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.
Today, on Yom HaShoah Ve'Hagevurah, or Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, we give pause to remember the six million Jews and the five million other targeted individuals who were murdered during the Holocaust. But we can also celebrate moments of bravery. Resistance has been tied into this commemoration from its inception in Israel in the 1950s.
On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is our job as teachers to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust is not forgotten. It is our hope, as a society, that the preservation of these memories will prevent these events from happening again, any place in the world, and that the words of the survivors will ring out as alarm bells today.
Guest blogger, Lisa Bauman, shares the importance of teaching voices of the Holocaust. As a United States Holocaust Memorial Regional Education Corps Educator, she and her colleagues - Bonnie Sussman, and Colleen Tambuscio - have been bringing students on Holocaust Study Tours in Europe since 1998. Hear how their students rallied together to plan a commemoration in the Czech Republic for Otto Wolf, his family, and the residents that saved them from deportation during World War II.
April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. Throughout the month, we’ll be featuring stories on Facing Today that reflect upon genocide throughout history. Hearing personal stories of survival can be a powerful learning experience. In this post, we’re shining a light on the inspirational stories of two genocide survivors.
Today - International Holocaust Remembrance Day - marks the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the concentration camp that became the unofficial symbol of World War II. Yet, beyond the sobering images that typically come to mind, there is a complexity to understanding the choices people made that led to such death and destruction.
Warsaw, May 2014:
Staring at two rusted milk cans at the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, I feel overwhelmed by the weight and significance of the history they carry. These one-time ordinary artifacts stand in front of an archive of unbelievable power, documenting daily life in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1940 to 1943.
For many years, my past as a Jewish child hiding from the Nazis during the second world war was obliterated from my memory. Finally I realized that I needed to face a huge and painful void in my life. The opportunity came as a friend invited me to speak to a Facing History and Ourselves classroom.
Sir Nicholas Winton, a British humanitarian who saved more than 650 children through the Kindertransport during World War II, died on July 1, 2015, at the age of 106. Winton always humbly insisted he wasn't a hero; yet his inspiring story illuminates how courage, initiative, and compassion drive people to make a difference.
Topics: Classrooms, Teaching Strategies, Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Students, Teaching, Holocaust, Upstanders, Genocide/Collective Violence, Teachers, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Decision-making, Holocaust Education