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The major writing/research assignment for this course is the Holocaust Book/Movie review.

The major writing/research assignment for this course is the Holocaust Book/Movie review.  You are required to select a book, play or a movie (the terms are interchangeable) that centers on a person, place or event that occurred during the Holocaust.  

For the purpose of the study we will expand on Saul Friedlaender’s classic work  Nazi Germany and the Jews .  Friedlaender divides the Holocaust into two distinct eras – The Years of Persecution, 1933 – 1939 and the Years of Extermination, 1939 – 1945.  We will add a third – The Aftermath, 1945 – Present.   Your selection must belong in one of those eras. 

There is a very short list of banned works for this project – yes, I banned the most common films and books.  The intent is for you to think ‘outside the box’ and research into an area you are not familiar with.  I have also included a brief listing of recommended films.  You may select one of these films but they are intended to give you a starting point.  Many resistance units in Holland, France and Poland, for example, were led by Jewish groups, those films are acceptable.  In the post Holocaust era you can examine films that depict the man hunt for Nazi war criminals, the return of stolen property, or the State of Israel.      

There are two parts to the assignment.  Part 1, worth 50 points is the actual review itself.  Part 2, worth 25 points is your report to the class.  You are required to make a 7-10 minute presentation on your selection – why you chose it, how historically accurate the work is and what you learned from it.    

In reviewing a film from the viewpoint of history, rather than entertainment, here are the sort of questions you should aim to answer.

1. What seems to be accurate in the film? What sources are you using to assess accuracy?

2. In what ways does the film impact your reading of any of the documents you have read.

3. What liberties does the film take with the past? Why?

4. Is the film primarily entertainment, or is it really trying to work within a historical period? How can you determine the film maker’s intention? 

5. What, if any, modern point is the film trying make? 

In writing your review, keep in mind that you are not writing a report. Do not merely state what the movie is about. A review is your opinion of whether the movie is good or bad based on the following criteria: bias, movie design, educational value, and historical accuracy. These issues are all discussed in greater depth on the backside of this page. 

In talking about your view of this movie, it is critical to keep in mind that entertainment value is important, but not the key criteria. While a boring movie might not keep your attention, a movie rife with false details does not teach you true history. Another point to think about is whether the movie makes you want to learn more about that particular subject. In determining a movie as “bad” or “good” take all factors into consideration. 

Your paper should be 1.5-2 pages in length to provide adequate detail.




Maximum Points


Partial Points


Partial Points


Zero points


Topic is approved in advance and meets the assignment criteria.  Project is handed in by the due date


5 points.  Paper is handed in on or before the due date


0 points.  Paper is not turned in on time,



-25% – paper handed in after due date; 0 points awarded after class due date.


Grammar & Syntax  Paper


5 points.  Paper is free of errors and contains a heading


1-3 points.  Paper contains 1 to 3 syntax errors.  Paper does not contain a heading.


1-2 points.  Paper contains four syntax errors, but is still readable.


0 – Paper cannot be opened or the paper contains 5 or more syntax errors.


Synopsis of Movie


5 points.  Paper contains a concise synopsis of the contents of the movie


1 – 4 points.  Instructor subjective evaluation of the synopsis.



0 – Paragraph on the synopsis is missing.


Critical Assessment



Diversity of opinion


5 points.  How focused is the site from the standpoint of opinion?  Is it one sided, slanted or does it present an “agenda”.  Is the agenda in reference to modern day issues. Does the movie contain different view points?


1-5 points, Instructor subjective evaluation.



0 – data is omitted.


Critical Assessment



Movie design



5 points.  How is the movie, visually speaking. Are the costumes good? What about the set location? Are the props accurate?


1-5 points, Instructor subjective evaluation.



0 – data is omitted.


Critical Assessment



Educational Value


5 points.  Why does the movie have educational value?  Should it be used in this class?


1-5 points, Instructor subjective evaluation.



0 – data is omitted.


Critical Assessment



Historical Accuracy


20 points. Historical accuracy-Is this movie historically accurate?  Prove historical accuracy using three sources. One may be your textbook. ONLY ONE may be either an internet site OR an encyclopedia. The other source MUST BE a book which is not an encyclopedia. Provide examples as to what details you checked.


1-19 points.  Instructor subjective evaluation.


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