Auteur filmmaker Terrence Malick’s latest work, A Hidden Life, is based on the true story of Austrian peasant farmer Franz Jägerstätter—a conscientious objector who refused to swear loyalty to Adolf Hitler when called to active duty during World War II. As Jägerstätter’s refusal alienates him from his community and puts his life in jeopardy, the film offers an artful look at some of the moral choices made during this period, and an affecting meditation on what it means to have agency when we are subject to power structures greater than ourselves. And notably for educators, the film provokes a type of reflection central to best practices in adolescent education on WWII and the Holocaust.
Taika Waititi’s new film, Jojo Rabbit, has polarized both critics and audiences—and for good reason. Dubbed an “anti-hate satire,” the film tells the story of Johannes “Jojo” Betzler—a ten-year old German boy striving to find social belonging and direction as he comes of age during World War II. In the absence of his father who has gone off to war, Jojo relies heavily on the guidance of an imaginary friend who takes the form of Adolf Hiter—portrayed here by director Waititi, a Maori man of Jewish descent.
From left to right: Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, Frank Stebbins, and Dr. Hank Kaplowitz.
In a recent interview, I spoke with acclaimed educator Frank Stebbins about his path to teaching, unique approaches in the classroom, and how Facing History has been instrumental in his development as an educator. Stebbins was recently named the 2019 Hank Kaplowitz Outstanding Human Rights Educator of the Year by the Human Rights Institute at Kean University.
On February 27, 1933, the German parliament building known as the Reichstag was set on fire. The government falsely portrayed it as part of a Communist effort to overthrow the state. The Nazi Party soon passed a decree, "For the Defense of the Nation and State," which removed many of German citizens' civil liberties and made it possible to imprison anyone who opposed Nazi rule. The Reichstag Fire is often seen as a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy and the struggle to keep it intact.
Topics: Holocaust and Human Behaviour
Audrey Reyes and David Gómez are busy taking on the world before they even enter college. The two Facing History students were part of a select group of youth scholars from around the world nominated to participate in the Global Citizens Youth Summit (GCYS), hosted by the Global Citizens Initiative (GCI), a nonprofit social enterprise based in Connecticut. They joined 26 other students from 19 different countries in Cambridge, Massachusetts to learn from each other and explore what it means to be a global citizen.