• Holocaust Book Talks

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    Holocaust Research

    Research Skill

    1. Getting Started

    1. Create a Keyword Bank:
      1. Write down the important words, names, or ideas relating to your topic that you currently know.
      2. Add more words, names, and ideas as you discover them in your research.
      3. Sometimes your original keywords will not bring you the expected results, so it is important to have a bank of alternate search terms ready to go.
      4. example 1
    2. Create Your Search String:
      1. You should always research by searching carefully selected keywords NOT entire sentances!
        1. Putting "and" between two keywords will NARROW your results so only results with BOTH terms will show up.
        2. Putting "OR" between two keywords will EXPAND your results so results with EITHER of the terms will show up.
        3. Putting "NOT" between keywords will LIMIT results to ignore results with certain words.
      2. examples2


    2. Searching Databases


    3. Searching Free Web

    1. Google
    2. Google's Dataset Search - find data sets/statistics
    3. Microsoft Academic - Great place to find scholarly articles outside a database. But be aware that not every article that shows up in the results will ACTUALLY be free to access. You'll have to stay flexible and adaptive while searching the results. Expect to run into some barriers you can't get past. When that happens, abandon the article and keep searching for others.
    4. Semantic Scholar Great place to find scholarly articles outside a database. But be aware that not every article that shows up in the results will ACTUALLY be free to access. You'll have to stay flexible and adaptive while searching the results. Expect to run into some barriers you can't get past. When that happens, abandon the article and keep searching for others.
    5. Refseek - Works just like google but it tries to give more academic results instead of so many commercial results.

    4. Google Search Tips

    quotations  keywords  graphic2  domain  graphic2

    5. Evaluate Your Sources

    Make sure your source (the name of the website) is reliable! Its easy to do this by simply googling the name of the source and seeing what OTHER sites say about the source.

    You can also add the word "wikipedia" after the domain to see if wikipedia can tell you about the source.




    6. Recommended Free Web resources

    ****When using non-database online resources, always ALWAYS make sure to check out the reliability of the source FIRST.  There is a lot of misinformation and conspiracy theories relating to the Holocaust on the internet. Always run the name of your source or website through google, wikipedia, or mediabiasfactcheck.com to make sure the source has a good, credible reputation.****
    Other Resources:
    The Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Holocaust Encyclopedia "The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) has some tremendous online resources, and the recent addition of the Holocaust Encyclopediacontinues in this tradition. The interactive Encyclopedia includes hundredsof articles that cover topics like the Third Reich, refugees, ghettos, andthe liberation of Nazi camps. Each entry contains hypertext links to otherentries and relevant resources, including timelines, photo galleries, and primary source documents."
    Avalon Project: International Military Tribunal for Germany
    The Avalon Project, affiliated with Yale University, provides a large number of primary source historical material online. This particular part of th Avalon Project has material from the Nuremburg Trials, much of which is related to the Holocaust." 
    - John Jaeger, Dallas Baptist University
    Business and the Holocaust
    "It is easy to overlook the close relationshop betwwen corporations and the Holocaust experience. Ths site provides 'provides information leading up to the Holocaust showing major ties between corporations and the Nazis with articles, book excerpts, historical and recent news media reports, war crimes trial transcripts, government and organization resources.'" - John Jaeger, Dallas Baptist University
    The Einsatzgruppen
    The Einsatzgruppen were mobile killing squads whose task was to kill Jews in the territory captured in Russia. The site contains a 'collection of documents, testimonies, trial transcripts and photographs documenting the brutal history of the Einsatzgruppen mobile killing units." 
    - John Jaeger, Dallas Baptist University
    Holocaust Denial on Trial: David Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt
    "This site is simply a treasure trove of information for scholars, students, or anyone interested in the trial and Holocaust denial. Included are the complete trial transcripts, the full text of the judgment, and a number of the book-length works submitted on Lipstadt's behalf by prominent historians of Germany and the Holocaust (including a 700+ page examination of Irving's entire body of works by Richard Evans.)"
    Simon Wiesenthal Center
    In 1977, Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor, founded both The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and a center in his own name with the goal of promoting Holocaust remembrance and the defense of human rights. The center's Web site provides an exhaustive selection of educational materials dealing with the Holocaust and its reverberations, such as how to respond to those who deny the Holocaust ever happened.
    The National Archive

