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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2005

AMS 370 • Holocaust on the Stage-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
28117 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
GAR 109

Course Description

The Holocaust, more than any other event in recent history, has caused individuals and nations to rethink central questions of human existence, responsibility, morality, memory, and the function of art. This course will explore how playwrights and directors in Germany, Israel, and the United States have represented the Holocaust in drama and on the stage over the last fifty years. This historical and comparative approach highlights the different roles that the Holocaust has played over time and in the consciousness of these nations: it will help us understand the role the destruction of European Jewry has played in Israel, a country that came into existence in the shadow of this traumatic event, how Germany, as the nation of perpetrators and their heirs, has dealt with its past, and how Americans and American Jews have responded to these events. Plays that treat the Holocaust, in particular questions of responsibility and complicity, often touch raw nerves with audiences, and several productions have led to intense public debate. Hochhuths 1963 drama The Deputy, for example, caused international furor because it accused the pope of complicity with the Nazi regime. Taboris The Cannibals, which enacts a cannibalistic act in the memory of survivors of a concentration camp, made critics ask if such themes should be presented on stage and Sobols controversial Ghetto explores the painful issue of interaction between Jews and Nazis in the Vilna Ghetto. As the understanding of the Holocaust and the memory of the event evolve, taboos get broken and sacred images destroyed by each new generation of playwrights. What do these plays and their reception tell us about German, Israeli, and American society? What continuities and discontinuities in regards to discourse, representation, images, and stereotypes can we find in these plays? How has this discourse changed in the course of some fifty years since the Holocaust? And what accounts for these dis/continuities?


Skloot, Robert, ed. The Theatre of the Holocaust Vol. 2 Taub, Michael, ed. Israeli Holocaust Drama Goodrich/Hackett. The Diary of Anne Frank Hochhuth. The Deputy Course Reader


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