Pilgrimage: Berlin

Fri., March 8-Sat., March 16, 2024

The Program

The history of Europe in the twentieth century is marred by the atrocities of World War II. The story of Jews and other minorities is particularly bleak, and few moments evidence this more than the era of Nazi Germany. From the cataclysmic events of the Holocaust to the division of Berlin after World War II, there is a complicated history of religion, trauma, and horror, but also a recent history of multifaith dialogue, reconciliation, and hope. In fact, Germany’s efforts to learn from the Holocaust and WWII have in part led it to be among one of the leading European countries in hosting refugees.

Pilgrimage: Berlin is an intensive travel seminar that includes a half-unit course, a 9-day experience in Berlin, follow-up presentations, and intensive reflections. The program will explore the roots of Judaism and rise of Nazism in Germany, the lead-up to and effects of the Holocaust on the modern German community, the history of Christianity and interfaith relationships in Germany, and the way Germany, Europe, and the World have attempted to remember and reconcile the destruction of the Holocaust. Of particular interest will be the way narratives surrounding Nazi Germany and the Holocaust are used today in American discourse.


This program is open to full-time, undergraduate students of all faith backgrounds. Students will participate in a half-unit pass/fail course that meets weekly throughout the spring semester. Through Pilgrimage: Berlin, students will use historical, social, political, and spiritual insight to:

  • Understand the religious and historical significance of the Holocaust, particularly in Jewish tradition and to the broader German community.
  • Consider the role of memory in shaping and affecting individual and group identities
  • Appreciate the influence narratives of the Holocaust have on current political events in America and discourse surrounding antisemitism.
  • Learn how religious social capital was leveraged as part of the political rhetoric before, during, and after WWII.
  • Learn about how Germany continues to grapple with the repercussions of WWII, and think about implications for social responsibility outside of Germany.

Each student will be expected to fully commit spiritually and intellectually to the pilgrimage (the course and the travel excursion) and offer an open and generous heart to the experience of their teammates. The Chaplaincy will cover all costs except passport and visa application fees (if applicable), gear for the pilgrimage, meals in the airport, and spending money.


Participants will be responsible for passport and visa application fees, some meals while traveling, and personal spending money. The Chaplaincy will cover all other costs. Those with financial limitations or concerns should contact the trip leaders.

The pilgrimage will be co-led by Josh Jeffreys, Jewish Chaplain and Director of Religious Life, and Tom Mullen, Catholic Chaplain.