I came to the teaching profession with big ambitions. Like many readers of this blog, I imagine, I’ve always loved learning, and I enjoy the effervescent and unpredictable company of kids. As a first-generation college graduate, I know firsthand how education can transform an individual’s life. But I also entered the classroom with the conviction that schools have a communal and civic purpose, too—that they are the root and heart of democratic societies.
Friday January 27—the day Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated—is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day calls for people around the world to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust—those who perished and those who survived to tell their story. Read how one survivor found healing through the Facing History students who listened to her after years of staying silent.
November 9 marked the 78th anniversary of a series of violent attacks against Jews spread across Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. Known as Kristallnacht, or “the night of broken glass,” it was the most open and violent attack on Jews by the Nazi regime up until that time. The aftermath was devastating: between 1,500 and 3,000 Jews were killed; 30,000 were sent to concentration camps; over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed; and synagogues across Germany were burned down.
Facing History is the lead educational partner for the film, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War. Learn more about how this documentary became a lifelong journey for filmmaker Artemis Joukowsky, III.
Make sure to catch the premiere tonight on PBS. The film will be available for streaming for two weeks following the premiere.
Fifteen years after the attacks on September 11, Facing History's New England Program Associate, Taymullah Abdur-Rahman, reflects on how he came to terms with the attacks and their aftermath as an American Muslim.
In the final part of our three-part series, "My Life as a Jewish Partisan," Sonia Orbuch shares what it was like to fight against the Nazis, including the dangers they faced, the loss of loved ones, and the need to preserve Jewish culture in hiding. Take a look back at part one for the beginning of Sonia’s story and part two to learn about what life was like in the forest. Her story shines a light on Jewish resistance, which offers a contrast to the narrative that Jews were helpless victims during the Holocaust. Students from AJ Elementary School in East Prairie, Missouri submitted their questions to Sonia. Read her answers to glimpse into her life as a resistance fighter.
In part two of our three-part series, "My Life as a Jewish Partisan," we dive deeper into what daily life was like as a Jewish partisan living in the forest during the Holocaust. We recently shared the beginning of Sonia Orbuch’s partisan story, which starts in 1942 in the forests of Poland. She shines a light on Jewish resistance, which offers a contrast to the narrative that Jews were helpless victims during the Holocaust. Students from AJ Elementary School in East Prairie, Missouri submitted their questions to Sonia. Read her answers to glimpse into her life as a resistance fighter.
Sonia Orbuch, a Jewish partisan during World War II, recently took the time to answer questions submitted to her by students from AJ Elementary School in East Prairie, Missouri. Her story shines a light on Jewish resistance, which offers a contrast to the narrative that Jews were helpless victims during the Holocaust. Partisans were members of an organized body of fighters that formed to protect themselves from the brutality of the Nazi regime. Approximately 20,000 to 30,000 Jews escaped from Nazi ghettos and camps to form or join organized resistance groups.
Read her answers to these children’s questions in this three-part series to learn about how she joined the partisans, what life was like in the forest, and the dangers she faced resisting the Nazis.
On July 2, Elie Wiesel - Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate, writer, political activist, and professor - passed away at 87 years old. He committed his life to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive because he understood the dangers of history repeating itself. Now, in honor of his memory, we share a story of a second-generation Holocaust survivor who is passing on her mother's legacy one hug at a time.
Caren Osten hugs one of the students at Ellis Prep Academy in the Bronx.
“What do you think Nachila is feeling right at this moment?” asks Dr. Bethany Nelson to a room full of history students at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in South Easton, Massachusetts.
“She’s thinking, ‘I’m ready to die,” shouts one student. “I’m not afraid of you,” shouts another. Multiple students enthusiastically chime in to participate.
Nachila Ortiz is one of five high school students standing in front of the room, reenacting a photograph that is projected over their bodies. Three of the students pose, channeling the emotions in the faces of Jewish partisans captured by the Nazis during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Two others pose as the Nazi officers; one pointing an imaginary rifle.