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Central Europe and Armenia – HGS Study Tour

Maymester – On Campus: May 26-27; Travel: May 29-June 18


HIS 316/HGS 370 Holocaust in Central Europe
(1 unit, Liberal Learning credit available in Social and Historical Perspectives and Global, also may be applied to the Holocaust and Genocide Studies minor)

Mark your calendars for Maymester in Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Armenia!

Program Directors: Dr. Cynthia Paces, Professor of History, and Dr. Morton Winston, Professor of Philosophy

No Pre-Requisites, Language Requirements, or GPA Restrictions – Open to all students (including current first-year students)

Apply Here!

Here is a video from the 2011 study tour!

Every two years the Holocaust and Genocide Studies program leads a Maymester study abroad program to bring students into contact with important sites related to topics taught in the HGS program on campus.  The last two tours have focused on Holocaust topics in Central Europe, featuring important sites in Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland.  This year’s program has been designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of Ethnic Cleansing in Europe during the twentieth century. While the primary focus of the course is the European Genocide of Jews during World War II, the course will also investigate the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire and the Expulsions of Germans from Czechoslovakia and Poland after World War II.  In this three-week Maymester course, students will meet for two days during the first week on the TCNJ campus in order to gain background on Holocaust history and theory. Our class will then travel to Armenia, Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland, where we will visit historical sites related to the genocides and related commemorations. We will meet with historians, politicians, and others to discuss the political and social repercussions of the devastating episode in Europe. At the end of this program, students will be better able to:

  • Appreciate major movements in European political, cultural, and intellectual history related to the Holocaust and other genocides, including nationalism, socialism, anti-Semitism, and totalitarianism
  • Place the Holocaust into the context of the history of Germany and East Central Europe
  • Identify the place of the Final Solution within the National Socialist program of persecution of various opponents (including Jews, socialists and communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and developmentally disabled individuals)
  • Articulate Holocaust Memory’s place in post-World War II history and culture
  • Compare the Genocide of European Jewry to other instances of Ethnic Cleansing in the 20th century, particularly the Armenian Genocide and the Expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia and Poland

Course assignments include pre-departure readings, a short pre-trip essay, a daily journal while traveling, and a final project – a photo essay that, when collected and curated by Prof. Paces, will serve as a component of a post-program exhibition in the Social Sciences building in Fall 2015. Please note: TCNJ has a Holocaust and Genocide Studies minor – a five-course sequence of courses related not only to the Holocaust in Central Europe, but also to other examples of systematic extermination of peoples in other parts of the world.  A slate of courses offered in Spring 2015 will be available shortly.


Meeting 1: Date TBA, during spring semester

  • Meeting with professor and students
  • Go over syllabus, class expectations, packing suggestions, travel information, etc.

Meeting 2: Tue. May 26, 9:30 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 3:00

  • BEFORE PRE-DEPARTURE MEETINGS: Read: Berenbaum and Peck, Part I readings (CANVAS). Norman Naimark, Fires of Hatred. Ethnic Cleansing in 20th-Century Europe View: Aftermath and Schindler’s List (information on where/how to watch to follow) Morning: Lecture on Genocide in 20th Century Europe Discussion of class rules, expectations Afternoon: Discussion: Why won’t this past go away? Where should we be going in our studies of the Holocaust, Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing? Questions to consider: How do contemporary films reflect the centrality of holocaust memory, even 70 years after the end of WWII?

Meeting 3: Wed. May 27, 9:30 to 12:30

  • Discussion: Norman Naimark, Fires of Hatred Discussion Questions: Would you say that genocide was “characteristic” of the 20th century in Europe? Why? What did the ethnic cleansings Naimark discusses have in common? How did they differ? How do we distinguish between genocide, ethnic cleansing, “Holocaust/Shoah”? Is it important to do so? Presentations by small groups: Main features of the ethnic cleansings. Main debates, issues of memory today. 1. Armenia 2. Holocaust 3. Expulsion of Germans 4. Yugoslavia Afternoon: Film, Voices of the Children

Thu. May 28: Pack! Fri. May 29 • Flight to Yerevan, Armenia (details to follow) Sat. May 30 (Yerevan)

  • Arrival at Yerevan airport
  • Orientation meeting
  • Check-in hotel and rest
  • Welcome dinner at Armenian Restaurant

Sun. May 31: (Yerevan)

Mon. June 1: (Yerevan)

  • Morning: Sightseeing in Yerevan, walking tour to include Republic Square, Food Market, Handicraft Market, historical sites of interest
  • Afternoon: Class meeting/Special program to be determined

Tue. June 2 (Yerevan)

Wed. June 3: (Yerevan-Berlin)