    Presentation: Choosing Images
    When presenting on topics of atrocity or genocide, like the Holocaust, it is very important that you choose the images you use very VERY cautiously, and respectfully. Here are some things to keep in mind:
    • Graphic photos showing human death, violence, indignity, and suffering should rarely, if ever be used. 
      • Using explicit photographs as a way of engaging your audience is degrading to the victims in the photographs, and incensitive to your audience.
    • If you plan on using such a photo, reconsider.
      • In these situations, photos depicting atrocity are almost always unnecessary. 
      • The victims depicted in these photographs had no choice about the photo, and thus have not given consent for the photo to have been taken at all, let alone given consent for the continual use of the photograph by strangers for decades afterward. Using these photos gratuitiously continues the cycle of oppression and dehumanization for those victims.
    • If you are still planning to use such a photo, reconsider again.
      • Photographs of human suffering should not be used to shock, horrify, or otherwise engage an audience.
    • If you are in one of the very, very rare exceptional situations where such a photo is appropriate, warn your audience and treat the topic and subjects of the photo with the respect they deserve. These photos should never be used gratuitiously, if at all.

    Other things to consider about photographs:

    1. Using artwork created by survivors can be an excellent alternative to using photogrpahs taken by the Nazis without the victim's consent.
      1. Additionally you might choose photos that don't show items or physical places rather than actual people suffering.
      2. You also might consider using personal accounts, videos, or interviews with survivors instead of photos taken by Nazis.
    2. Make yourself aware of the context of the photograph- who took it and why?  You must know answers to this before using a photograph.  Most evidence of the Holocaust were taken by the Nazis for their own purposes and therefore reflect the Nazi ideologies and lack of respect for the human dignity and suffering of those photographed. 
    3. Photographs are not synonymous with "truth."  Photos are often stages and taken for very specific reasons and even to tell very specific stories. When using photographs taken by either the Nazis or the Allied forces, you need to consider that those groups of people had agenda's they were serving by taking those photos.

    What the Holocaust Remembrance website has to say about photos:

    "The Holocaust can be taught effectively without using any photographs of piles of naked bodies, and the overuse of such imagery can be harmful. Engendering shock and revulsion is unlikely to constitute a worthwhile learning experience. It can, however, have a dehumanising effect and reinforce a view of Jews as victims."

    If you are unsure whether you should use a specific photo or not, double check with Miss Lutz or Miss Bogan. If in doubt and unable to consult with us, I recommend erring on the side of caution and not using the photo.

    Presentation: Choosing Words
    When presenting on topics of atrocity or genocide, like the Holocaust, it is very important that you choose the words you use very purposefully.
    Advice from USHMM: Use Precise Language, Not Gernalities or Stereotypes
    "Try to avoid stereotypical descriptions. Though all Jews were targeted for destruction by the Nazis, the experiences of all Jews were not the same. Remind your students that, although members of a group may share common experiences and beliefs, generalizations about them without benefit of modifying or qualifying terms (e.g., “sometimes,” “usually,” “in many cases but not all”) tend to stereotype group behavior and distort historical reality. Thus, all Germans cannot be characterized as Nazis, nor should any nationality be reduced to a singular or one-dimensional description."

    During the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945, Hitler certainly used words to disseminate hate, creating prejudice and intolerance against the Jews, which ultimately resulted in the deaths of six million Jewish men, women and children.

    People are easily influenced; the words people use, and the way people say them, have a profound effect on us. They can also tap into our desire to ‘fit in with the crowd’. If people are told that the majority of other people are doing something, or believe in something, then some – though not all – will follow suit to avoid being different, or singled out or ostracised. 



