“Why couldn’t they hope?”
This question, posed by a student reading essays by death-camp survivors in Kitty Millet’s Holocaust and Literature course, has influenced the Jewish Studies professor’s research and teaching in dramatic fashion.“How did these individuals carve out any kind of space for survival in a death camp — knowing there wasn’t going to be a salvation, they weren’t going to be lifted out of there? They were going to be converted into ashes,” Millet says in a new video feature produced by the College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ Communication Team.
She soon realized that her students desired to be a part of the narrative. The conversation inspired Millet’s new book, The Victims of Slavery, Colonization and the Holocaust: A Comparative History of Persecution (A Modern History of Politics and Violence), published in March by Bloomsbury Academic. The book compares and contrasts the Holocaust with the experiences of others who have been colonized or enslaved, providing enriching connections to victims’ experiences.
In her Holocaust and Literature course, Millet emphasizes that not all Holocaust victims were Jewish.
“I wanted [students] to get it from across the spectrum, so the course is multilingual, and it is multinational,” she says.
By assigning students to read first-person stories from Holocaust survivors and victims of other persecutions, Millet hopes her students can restore dignity to those who suffered or died.
“[My students should] walk way and know that they, too, can be dignified as they share and accord dignity to these victims,” Millet says.
Directed by Hannah Anderson