  • Flight from Yerevan; Arrival at Berlin Airport
  • Transportation by private bus from the airport your hotel
  • 4 nights in twin rooms with private bathrooms incl. breakfast at a youth hotel in Berlin
  • Public transportation pass for the duration of the entire stay in Berlin
  • Welcome orientation
  • Afternoon orientation walk with your faculty leaders. Visit Topography of Terror, Unter den Linden
  • Return to hotel to rest, unpack
  • Special Welcome Dinner at Hasir Turkish restaurant near Hackescher Markt

Thu. June 4:

Fri. June 5: (Berlin)

  • Guided tour of the Reichstag/Meeting with Bundestag representative
  • The rest of the day is free to explore Berlin on your own, e.g. visit Gedenkstätte an der Normannenstrasse, the Stasi torture center at Hohenschönhausen, Prenzlauer Berg, The New Synagogue, German history museum

Sat. June 6 (Berlin)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Excursion to Ravensbruck
  • Class Meeting/Activity at Ravensbruck/Discussion of Young reading, Jacobs, and Stokes
  • Free late afternoon/evening in Berlin

Sun. June 7: (Berlin-Prague)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Train from Berlin to Prague
  • Afternoon orientation of Prague w/Petr Zidek
  • Walking tour of Wenceslas Square w/Prof. Paces
  • Free evening

Mon. June 8: (Prague)

Tues.June 9: (Prague)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by private bus during the day
  • Guided walking tour of Terezín in the morning w/ Petr Zidek
  • Guided tour at the Terezín Memorial (Nazi concentration camp) w/ Petr Zidek in the afternoon
  • Free late afternoon/evening
  • Theater excursion: Opera “Don Giovanni” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Estates Theater (Mozart’s most famous opera debuted in Prague in 1787 in this theater!)

Wed. June 10: (Prague – Krakow)

  • Morning Excursion to Lidice Memorial (Petr Zidek)
  • Afternoon class session Readings: Anna Hajkova, “Sexual Violence at Terezin,” Eagle Glassheim, “Wild Expulsions,” short story, Jachym Topol or Ivan Klima
  • Evening free to explore Prague on your own

Thurs. June 11: (Prague-Krakow)

Fri. June 12: (Krakow)

  • Breakfast at the hotel or restaurant
  • Orientation with Polish Guide (CEPA representative)
  • Class Meeting. Readings: Young, Poland section
  • Guided walking tour of the Old Jewish district – Kazimierz – in the afternoon
  • Evening dinner with Music in Jewish Quarter

Sat. June 13 (Krakow- Auschwitz)

  • Transfer by private bus to Auschwitz and return
  • Educational program at the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau during the day

Sun. June 14 (Krakow)

  • Optional visit to Polish church service
  • Afternoon to explore Krakow on own (Suggestions: Cloth Market, Rynek Glowny, Wawel Castle (optional tour can be prearranged)

Mon. June 15: (Krakow-Warsaw)

  • Schindler Museum in morning
  • Class Meeting in Afternoon: Discussion of Levi and Excerpt from “Why should we study the Holocaust?” (various Polish authors)
  • Evening Train Krakow – Warsaw

Tues. June 16: (Warsaw)

Wed. June 17 (Treblinka – Warsaw)

  • Morning excursion to Treblinka memorial
  • Class Meeting/wrap-up
  • Farewell dinner at a Polish restaurant in Warsaw

Thurs. June 18: (Warsaw to home)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by private bus to the airport in Warsaw
  • Departure from Warsaw Airport to the USA

Maymester 2015 Program Fee$4,835.16

  • Includes: Application fee, Tuition/Fees (for both in-state and out-of-state students), land travel – accommodations, train/bus transportation, entrance fees, all breakfasts, welcome and farewell dinners, insurance
  • Does Not Include: Airfare, most lunches and dinners, personal expenses, trip cancellation insurance

Payment Schedule (Cash or Check Payable to TCNJ – pending Treasurer’s approval):  All payments should be brought to the Student Accounts office, Green Hall 119. Plan A:

  • $150 application fee (submitted with application)
  • $500 confirmation fee (submitted upon acceptance)
  • $2,521.00 (balance of travel costs) due on March 19, 2015
  • $1,664.16 (course tuition/fees) due on May 15, 2015

Plan B:

  • $150 application fee (submitted with application)
  • $500 confirmation fee (submitted upon acceptance)
  • Create a Sallie Mae payment plan (arranged by the student in the Student Accounts office) for the balance of travel costs + tuition/fees =
    • $1,395.05 due in March
    • $1,395.05 due in April
    • $1,395.06 due in May
    • Payment in full by May 15, 2015

Refund, Cancellation, and Withdrawal Policy – Please review our policy statement should a student not be able to participate in the program. Questions?  Please contact the TCNJ Center for Global Engagement at, 609-771-2596.