Darkness and Hope: Studying The Holocaust at VAMPY

Throughout the course of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, students taking this course are exposed to the dark history of the rise of Hitler and the stark consequences of the Nazi regime. Through class lecture, flim, and intense discussion, students confront the difficulties and horrors presented to us in the modern day by the shadows of World War II and the Holocaust. The class also addresses hate in its modern setting. Studying the lurking shadows of the past as well as the haunting shadows of hate in the present is necessary and proper for good citizens and human beings to properly stand up for what is right and just against what is wrong and unjust. The goal of this class is to ultimately produce good students, engaged citizens, and virtuous human beings to be our shinning beacons of the future as the next bearers of the tides of history.
This class attempts to impart this also through an inquiry into the history of othering and how the tools of the Nazi Regime were older, and far more familiar, than we’d care to admit. The next step is a step by step analysis of modern political thought to explore the orgins of the Nazi Ideology and the implications for humanity of the Holocaust for us in the modern context. These lessons pair well with the mock trial of Hitler where we quickly learn that prosecuting Hitler isn’t so easy. This year, Hitler–a member of the Defense team takes on the role–was found guilty of Crimes Against Peace, and not guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. Sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with no hard labor and a chance of parole. Let this serve as a stark warning that evil isn’t easily defeated. But as Ghandi pointed out: evil always loses eventually, and that it takes the strength and will of good people to fight against it. All in all, this class hopes to teach nothing else than: never again. Let this class and its students be the bearers of this message well into the future. But not only that, let them be inspired by the acts of hope, righteous defiance, and the kindness shown even in the darkest of times studied in this course that life is ultimately always worth defending.