Psychology 383



Instructor: Neil Lutsky (Olin 205e, x4379)

Meetings: T-Th 8:30-10:15, Sayles-Hill 252


Organization and Requirements:


 The seminar will examine the Holocaust and its relationship to the broad field of psychology.  What roles did social scientific thinking, psychology, and psychologists play in the Holocaust?  What does psychology contribute to our understanding of the Holocaust, of the behaviors and experiences of victims and perpetrators of evil?  How has psychology tried to make sense of the Holocaust, and how has psychology been influenced by the Holocaust?  What are our obligations as citizens of the world in which the Holocaust and other acts of genocide have occurred?


 This seminar is a group and interdisciplinary effort.  I expect that each of us will take responsibility for the conduct of each class meeting.  Please read carefully, consider topics and readings seriously before class, identify and develop questions for class discussion, and participate in class discussion actively, thoughtfully, and critically.  Each seminar participant will be especially responsible for shepherding one class discussion during the term, and he or she will be expected to do some additional reading on the topic of the day.  Please meet with the instructor prior to the class to discuss your session.  Everyone in the class will also be expected to read parts of one of the works listed for January 31 on “Clinical and Other Studies of Perpetrators.”   Finally, the course will require a major paper on a topic related to Psychology and the Holocaust.  This paper will be due Monday, March 7, at 11:30AM.  We will discuss these papers during the week of March 7.  Your final grade will be based on the quality of your class contributions, your discussion leadership, and your final paper.


 Please remember that I would value talking with you about course-related issues outside of class time and invite you to stop by my office to do so.


Required Books:


                                   Browning, C.  (1992).  Ordinary Men.   Harper Collins.

                                   Levi, P.  (1958).  Survival in Auschwitz.  Collier.

                                   Lifton, R.  (1986).  The Nazi Doctors.  Basic Books.

                                   Marrus, M.  (1987).  The Holocaust in History.  Meridian.

                                   Proctor, R.  (1988).  Racial Hygiene.  Harvard.

                                   Spiegelman, A.  (1991).  Maus II.  Pantheon.            

                                   Staub, E.  (1989).  The Roots of Evil.  Cambridge.



Course Topic and Reading Schedule:


Th    1/5    Introduction to the seminar.


T      1/10 Background.


                       Marrus, M. R.  (1987).  The Holocaust in History, pp. 1-202.

                       Spiegelman, A.  (1991).  Maus II.                             


Th    1/12 Science, psycholology, and racial hygiene.


                       Proctor, R. N.  (1988).  Racial Hygiene:  Medicine Under the Nazis, pp. 1-176.


T      1/17 Science, psychology, and racial hygiene.


                       Proctor, R. N.  (1988).  Racial Hygiene:  Medicine Under the Nazis, pp. 177-250.

                       Kuhl, S.  (1994).  The Nazi Connection:  Eugenics, American Racism, and

                             German National Socialism, pp. 13-52.


Th    1/19 Psychiatry and medicine in Nazi Germany.


                       Wertham, F.  (1966).  A Sign for Cain, pp. 150-186.

                       Lifton, R.  (1986).  The Nazi Doctors, pp. 3-18, 45-144, 152-225, 418-465.


T      1/24 Psychology in Nazi Germany.


                       Geuter, U.  (1992).  The Professionalization of Psychology in Nazi Germany,

                             pp. 1-20, 39-82.

                       Cocks, G.  (1985).  Psychotherapy in the Third Reich, pp. 3-30, 87-135.


Th    1/26  Class session with Anna Rosmus, Convocation speaker.


Fr    1/27 Anna Rosmus convocation, 10:50.


T      1/31  Clinical and other studies of perpetrators.


                       Langer, W. C.  (1972).  The Mind of Adolf Hitler.

                       Waite, R. G.  (1977).  The Psychopathic God Adolf Hitler.

                       Breitman, R.  (1991).  The Architect of Genocide:  Himmler and the Final Solution.

                       Arendt. H.  (1963).  Eichmann in Jerusalem.

                       Gilbert, G. M.  (1950).  The Psychology of Dictatorship.

                       Kelley, D. M.  (1947).  22 Cells in Nuremberg.

                       Dicks, H.  (1972).  Licensed Mass Murder:  A Socio-Psychological Study of

                             Some SS Killers.



Th    2/2  Psychologies of the Holocaust I.:  The Authoritarian Personality.


                       Adorno, T. W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D. J., & Sanford, R. N.  (1950).                                                      The Authoritarian Personality, pp. 1-27.

                       Brown, R.  (1965).  The Authoritarian Personality and the Organization of

                             Attitudes, pp. 477-526.

                       Samelson, F.  (1993).  The Authoritarian Character from Berlin to Berkeley and                                                      Beyond,  pp. 22-43.


T      2/7  Psychologies of the Holocaust II.:  Obedience to Authority.


                       Milgram, S.  (1965).  Some Conditions of Obedience and Disobedience to Authority,                                                   pp. 57-75.  

                       Milgram, S.  (1974).  Obedience to Authority, pp. 1-12.

                       Miller, A.  (1986).  Genocide from the perspective of the obedience experiments,

                             pp. 179-220.


Th    2/9  Psychologies of the Holocaust II.:  Obedience to Authority.


                       Browning, C.  (1992).  Ordinary Men, pp. 1-189.


T      2/14  Psychologies of the Holocaust III.:  The Roots of Evil.


                       Staub, E.  (1989).  The Roots of Evil, pp. 3-169.


Th    2/16  Altruism in the Holocaust.


                       Gushee, D. P.  (1993).  Many Paths to Righteousness:  An Assessment of Research on                                                 Why Righteous Gentiles Helped Jews, pp. 372-401.

                       Oliner, S. P., & Oliner, P. M.  (1988).  The Altruistic Personality:  Rescuers of                                                  Jews in Nazi Europe, pp. 49-79, 113-141.


T      2/21 Resistance in the Holocaust.


                       Sachs, H.  (1990).  Der Ordinare, pp. 47-77.

                       Leber, A.  (1994).  Conscience in Revolt, Kurt Huber, pp. 42-45.

                       Ruhm Von Oppen, B.  (1980).  The Intellectual Resistance, pp. 207-218.

                       Kwiet, K.  (1991).  Resistance and Opposition:  The Example of the German Jews,

                             pp. 65-74.


Th    2/23 Victims.


                       Levi, P.  (1958).  Survival in Auschwitz.

                       Lewin, A.  (1988).  A Cup of Tears:  A Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto, excerpts.


T      2/28  Legacies.


                       Kren, G. M.  (1989).  The Holocaust Survivor and Psychoanalysis, pp. 3-21.

                       Steinberg, A.  (1989).  Holocaust Survivors and their Children, pp. 23-48.

                       Ryback, T. W.  (1993).  Evidence of Evil,  pp. 68-81.

                       Lipstadt, D.  (1993).  Denying the Holocaust, pp. xi-29.


Th    3/2,  T  3/7,  Th  3/9  Paper Discussions.