Course overview

We will study the mutating virus of anti-semitism, through an exploration of the ancient template shaped by Christianity and examine key explosions of anti-Jewish violence and prejudice which Hitler was able to exploit, tragically culminating in the Final Solution. Through discussion and debate we will also spend time as a group examining contemporary Holocaust denial, distortion and conspiracy theories. Finally we will look at the current antisemitism accusations within the Labour party and its impact across the political landscape.

Course description

The course will explore the origins, development and implementation of antisemitism from the birth of Christianity to the Final Solution. The negative depiction of the Jews built into European culture and the transmission and dissemination of hateful stereotypes of " the Jew" across the centuries will be examined using examples drawn from the frequent explosion of anti-Jewish violence to help understand why Jews in Europe were persecuted. The catalysts of 19th Century antisemitism that Hitler was able to exploit will be studied leading to the emergence of Nazi ideology, the creation of the racial state and genocide against the Jews. Finally, more recent examples of Holocaust denial, distortion, conspiracy theories and antisemitism in the Labour party in Britain will be considered in the light of current political developments.

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