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The Holocaust - An Introduction (I): Nazi Germany: Ideology, The Jews and the World

Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Remembrance Center and Tel Aviv University via Coursera


The Holocaust was an inconceivable historical event, which forever robbed Western culture of its innocence. As civilized human beings, we fail to understand how events of such horror could have taken place, and how an idea so inhumanly warped could have spread like wildfire through an entire continent, instigating the systematic annihilation of millions of Jews.

This free online course was produced jointly by Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. The course tracks the history of the Holocaust and has two parts. "The Holocaust - An Introduction (I): Nazi Germany: Ideology, The Jews and the World" is the first of the two courses and covers the following themes in its three weeks:

Week 1: From Hatred to Core Ideology
We will try to delve into Nazi ideology and the special place of Jews and Judaism in it. We will also discuss how the National Socialist Party converted the German Democracy of the Weimar Republic into a totalitarian regime within a short period of time, and its meaning for Jews and non-Jewish citizens.

Week 2: The World and the Jews in World War II
We will try to examine the broader contexts of the Holocaust and to place it, as part of World War 2. In this meeting we will also refer to the vital Jewish world to be found under various Nazi occupations and influences.

Week 3: The Isolation Abyss - the Perspective of the Individual
We will try to reveal different aspects of Jewish life in the face of the badge of shame, ghettos and segregation, as well as the formation of individual, societies’ and leader’s reactions in the face of a consistent policy of dispossession and discrimination.

Once you’ve completed this course, you can continue your learning with The Holocaust - An Introduction (II): The Final Solution (

This online course is offered in an innovative, multi-level format, comprising:

* Comprehensive lectures by leading researchers from Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem.
* A wealth of voices and viewpoints presented by guest lecturers.
* Numerous documents, photos, testimonies and works of art from the time of the Holocaust.
* Novel learning experience: Crowd sourcing – involving the learners themselves in the act of collecting and shaping information, via unique, exciting online assignments.

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in the Holocaust, including students, teachers, academics and policy-makers.

Taught by

Professor Havi Dreifuss, PhD

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4.9 rating, based on 7 reviews

Start your review of The Holocaust - An Introduction (I): Nazi Germany: Ideology, The Jews and the World

  • Heather completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I was surprised at how much I didn't know from school history class. I am glad that I took this course.
  • I am deeply interested in the topic because I believe that the Holocaust is humanity's lowest point (and I hope to contribute to efforts in ensuring something at least as worse as this period will never happen again). To this end, seemingly, I have watched all YouTube documentaries I can find and have read Wikipedia articles with at least remote connection to these events. However, this offering stands out for its comprehensive and academically-rigorous historical perspective on the subject - focusing on both discrete facts and underlying themes that preceded & sustained the Holocaust. I am looking forward to take Part II of this course series.
  • Sylvia Amar completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    It is a very complete course about the years before the holocaust. How nazis prepared the final solution, it is very interesting and very well documented.
  • Ashish Yadav completed this course.

  • Niki Nicholson

    Niki Nicholson completed this course.

  • Tori Billings completed this course.

  • EM M completed this course.

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