MA Holocaust Communication
Master of Arts in Holocaust Communication and Tolerance
We offer an exclusive curriculum in Europe, adapting the American interdisciplinary approach to Holocaust research and integrating Berlin sites, memorials, and archives.
Our two-year graduate program incorporates a combination of Holocaust studies and Jewish studies. A further advantage of our program is its small class size. We do not accept more than ten to twelve students per class, allowing students' individual interests can be recognized and addressed. Students complete a master's thesis. In addition, select theses may be published.
Students with a Bachelor's degree are also eligible for the American program in Jewish Studies with a concentration in Holocaust Studies. More information on this program can be found on the website of Touro College's Graduate School of Jewish Studies at http://gsjs.touro.edu/.
Since 2009, our M.A. Program in Holocaust Communication and Tolerance at Touro College Berlin has cooperated with the Institut für Judaistik (Institute for Jewish Studies) at the Free University (FU) of Berlin.
Our students can take courses at the FU and have access to the vast holdings of the university's libraries - including the video archive of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation containing more than 52,000 interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Shoah.
Touro College Berlin cooperates with several archives, museums, and various memorials in Germany, Israel, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and in the United States. For our students and faculty, this provides many opportunities for exchange and cooperation. After consulting with their advisors, students may choose to do their six-week internship abroad. They also have the opportunity to study at Touro College New York.
We consider living and studying abroad a highly desirable part of our graduate students' education. This dramatically increases international employment options.
Berlin - Then and Now
One of Europe's liveliest and most liberal cities in the Roaring Twenties, Berlin's history took a dark turn in the subsequent decades. All decisions related to the persecution of European Jewry and the murder of six millions Jews and millions of other victims were made in Berlin, Germany's capital. Between 1933 and 1945, the entire machinery of discrimination, persecution, torture, deportation, and extermination was headquartered in Berlin. From here, Nazi politicians and SS leaders orchestrated book burnings (from May 1933), passed the Nuremberg laws (1935), coordinated the pogrom against the Jewish population (1938), planned the invasion of Poland (1939), and coordinated the "Final Solution" at the infamous Wannsee Conference in January 1942. SS leaders such as Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, and Adolf Eichmann had their offices in and around Berlin, which housed the headquarters of the Gestapo and the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office).
Today, memorials and places of reflection have been built on the ruins of these places. A few miles north of Berlin is the former concentration camp of Sachsenhausen - which also served as administrative headquarters for more than twenty other concentration camps in occupied Europe. Several miles further north of Sachsenhausen was the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women and children, where more than 130,000 prisoners were murdered between 1939 and 1945. Yet Berlin was also a place of courage and resistance.
Liselotte Hermann, a young mother, passed on information about the secret rearmament program of the Nazis to Allied forces. She was subsequently executed in the Plötzensee prison in Berlin-Charlottenburg. The brush manufacturer Otto Weidt hid many Jewish women and men, many of them blind, for long periods, saving them from deportation. In the spring of 1943, many non-Jewish women successfully protested in Berlin against the deportation of their Jewish husbands. And in the center of Berlin, Claus von Stauffenberg, a prominent officer in the German army, plotted the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler. He and his co-conspirators were executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock military building, which today also houses the German Resistance Memorial Center. As part of our unique M.A. Program in Holocaust Communication and Tolerance, students visit these former places of Nazi terror and brave resistance.
Many important libraries and archives, such as the German Federal Archives, are located in Berlin. The estate where the Wannsee Conference took place is open to the public and houses a huge research library. The Topography of Terror Documentation Center, located in the center of Berlin, was built on top the ruins of the former Gestapo and Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office) headquarters. Close to this site and right next to the famous Berlin landmark, the Brandenburg Gate, is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. A little south of this memorial is the Jewish Museum, built by Daniel Libeskind, presenting the long and multifaceted history of Jewish life in Germany and in Europe. Today, the museum also documents the rebirth of Jewish life in Germany after 1945 - thus also serving as a center for Jewish identity and community activities.
History from practitioners of public history discourse
Our program is taught by instructors who practice what they teach: our professors also serve as directors and administrators of memorial sites in Berlin and they participate actively in public discourse about German history.
