Politics of happiness
1. You are conducting a 20-member discussion section of a class you teach, one of those students is the grandson of an Auschwitz Concentration Camp survivor, the second student is the granddaughter of a former German SS officer.
2. Each student indicates a strong love for her/his grandparent, each student says her/his grandparent is a moral and good person, and each student says that her/his grandparent (to the extent that they know) lived a good life after WWII.
3. Your in-lecture presentation of material is similar to what I have done in our lectures.
4. How would you conduct the section group’s discussion as (1) the Holocaust survivor’s grandson feels you should do more to emphasize the horrors of the Holocaust, and (2) the SS officer’s granddaughter feels you have not done enough to stress the economic pluses Hitler brought to a Germany in depression before the Nazis’ negatives overwhelmed the positives? [Thus, she argues your presentation of the German people during the Nazi period was not “balanced,” but exclusively biased toward the negative.]
5. Your task. Explain how you would approach this situation, what would you say to each of these two students whose grandparents experienced Nazi Germany, the Second World War, and the Holocaust in very different ways, and who have very strong feelings about their grandparents. Also, what would you say to the remaining 18 members of the discussion section as to how to approach these issues of Germany, its problems, Nazism and its legacy, World War II, and the Holocaust? Your emphases? [Empathy? For whom? For what?] Draw on our course material as you develop your approach and your discussion.
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