painting of auschwitz prisoners huddled together

Witnessing Auschwitz: The Psychology of Genocide

Applications are now closed.

About the program

Auschwitz was a place in which several frequently conflicting agendas of the Nazi Germany intersected: it was an industrial compound, a concentration camp, a medical research site, and an extermination facility; it served to imprison, terrorize, enslave, and kill. Moreover, Auschwitz is a site of conflicted memories that raises the question how, and if at all, it can be remembered and commemorated in ways that resist both sentimentalization and the recourse to conventional literary or cinematographic imagery.  In fact, one of the most pressing issues of the Holocaust studies is the question: how to educate about Nazi crimes when there are no more survivors to share their stories.

This program takes a multi-disciplinary approach and will give you the chance to take part in lectures, seminars and workshops in Poland, where you will have direct access to historical archives, museums, and leading experts in all relevant disciplines related to the Holocaust studies.You will conduct independent studies at sites of mass extermination, as well as research issues related to the Holocaust in the context of social responsibilities of researchers and professionals.

This is the fourth time this program has run, and for 2017, it will run in partnership with UBC's Department of Psychology to offer Witnessing Auschwitz: The Psychology of Genocide (PSYC 417A). This is the first year that the Psychology program will run, and psychology students that are interested in participating are encouraged to apply for PSYC 417A.

The Witnessing Auschwitz: Conflicting stories and memories is offered by UBC’s Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies (CENES) in partnership and/or cooperation with:

  • UBC's Department of Psychology
  • Vancouver Holocaust Educational Center
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
  • University of Warsaw
  • Jewish Historical Institute
  • Polish Consulate in Vancouver
  • University of Bialystok

CENS 303D can count toward the IR Seminar (4th year requirement that satisfies the Arts Research Requirement). The other CENS 303A course can count toward IR List A.

General timeline

May 9 - June 7, 2017. Dates may change by a day or two. Finalized dates will be notified to accepted students.

May 9 - 11, 2017 - Warsaw: Introduction to the History of Jews in Poliand and Eastern Europe, Warsaw Ghetto and Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

May 12 - 24, 2017 - Auschwitz and Birkenau Museum: Lectures, workshops, guided tours, individual and group research activities

May 24 - 27, 2017 - Krakow: Krakow Jewish Quarter and Schindler Factory guided tours, Lectures and research activities

May 27 - 31, 2017 - Warsaw: Lectures and studies in the Jewish Historical Institute and the Museum of Polish Jews

May 31 - June 3, 2017 - Bialystok: Lectures and workshops, tours of local stetls, workshops in Tykocin, Jedwabne, Sejny, workshops in the centre of visual documentation of the Holocaust in Michalowo

June 3 - 7, 2017 - Warsaw: Continuation of research in Warsaw prior to departure

Students will also visit Majdanek (Lublin) and/or Treblinka, but only as day-trips.

This is a full time, academically rigorous program that offers students access to historical documentation, archives and research sites not provided to most visitors to the Auschwitz and Birkenau Museum.



Due to ARA funding eligibility, this program is suitable for UBC Vancouver Campus Faculty of Arts students in 3rd and 4th year and in the following majors:

  • International Relations
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Modern European Studies
  • Film Studies
  • English
  • Law and Society (Minor)

Prior to taking this program, students should have also completed the prerequisite CENS 303A, or one of the following courses: HIST 102, HIST 103, HIST 220, HIST 441, FIST 331, and/or FIST 332. If you are accepted into this program, it is strongly encouraged that you enroll into CENS 303A (Tuesdays – Thursday, 11:00am to 12:30pm) offered in Winter Term 2, 2016. 

Program fees and costs

The program fee is $3900 - $4400 (approximately)*. The final fee will be determined by the number of students who enroll in the program. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee is built into the program fee and is payable upon acceptance into the program. 

All qualifying students will receive a $1000 Go Global Award.

Program Fee Includes   Program Fee Does Not Include

Accomodation in Poland


In country travel that is related to the program


Classroom costs


Some days excursions and day visits

Go Global Fee

*Up to 70-100% of the program fee and flight cost may be covered by ARA funding. Tuition and incidentals are not covered by ARA funding.

*UBC Tuition - Not included. Part of your costs

This amount will differ for domestic and international students. This amount will be assigned to you on the Student Service Centre (SSC) according to normal UBC tuition timelines. Read about tuition fees.

This amount is not determined or applied by Go Global.

All students participating in a Global Seminar will have tuition applied to their SSC account.

*Flights - Not Included. Part of your costs

Travel to Poland is a separate cost.  You are responsible for arranging your own travel. Go Global can provide suggestions upon program confirmation. 

*Incidentals - Not Included. Part of your costs

Some examples include: personal mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the program fee, immunizations, Visas

Global Seminars refund policy

Refund on deposits

Students are eligible for a refund of their deposit minus the administrative fee ($407) if they withdraw from the program within 30 days of paying the deposit; this provides time to fill vacated spots so the cost to other students does not increase. After 30 days, the deposit is non-refundable. Exceptions may be determined at the discretion of Go Global. Any funds allocated to students through the ARA program must be returned in their entirety.

Refund on program fees

Students who withdraw from a Global Seminar after having paid the remaining program fee are not eligible for a refund of their deposit or the program fee. Exceptions may be determined at the discretion of Go Global. Any funds allocated to students through the ARA program must be returned in their entirety.

Students who decide to withdraw their application must submit a request in writing by email to the Global Seminar Advisor at


Go Global Vancouver

When emailing us, please include:

  1. Your student number in the subject line
  2. Your full name and if you are an incoming or outgoing exchange student in the body of the email

Go Global Vancouver

Telephone: 604 822 0942

Fax: 604 822 9885

International House
1783 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2


Mon9:00 am - 4:15 pm
Tue9:30 am - 4:15 pm
Wed9:00 am - 4:15 pm
Thu9:00 am - 4:15 pm
Fri9:00 am - 4:15 pm