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.
Imagine preserving the voices and stories of an entire generation over a single holiday weekend. For the second year in a row, Facing History and Ourselves is partnering with StoryCorps for The Great Thanksgiving Listen to accomplish just that. You can preserve history with us by uploading your own interview with an elder this year, and empowering your students to do the same, by using the free StoryCorps app. Visit thegreatlisten.org for more details about the project and to download the TGTL 2016 Teacher Toolkit.
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.
During the March Break of 2016, a group of 31 students from three Toronto District School Board schools travelled to Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland to learn about the history of Jewish life in Europe and the Holocaust. These students were currently taking, or had previously taken, the Grade 11 elective course, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. They participated in two pre-trip meetings to help prepare them for the reality of actually facing the difficult history that they had only read and heard about in class. After the trip, we gathered together again to share memorials to our experience learning about this history in the places that it actually happened.
How is a little known lynching case from 1917 relevant today?
For students at Overton High School in Memphis, Tennessee, discovering the case of Ell Persons became a call to action. Angered by the brutality of his murder and the high number of lynchings that took place in their own backyard, they decided to channel their energy into something positive. They have been hard at work to create a memorial for Persons and to bring light to an often forgotten part of U.S. history so that others, too, will learn from the past.
On International Women’s Day, bring the unique voices of women who survived or stood up against some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century into your classroom. Facing History is partnering with USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education to help educators access more than 1,500 video testimonies of survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides using the Institute’s online learning tool, IWitness.
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.
Imagine preserving the voices and stories of an entire generation over a single holiday weekend. That’s our hope, as Facing History and Ourselves partners with StoryCorps for the 2015 Great Thanksgiving Listen. We will work with high school teachers across the country, whose students will interview a grandparent or elder over the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and record their story with the StoryCorps mobile app.
Ahead of the Great Thanksgiving Listen, we sat down with Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps and winner of a 2015 $1 million TED Prize. Isay made public radio documentaries for nearly two decades before starting StoryCorps 12 years ago. (The interview has been slightly condensed.)
Next week marks Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. While Yom HaShoah affords us the opportunity to honor the memory of those we lost during the Holocaust, it's also a time to commemorate and celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the lives and communities decimated during this dark moment in history.
Topics: Classrooms, Art, Books, Online Tools, Benjamin B. Ferencz, Memory, Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Teaching, Holocaust, Upstanders, Teaching Resources, Survivor Testimony, Video, History
A book recently came into my possession that has been tossed around in my family like a hot potato for several generations.
Entitled Religion and Slavery: A Vindication of Southern Churches, the book's author was James McNeilly, a Presbyterian minister and confederate veteran from Nashville, Tennessee. Inside the front cover is an inscription from the author to my great-great-great-grandmother.
"To Corinne Lawrence: A tried and true friend of many years—and a devoted lover of the Old South which I have tried to vindicate."