checklist of common writing mistakes before you hand in your papers. Mistakes on your papers will be circled and the numbers below written next to them.

1. Have you paginated?

2. Have you underlined or italicized all foreign words and book titles?

3. Does EVERY sentence have a subject and verb? Have you read each sentence aloud to see if it makes sense?

4. Quotations: A short quotation – of fewer than 5 lines—should be enclosed in quotation marks and combined smoothly as part of your own sentence. A longer quotation should be single spaced, indented, have no quotation marks, and be introduced by you. Quotations cannot stand by themselves, they need to be attached to a sentence.

5. Quotations marks: "Quotation marks enclose punctuation."

6. Citations: simple in-text citations come at the end of the sentence, followed by a period (Author, page __). Use them only when you also use a Bibliography!

7. Paragraphs start with a topic sentence, support its ideas, and end with a concluding thought that rounds up the paragraph. Watch out for extraneous ideas that don’t help you build your paragraph.

8. You need "transition" thoughts between paragraphs. They have to follow each other in some logical order. This will be easy if you have outlined your paper logically.

9. Watch how you use tenses! You should refer to historical issues and events in the past tense. Try to keep your writing in the past tense.

10. Do not use contractions (I’m, he’s, we’re).

11. Do not use colloquialisms (A cool guy, he laughed.)

12. Avoid the verb to be and the passive voice. Use the latter very sparingly. Reread your paper and rewrite 80% of the sentences that use some form of the verb to be (including were or was) and the passive voice.

Passive verbs can exist in any tense. They may or may not employ an auxiliary verb. Here are some examples:



Linda expressed anger.

Linda drives the car.

Linda was angry.

The car is driven by Linda.

Linda drove the car.

The car was driven by Linda.

Linda was driving the car.

The car was being driven by Linda.

Linda has driven the car.

The car has been driven by Linda.

Look at:



Second short paper: BOOK/FILM ASSIGNMENTS:

Choose a book and film about your topic, Jews, Sinti/Roma, or homosexuals (male and/or female) and write a report comparing and contrasting the book and film you have chosen. Your report should:

  1. Refer to your class readings where appropriate, situating your book in the context of your many readings on this particular topic and our class discussions. Specifically, how did the group in the book you have chosen experience the Nazi years? What did you see as the main points in your book and film? Did they challenge or confirm your other readings? In what ways?

  2. Contrast the book and the film. How did the book portray your group’s experiences as compared to the film? Did the film offer you any advantages over the book? Or vice versa?

You may choose from the recommended readings and films on the syllabus, or on the bibliography on Classes, or from your own research. Please check with me if you have done the latter.

4 to 5 pages, typed and carefully edited. Write this paper as if it were a paper for your English class. Keep all 12 points on the above checklist in mind.

Term paper:

You will be given an identity by lottery (Sinti/Roma, Jewish teenager, handicapped person, soldier, “Aryan” person, etc.) and will be expected to explain how this person fared starting slightly before 1933 but concentrating on Nazi Germany until 1945. You will be asked to read a book, some articles and some life histories about this person or group.

10 pages typed and carefully edited keeping all 12 points on the above checklist in mind.

JEWS: David (VCA12992); Jacob the Liar (VCA9545); Europa, Europa (VCA5082); Genocide (VCA3718); Jew Süss (VCA4758); All Jews Out! (DVD 13399); One survivor remembers (online here https://getit.library.nyu.edu/go/9306072)

Homosexuals: Aimee and Jaguar (VCA12069, DVD 756); Desire (VCA6010); Paragraph 175 (DVD 21568); Bent (DVD 15426); I'm my own woman: the life story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (VCA 4574)

Foreign Workers: A Love in Germany (VCA14450)

SINTI/ROMA: Porraimos (VCA 13995); Oh, you Black Bird: the Forgotten Holocaust of the Romanies (online here https://getit.library.nyu.edu/go/9304769)

“Aryans”: Triumph of the Will (VCA264); The Devil’s General (VCA 11590)

THE DISABLED: Healing by Killing (VCA8342)

INTERMARRIAGES: Marriage in the Shadows (DVD 31586); Distant Journey (DVD 3387).
AFRICAN AMERICAN SOLDIERS: Liberators: fighting on two fronts in World War II (VCA 2916)

There are other films at Bobst as well. Check the website. Also take a look at the Holocaust in Film section on Holocaust research guide: http://nyu.libguides.com/aecontent.php?pid=44995&sid=332740

If you would like to rent films not available at Bobst, there are also many.

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