- Step-by-step procedures
- Estimated completion time
- Resources labeled by icons direct teachers to the piece of content named in the procedures
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- ANTON MASON, JEWISH SURVIVOR
Below is information to keep in mind when teaching the content in this unit. This material is intended to help teachers consider the complexities of teaching about survivors and liberators and to deliver accurate and sensitive instruction.
The purpose of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of the political, legal, social, and emotional status of the Jewish survivors. This unit also examines the role of the liberators following the defeat of the Nazis at the end of World War II.
ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME
Holocaust Survivors’ "Return to Life"
|1||Begin this lesson with a discussion about how students imagine survivors felt after liberation. The following questions can help guide this discussion:|
|2||Introduce students to Dennis Urstein, Henry Mikols, and David Abrams and then show their clips of testimony. Follow with a discussion using some or all of the questions below.|
|3||Allow time for students to consider the range of emotions that Jews felt after liberation. Ask them to consider the following questions:|
|4||Distribute Holocaust 1944 and When It Happened. By way of introduction, tell students that each of these poems was written by a Jewish woman who escaped from Nazi Europe in the late 1930s as a young child. They both spent their childhood in England. In their poems, they examine the questions of guilt and duty with which many survivors struggle.|
|5||Assign half the class the poem “Holocaust 1944” and the other half “When It Happened.” Have students break into pairs, making sure that both partners have been assigned the same poem.|
|6||Allow time for students to read and discuss their assigned poem with their partners. Have some or all of the following questions posted on the board or on chart paper to help students organize their discussions:|
|7||After the class discusses the poems in pairs, come back together as a whole group. Read both poems as a class and conduct a whole-group discussion, allowing students to lead the discussion using their reflections and ideas from the pair-work. Encourage students to listen for different interpretations by other groups that read the same poem that they did.|
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New Beginnings - Journey to America
ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME
Liberators of the Nazi Camps
|1||To prepare students for this lesson, share general background on the liberation of the camps outlined in the corresponding Note.|
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|2||Introduce students to Howard Cwick, Anton Mason, and Paul Parks; show their clips of testimony; and discuss some or all of the questions below.|
Info Quest: Howard Cwick
|3||Distribute or display A Liberator’s Thoughts. Tell students that the author of this written testimony is Harry Herder, Jr., who was nineteen at the time he and other US soldiers liberated Buchenwald, in April 1945. Discuss the selection using the following questions:|
A Liberator's Thoughts View More »
|4||To learn more about the liberators introduced in this lesson, have students, working individually or in pairs, prepare a list of 3–5 questions that they would like to ask Howard Cwick, Anton Mason, or Paul Parks. Students should then be encouraged to use the Biographical Profile and/or IWitness testimony (iwitness.usc.edu) to find the answers to their questions.|
ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME
Displaced Persons’ Camps after the Holocaust
|1||Explain to students that a critical issue that arose after liberation was that of the displacement of survivors. To introduce this topic, distribute the Displaced Persons handout and instruct students to read the text and answer the questions at the bottom of the page. [Optional: Have students work on the assignment in pairs or small groups.]|
Displaced Persons View More »
|2||Review the Displaced Persons handout and the questions together and then introduce students to Malka Baran, David Geslewitz, and Ester Fiszgop before showing their clips of testimony. Use the following questions to continue the discussion about displaced persons’ camps:|
|3||Divide the class into six groups. Distribute copies of the photographs from the displaced persons’ camps to each group. Have students study the photographs and share their initial observations with others in their group. Prompt students to think about how the photographs represent the choices that survivors made following liberation (e.g., to go on with their lives despite what they had suffered and lost).|
DISPLACED PERSONS' CAMP: LANDSBERG, GERMANY
DISPLACED PERSONS' CAMP: SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
DISPLACED PERSONS' CAMP: BERGEN-BELSEN
DISPLACED PERSONS' CAMP: GERMANY
|4||Assign each group one of the “lenses” below and instruct them to study the photographs again from this particular lens (e.g., If you were a ______ in this camp, what would you notice? How would you explain what you are seeing in the photographs? How might you propose to solve problems that displaced persons might be facing?)|
|5||Have each group select a reporter to share the discussion points made regarding each “lens.” Encourage students to listen for differences in perspective depending on the lens in which the photographs were viewed.|
|6||Conclude this lesson with a discussion about the obstacles that survivors faced following liberation and what they did to rebuild their lives. Include the following questions in this summarizing discussion:|
The questions below, used in class or as homework, prompt students to reflect on what they are learning and its meaning in their own lives and in society.
These queries are excellent for journaling, allowing students to create their own primary source material. Keep in mind, the sensitive and emotional nature of the topics may preclude teacher evaluation. If journaling is used as an assessment tool, assure students that they will not be evaluated negatively for expressing opinions that may be different from others in class or from the teacher’s.
The additional activities and projects listed below can be integrated directly into the lessons in this unit or can be used to extend lessons once they have been completed. The topics lend themselves to students’ continued study of the Holocaust as well as opportunities for students to make meaningful connections to other people and events, including relevant contemporary issues. These activities may include instructional strategies and techniques and/or address academic standards in addition to those that were identified for the unit.
|1||Visit IWitness (iwitness.usc.edu) for testimonies, resources, and activities to help students learn more about survivors and liberators.|
|2||Like personal diaries, photographs, and oral histories, personal letters can provide us with a more complete understanding of historical events, including valuable insight into the wartime experience. As with other primary documents, letters reflect only the viewpoint of a single individual and may contain mistakes. Their value, however, is that they offer readers a glimpse into the wide range of emotions that people felt as historical events were unfolding.|
|3||As a whole class, read Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness (Schocken Books, 1997). In the book, a dying Nazi solider brings Wiesenthal, a concentration camp prisoner, to his deathbed and asks forgiveness for crimes against the Jews. Wiesenthal says nothing and leaves the soldier’s bedside, but later questions his own response.|
|4||Contact the VFW’s Veterans in the Classroom community outreach initiative. Through this program, a local VFW member is able to help make history “come alive,” sharing personal experiences, appropriate memorabilia, uniforms, photographs, and other relevant material. US forces liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp, as well as Dachau, Mauthausen, Flossenburg, and Dora-Mittelbau; check with your local VFW to see if a liberator is available to speak to students. Many Holocaust museums and resource centers also have a Speakers’ Bureau of local liberators available to visit the classroom. As a class, generate a list of relevant questions to ask the liberator in advance of his or her visit.|
|5||The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides protection, shelter, emergency food, water, medical care, and other life-saving assistance to millions of people worldwide, who have been forced to flee their homes due to war and persecution. When possible, UNHCR helps refugees and other displaced people return to their homes voluntarily, safely, and with dignity. Have students research the UNHCR and share their findings in a presentation format of their choice (oral, written, multimedia). The following questions can help guide their research:|
refugee"Return to Life"survivorZyklon B