10920 Psychology of the Holocaust 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Psychology

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including Research Methods in Social Sciences, Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology and Research Experience, Regression Analysis and Analysis of Variance. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

The course is based on 26 lectures by Prof. Dan Bar-On (on DVD) and on a reader edited by Alon Lazar.

Though seven decades have passed since the events of World War II, interest in the Holocaust has not faded. The course considers this complex phenomenon from a psychological perspective, focusing on three periods and four groups involved in the events. The three periods are the years prior to the war (1933-1939), the war years (1939-1945), and 1945 to the present time. The groups are the perpetrators, the bystanders, the rescuers and the survivors. For each period, the discussion relates to psychological aspects on the level of the individual, the group, the organization, society and culture, as well as to the different ways the Holocaust is represented and interpreted in different societies.

Objectives: To examine, in general, how social psychology research deals with factors that lead people to harm others; To examine how social psychology research deals with factors and processes which led the different groups to behave as they did during the Holocaust; To examine the continuing impact of the Holocaust on various groups in human society.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.