    Avoid using the language of the perpetrators, which mirrors their views. Terms like "Final Solution" may be cited and critically analysed but should not be used to describe the historical event.

    Definitions are important because they demand accuracy and clear thinking. One example is the use of the term "camp." Although people died at many camps created by the Nazis and their collaborators, not all camps were intentionally built as killing centres. There were concentration camps, slave labour camps, and transit camps, to name a few. Different camps functioned in different ways at different times. It is essential that teachers be very precise when describing the activities that occurred at the various camps associated with this history and avoid generalising about camps.



    Dehumanizing always starts with language, often followed by images. We see this throughout history. During the Holocaust, Nazis described Jews as Untermenschen—subhuman. They called Jews rats and depicted them as disease-carrying rodents in everything from military pamphlets to children’s books. Hutus involved in the Rwanda genocide called Tutsis cockroaches. Indigenous people are often referred to as savages. Serbs called Bosnians aliens. Slave owners throughout history considered slaves subhuman animals.

    Some words to watch out for:

    "Extermination."  Remember that the victims of the Holocaust were not "exterminated," they were murdered.

    "Infestation." Remember that the term infestation is usually used to refer to pests and non-human critters which are viewed as undesireable. Using this term to refer to human beings is dehumanizing propaganda intended to infer that the group of people referred to are in some way sub-human, undesireable, or less than.

    "Final Solution." Indicates that a population of human beings was a "problem" and the "solution" was through their murder.



    On September 1, 1939, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland. Fifteen years earlier, he penned Mein Kampf “to describe my own development,” he explained in the preface, and “to destroy the evil legends created about my person by the Jewish press.” To that end, he described Jews as “like a harmful bacillus,” “bloodsuckers,” “vermin,” “vampire[s]” and “parasites.”

    Maiese defines dehumanization as “the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making them seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment.” Dehumanizing often starts with creating an enemy image. As we take sides, lose trust, and get angrier and angrier, we not only solidify an idea of our enemy, but also start to lose our ability to listen, communicate, and practice even a modicum of empathy.

    As social psychologist Jonathan Haidt noted on Twitter, an “us” versus “them” mindset “often leads to comparing one’s enemies to infectious parasites.” It results in using metaphors that evoke the moral emotion of disgust. Disgust, according to psychologists Buckels and Trapnell “appears to have the unique capacity to foster the social-cognitive dehumanization of outgroup members.”

    Hitler understood this perfectly, and with his dehumanizing rhetoric, promoted an anti-Jewish exterminationist mentality across Europe. In 1943, Heinrich Himmler, whose mission was to make Jews “disappear from this earth,” declared that “Anti-Semitism is exactly the same as delousing. Getting rid of lice is not a question of ideology. It is a matter of cleanliness.” 

    Devastating atrocities often accompany dehumanizing rhetoric that evokes disgust. As recently as the 1990s, the Rwandan genocide was preceded by Hutu propaganda describing the Tutsi as cockroaches. Members of the Hutu militia set up roadblocks, checked identification cards for ethnicity, and murdered Tutsi Rwandans. Neighbors slaughtered neighbors with machetes. Children were massacred. By the end of the war, an estimated 1 in 10 Rwandans, mostly Tutsi, had been assassinated.

    During World War II, Americans dehumanized the Japanese by depicting them as insects and animals, “and enlarged the chasm between 'us' and 'them' to the point where it was perceived to be virtually unbridgeable,” according to historian John Dower. This made it possible for presumably otherwise decent Americans to endorse Executive Order 9066, which forced over 100,000 Japanese Americans into internment centers.

    In his 2015 book, How Propaganda Works, Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley explains that propaganda focuses on in-groups vs. out-groups, appeals to emotion, and destroys “norms of mutual respect.” Hitler detailed in Mein Kampf that the art of propaganda is about “understanding the great masses’ world of ideas and feelings,” and then manipulating those feelings to capture the hearts and attention of those who see themselves as part of the in-group