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Methodology and course structure


The specific poems chosen for this course deal with specific subjects and not with the chronological unfolding of the Second World War and the Holocaust.

The central idea is to attempt to penetrate through the poems some of the difficulties the Jews encountered from eviction, displacement, life in ghettos and transports to the vast concentration camp complex including the infamous death camps. For the survivors, life after liberation created challenges of a new kind that will also be touched upon.


Course structure

Week 1 – Introduction to the Holocaust and Poetry – The course begins with a few short videos which highlight main historical aspects of the Holocaust and progresses to a mosaic of opinions about the essence and value of poetry. The first poems introduced now will deal with trauma in general before we get to poetry dealing directly and in greater depth with the Holocaust in the 2nd and 3rd lessons.

Week 2 – Three Young Poets – The second week will present three young poets writing from within ghettos and Nazi camps and for one of them, the difficulties of liberation and its aftermath. This last one, Itamar Yaos-Kest, is alive at this time but two of them sadly ‘remained young’ because they were murdered by the Nazis in their camps system.

Week 3 – Poems with Theological and Philosophical Ramifications on the Holocaust – This final week will transfer focus to poems that present theological and philosophical aspects of the Holocaust.


We reiterate that background historical information is provided in the course and prior knowledge in depth on poetry in general or on the Holocaust, is not a prerequisite for the course.


Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…

  • Reflect on specific poems from a wide variety of poets on different aspects of the Holocaust
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the world of poetry through the thoughts of famous literary luminaries
  • Explore a literary path that grapples with human behavior in our world
  • Develop historical knowledge of the Holocaust
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Poetry and the Holocaust

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