Gain experience in diversity at the center of German history
Berlin is the most diverse city in Germany, with hundreds of internship opportunities to practice soft skills and intercultural competency. With its fascinating history, Berlin is also the capital of memorial sites, historical archives, and living history in the sense of historical conflicts that continue to play a role in daily life.
History from different perspectives
Holocaust research must be communicated differently to different cultural identities, incorporating cultural studies, in particular Jewish Studies and American Studies. International internships are available all over the world - at the U.N. in New York, for example - to learn about different perspectives on German history.
Courses in German and English
Courses are in German and English, offering the advantage of instruction in the German language, which is essential for the intense study of Holocaust history, while also incorporating English-language academic work that includes American Jewish Studies, an important and necessary discourse in contemporary historical study. Students learn first-hand from American, German, and Israeli lecturers.
Full academic recognition
Touro is one of the few academic institutions in Europe to offer degrees according to the German and American system. A degree of Touro College Berlin will open doors to all career paths in Germany that require a state-recognized degree. But even if your career path takes you to countries outside of Europe, your American degree will be widely recognized.
A survey of graduates of our Master's program showed that 100% of the Touro College Berlin graduates either worked in their respective field of study or were enrolled in a doctoral program that built on the Touro degree.
For our best-qualified graduates, there is the possibility of further study toward a PhD at the Free University of Berlin.
Our MA program is structured in modules. This means that two or three topically similar seminars are linked together. Seminars typically meet for two hours a week. Courses are taught in either German or English. The MA program consists of four basic modules, two intensive modules, two advanced modules, and a six-week internship between semesters. Students may do their internships abroad or at local archives, theaters, community organizations, museums, or radio or TV stations. After the successful completion of all instructional modules, students will write a master's thesis under the supervision of their graduate advisor.
The Four Elements of our Unique MA Program
1. Holocaust studies
This module provides our students with well-rounded knowledge about all aspects of discrimination, persecution, deportation, and selection within ghettos. Students study the purpose and structure of various camps - from labor camps to extermination camps. As our students cover this broad range of topics, they will confront questions about the darker side of human existence and capacities. They will address the issues of trauma facing victims and survivors, and they will discuss and reflect upon the motivations and ethical alternatives of perpetrators, bystanders, and resistance fighters.
2. Holocaust communication
The second emphasis deals with "public history". It deals with the question of how young people today can learn from history. In Germany, today, statements such as "My grandpa was never a Nazi" are still commonly heard.
Also, some younger citizens, often of Turkish or Arab origin, resist dealing with this uncomfortable German past. Some people even deny that the Holocaust happened. As time passes, and as we move further away from the Nazi period, we need to ask ourselves how best to communicate such events that still affect all of us. Consequently, this segment of our graduate education deals with questions such as "What roles can schools, museums, community events, theaters, and public debates play in dealing with the past? What is the function of radio, television, movies, comics, graphic novels, chat rooms, and Internet sites?"
3. Jewish studies
The third emphasis of our graduate program, deals with the rich Jewish history from the Middle Ages till today. Especially the sometimes agonizing or controversial steps of Jewish emancipation, the advent of Zionism, and the manifold expressions of Jewish life after 1945 are explored.
4. Tolerance education
Our program deals with acceptance and mutual respect. It emphasizes different connotations of the concept of tolerance within Jewish thought and history. Our courses also deal with aspects of international law and the 1948 UN conventions on genocide and human rights.
Find the module descriptions here.
Who can enroll in our program?
We encourage students with a BA degree (or equivalent) in fields such as history, philosophy, German, East European studies, sociology, Judaic studies, political science, social psychology, gender studies, theology, journalism, or theater and the arts. We also encourage people to enroll who currently are working and who would like to take up Holocaust studies part time.
Coursework takes place afternoons, making a combination of work and study possible. Regardless of whether you study full-time or part-time, whether one joins Touro College Berlin for one semester or for more,courses are offered from October through January and from April through July. For those beginning their studies as full-time students, it is advisable to start in the fall. But students may enter our program in the spring as well. For students from abroad we offer extra help with German. Students interested in applying to the program should contact our admissions office, by no later than August 31 for the fall semester.
The full-time program is designed to be completed within two years. However, also welcome are part-time students or students for a semester only. Students financing their education through grants, loans or scholarships must provide proof of such at registration. Students without such documents will be expected to pay a deposit towards their tuition, however, any excess will be refunded once the College receives proof of funding. Fees are subject to change.