The Extermination of Polish Jews with Prof. Jan Grabowski

*Mandatory Course

*Online Course

In 1939, there were 3.3 million Jews in Poland or about 10% of the total population of the Polish Republic. Polish Jews formed the largest Jewish community in Europe. In 1945, six years later, no more than 50,000 Jews remained alive in Poland. Almost 98.5% of Polish Jewry (excluding the 300.000 who fled the Germans and survived in the Soviet Union) have perished in the Holocaust. A nation rich in history, with its own traditions and language ceased to exist. On September 1st, 1939, the German forces invaded Poland and – before the end of the month– completed the conquest of the country. The course will focus on the initial German policies directed against the Jews and, at the same time, it shall follow the reactions of the Jewish community in the face of new existential threats. The lectures will shed light on the creation of the ghettos, on the strategy of the Jewish leadership and the plight of the Jewish masses.The course will explore the growing German terror and the implementation of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”- as Germans referred to the policies of mass extermination. The students will become familiar with the planning and the execution of the so-called “Aktion Reinhard”, as well as with the survival strategies pursued later by the Jews who avoided the 1942-43 deportations to the extermination camps. While learning about German perpetrators and Jewish victims, the students will also explore the attitudes of Polish society and the Polish Catholic Church to the persecuted Jews. Although the course is geographically centered on Poland, it will place the discussed events in a broader, European, context. Course Syllabus

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