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.
As a teacher, I am constantly thinking of new ways to engage my students.
Before I started teaching my students a unit about the Holocaust this year, I thought a lot about how I could get them to think, process, and reflect meaningfully and critically about this history, and also inspire them to act in a manner that influences the world for good.
Whether you’re on the beach or preparing your syllabus for fall, check out these nonfiction and fiction titles that have the Facing History and Ourselves Library staff excited for summer reading!
Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Civil Rights Movement, Books, English Language Arts, Poetry, Armenian Genocide, Race and Membership, Holocaust, Memoir, Survivor Testimony, History, Reading, Reading List
As an eyewitness to the testimonies of many survivors, I now have an obligation to keep their stories alive. When the survivors of the Holocaust tell us about their experiences, they charge us.
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
I remember sitting on my parents' bed one evening after dinner when I was seven years old, squeezing into a spot next to my older brother, Marc. In the coziness and safety of their room—walls clad in purple fabric and a white shag rug underfoot—my parents began to share their stories.
Survivor testimonies—firsthand accounts from individuals who lived through genocide and other atrocities—help students more deeply appreciate and empathize with the human and inhuman dimensions of important moments in history. They supplement what we learn from historians and secondary sources by offering unique perspectives on the difficult and sometimes impossible situations individuals were forced to confront during moments of collective violence and injustice.