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Postgraduate studies “The Roots of the 20th Century Totalitarianism: Auschwitz – Holocaust – Genocides”


SWPS University and the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust at the Auschwitz Museum are recruiting for the postgraduate studies “The Roots of the 20th Century Totalitarianism: Auschwitz – Holocaust – Genocides”.

The course is primarily addressed to teachers of history, the Polish language, social studies, religion or ethics, as well as tour guides, educators, museum and memorial site staff who use their knowledge of the history of the Second World War, the Holocaust and genocides as part of their professional work. The study will be conducted in two parts: Polish and English.

- It might seem that we are only discussing history under the programme. But that is not the case. The real purpose is to relate to the present day and show the mechanisms of evil. Here and now. So acutely affecting us all. The study also provides unique instruments for dealing with all these threats - said Adam Szpaderski, PhD, Prof. at SWPS University, the course's content manager.

- Auschwitz can be taught everywhere. One can teach about the Holocaust everywhere. Genocides can be taught everywhere. However, education in this Place has a unique dimension. That which is our mission, the mission of this Place: to teach, to educate about what happened at Auschwitz, what constituted the Holocaust, is one of our most important tasks. Currently, experts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim are joining forces with the SWPS University to offer an exceptional study, an extraordinary journey, and a unique expedition to the core - to the roots of totalitarianism in the XX century - stressed Andrzej Kacorzyk, deputy director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

The course is primarily aimed at providing knowledge on the mechanisms of totalitarianism in the XX century, notably Nazism and the Holocaust, including the role of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz and other genocides, as well as presenting modern methods of working with such a complex topic and sensitising students to human suffering and harm, which stem from indifference to extreme attitudes such as anti-Semitism, racism, persecution and war.

- So many people visit the Memorial today and participate in the educational projects we run. Such an in-depth programme will provide the opportunity to understand better the history of Auschwitz and the Holocaust and link it to the mechanism that led to the genocide – which, unfortunately, is still so relevant today. Extensive education needs time; such studies will give our students the right time to comprehend this history better and become a crucial element in counteracting the mechanisms that lead to genocide - said Adelina Hetnar-Michaldo, Head of Educational Projects at the International Centre for Education and the Holocaust.

The two-semester study programme comprises 200 hours and is divided into four thematic blocks: politics and ideology, the Holocaust - a study of different cultures of remembrance, the Holocaust with particular focus on the role of Auschwitz and other XXth century genocides, and education at memorial sites.

The classes, to be held on Saturdays and Sundays a maximum of twice a month, will be conducted in the form of workshops, seminars and lectures. The course will be run in hybrid form, i.e. some sessions shall take place online, and other classes will be held at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum if the pandemic situation permits.

For more information about the studies, programme, fees and recruitment, visit the SPWS University website.