Monday, December 11, 2017

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A scene from the film "The Pawnbroker," which is screened in this course. A scene from the film "The Pawnbroker," which is screened in this course.
 


Off the Beaten Course: HIST 527

This course explores a historical tragedy through the lens of film.
By SDSU News Team
 

“Apathy to history is a gene we cannot let students ever become accustomed to.”

Course title: Holocaust Through Film
Professor’s name: Yale Strom

1) What inspired you to create this course?

I have studied the Holocaust throughout the years and have done a lot of ethnographic field research in Eastern Europe, specifically among survivors. I am a filmmaker, so this course is a perfect fit for these two strengths I bring to the subject matter.

2) What can students expect to learn from this course?

We will watch some films that were made in Hollywood or Europe that had a major release, but we will also watch excellent films that fell under the press radar that depict the Holocaust through unique stories.

3) What makes this course different from similar courses?

What make this course very different from others is I am an active filmmaker currently working on my ninth documentary film. I have also been to all of the countries where each of these films takes place so I have an intimate knowledge of the local people and culture.

4) Is there one day in the syllabus that you most look forward to? If yes, why?

I look forward to the day we screen "The Pawnbroker," because it deals with post-Holocaust period of time. Many students know very little about this period. Their education has focused on only the pre-Holocaust and the war itself, but not how the survivors coped after the war was over.

5) What’s your favorite thing about teaching this course?

I love to see and hear the reactions from the students about these films, and have them engage in heavy discussions.

6) Any other thoughts?

The Holocaust is a powerful subject that unfortunately still resonates today because of all the strife we currently have in the world, including several genocides that have taken place after WWII.

Students need to learn history so they can help eliminate the seeds that all too often grow again —if not, we as a global society will repeat the same terrible mistakes once again. Apathy to history is a gene we cannot let students ever become accustomed to.