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Representations of the Holocaust

Module Code: FR252
Module Name: Representations of the Holocaust
Module Coordinator: Dr David Lees
Term 2 Thursdays 10.00-12.00 in S0.09
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

  • During the Second World War millions of people, very many of them Jews, were systematically murdered.
  • This massive and programmatic genocide, sometimes referred to as the Holocaust, continues to haunt today on a personal and a political level.
  • How could the Europe of the Enlightenment produce such a horror? More particularly, how could those who either witnessed the events first-hand, or lived with their consequences, recount their experiences? Would any account run the risk of normalising the events, by introducing narrative construction and even aesthetic pleasure?
  • In this module, we read French-language accounts, both first-hand and imaginative, of events connected to the Holocaust, including some occurring in France, and in particular Occupied Paris. The writers studied reflect the problems of memory and representation in a range of remarkable texts which span more than fifty years and use techniques of both testimony and fiction to convey some of the realities and continuing effects of the Holocaust.
  • For 2016-17, we will also consider how the Holocaust has been represented in a range of film material, including adaptations of two of the primary texts and an original fiction film, Rose Bosch's La Rafle.

Primary texts for 2017-18

Where possible, students are recommended to purchase the texts in French. There is no need to purchase a copy of La Rafle, which will be made available online and through a screening.

  • Patrick Modiano, Dora Bruder (1999), Folio edition. (Weeks 2-3)
  • Philippe Grimbert, Un Secret (2004), Livre de Poche edition. (Weeks 4-5)
  • Rose Bosch, La Rafle [film] (2010) [not required for purchase] (Week 7)
  • Helene Berr, Journal (2009) (Weeks 8 and 9)
  • Elie Wiesel, La Nuit (1958), Minuit poche edition. (Week 10)

In addition to the above, which form the main focus of the module, we will also examine the following in the lectures and seminars in week 5: Claude Miller, Un Secret [film] (2007) [not required for purchase]. The film is availabe on the Moodle page along with La Rafle.

Please see the further reading tab for detailed reading, including additional recommended reading, for each week.

Assessment Method:

50% - Assessed work (one essay of between 2,000 and 2,500 words in length
50% - Formal examination



1 x 4000-4500 word essay

David Lees

Dr David Lees

Further Reading



The exam paper code for this module is FR2LBX