Dr. Madigan Fichter was the recipient of a $4,000 grant from the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University. The grant will be used to take her special topics history class and the honors program to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, as well as potentially bringing a Holocaust scholar to campus.
Fichter, an Assistant Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, as part of our bachelor's in History degree, will teach HIST 399B Special Topics: World War II this fall. She characterizes the war as a defining moment in not only United States history, but globally as well—an important event that made her want to teach a course specifically tailored to its haunting results.
“I find World War II interesting and important because it is probably the defining moment of the 20th century,” Fichter said. “Pretty much the entire second half of the 20th century is lived in the shadow of the war and its consequences. For example, I work on the Cold War period in the Balkans, and you really cannot understand how these later events play out without accounting for how the people there experienced World War II and its immediate aftermath.”
The Holocaust Memorial Museum, located in Washington DC, is the leader in Holocaust remembrance and exhibitions. The Museum features numerous displays, research and collected works, survivor and victim data, genocide prevention information, and academic resources.
“I felt it was important to visit the Museum with the class because I want us to have a more visceral understanding of what the Holocaust was than what you can get from the pages of a book,” she said. “I worry that when you're talking about something like genocide, the sheer scale of victims almost makes it difficult to think of in human terms—it easily becomes a kind of abstract number. While our class will be full of discussions about battles, politics, and diplomacy, I think it's important that the Holocaust Memorial Museum will give us the space to remember and not just to learn on an academic level.”
The Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University is dedicated to the support of teaching and research about the Holocaust at institutions of higher education throughout the world. For more information about the Foundation and its work, please visit hef.northwestern.edu.