Introduction to the Holocaust

There is something Parkside definitely has, and that is a variety of different classes for students to take. From a class on mythology, to gender and society classes, to a course that focuses on the Holocaust. To be more exact, it is a class that focuses on the art and literature that came as a result of the Holocaust. The course counts as an English, History, or International Studies course. It is the first and only class that teaches the Holocaust at Parkside. Taught by Professor Carole Vopat on Wednesday nights this semester, it is a very challenging and emotional course. As stated right in the syllabus, “…the information presented in this class is difficult to read and difficult to discuss.”

Some of the course objectives (taken straight from the syllabus also) include “to understand the controversies surrounding the representation of the Holocaust in literature and in history; including issues of authenticity, appropriateness, testimony, the problems and limits of language, [and] the effect of trauma upon memory,” and “to understand the impact of the event upon the children of the survivors and upon later generations, and its continuing impact in the 21st century.” Aside from the readings (there are many required novels for the course, as the reading is the heart of the class), students are able to attend a service at a Kenosha synagogue with Professor Vopat sometime in April and May.

There is also going to be a survivor by the name of Aaron Elster coming to Parkside on March 3rd to talk of his experiences that students of the class and other members of the community can attend to listen to him speak. As a student taking the course myself, I can attest to the fact that it is a very emotionally charged class. There are, however, many great reasons to take the course. As Professor Vopat states, “It is important to never forget.” That statement is the very core of the class. It has been sixty-five years since this terrible event occurred, but it is still as important to talk about it today as it was when it was occurring, especially with what has been happening in Darfur and other countries in Africa.

If you find yourself interested in the course and would like to know more, you can contact Professor Vopat at (262) 595-2532 or email her at, which is the best way to get a hold of her.

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