MSU offers new course covering the Holocaust

In spring semester, Minnesota State students will have the opportunity to take a one-credit course offered by the History Department called “The Holocaust” (HIST 490) that covers the events of the Holocaust and end with a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

Director of Social Studies Education, Kyle Ward created this course after an opportunity with the Jewish Community Relations Council arose.

“World War Two and the Holocaust were topics of interest to the students. They didn’t know a ton about it, but they just have a definite interest in it. So having this trip and to have the opportunity to take our students to Washington DC to see the museum is a great opportunity,” said Ward.

According to Professor Kristin Thompson, who will be teaching this course next semester, the goal of this course is to engage students in historical inquiry and experiential learning to examine the ethics of their chosen profession or field of study, as well as their roles as active and engaged citizens in a democracy. 

“A lot of Holocaust education is just about trying to get people to have an emotional response, and that’s not really what we’re looking for,” Thompson said. “it’s really to understand the historical facts and for students to examine their own lives, perspective, and choices that they make and seeing how this history is relevant.”

Navigating a topic such as the Holocaust can be difficult as it can be hard to separate the emotional aspects from the history.

“You don’t have to show, you know, a pile of corpses. You can show some of the warehouses of the camps that had eyeglasses, shoes, and wedding rings to get across that same impact about the sheer number of people because the numbers are hard to comprehend,” Thompson explained.

The power of Nazi propaganda, the challenges of escape, and the aftermath of World War II are just a few of the topics and points of discussion for this course. 

This course is open to all MSU students and will take place Wednesday from 6:00-6:50 p.m. during the spring semester online, synchronously. The class will end with a one-day trip on March 28, 2023 to the USHMM, sponsored by the JCRC, which charters the plane to Washington D.C. The cost of airfare and bussing is $435.

This course is open for registration in e-services.
Interested students can contact Ward at for additional information.

Write to Andrea Schoenecker at

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