Tes­ti­mo­ny, Ten­sions, and Tikkun: Teach­ing the Holo­caust in Col­leges and Universities

Myr­na Gold­en­berg and Rochelle L. Millen, eds.
  • Review
By – March 2, 2012

Much edu­ca­tion about the Shoah is root­ed in sim­ple slo­gans of Remem­ber” and Nev­er Again.” The par­tic­i­pants in the ongo­ing Pas­to­ra Gold­ner Holo­caust Sym­po­sium, whose gath­er­ings sparked the essays in this vol­ume, offer more tex­tured expla­na­tions of what hap­pens when schol­ars and uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents study the Shoah togeth­er. From every dis­ci­pline, they demon­strate that schol­ars’ aca­d­e­m­ic con­cerns — with estab­lish­ing the par­tic­u­lar­i­ties that dif­fer­en­ti­ate the Shoah in one coun­try from the expe­ri­ence in anoth­er, for instance — can be the best way to engage stu­dents’ curios­i­ty, inter­est, and ulti­mate­ly con­cern for the fun­da­men­tal ques­tions raised by the Holocaust. 

One of the most impor­tant threads in the book address­es the arc of (most­ly non-Jew­ish) col­lege stu­dents’ emo­tion­al expe­ri­ence of Holo­caust study. By pre­sent­ing first-per­son nar­ra­tives, pri­ma­ry doc­u­ments, and the per­spec­tives of per­pe­tra­tors and bystanders, pro­fes­sors often help their stu­dents get past mute hor­ror, despair, or Holo­caust fatigue.” Some essays sug­gest more than they demon­strate. One, about busi­ness ethics and the Holo­caust, could just as eas­i­ly use the Ford Pin­to as the major exam­ple. Yet on the whole the per­spec­tives offered in this col­lec­tion are orig­i­nal, nuanced, and even uplift­ing. Con­trib­u­tors, index.

Jonathan Spi­ra-Savett is a rab­bi and teen edu­ca­tor. He is the rab­bi at Tem­ple Beth Abra­ham in Nashua, NH. His work focus­es on civic edu­ca­tion and youth phil­an­thropy, and he has taught his­to­ry, lit­er­a­ture, and envi­ron­men­tal stud­ies in addi­tion to tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish texts.

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