Holocaust History through Literature, Film, and Music - Elective Winter Learning Course
For Winter Learning 2019, I wanted to offer students an opportunity to learn about the Holocaust while also receiving an Elective Credit. Six amazing students took full advantage of two packed weeks of learning. I could literally write a book on the opportunities that the students were exposed to, but I will try to limit it to a few short notes.
Over the course of the two weeks student read, discussed and analyzed: Night by Elie Wiesel and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Along the way they read and analyzed picture books about the Holocaust. Students were asked to read the books written for children and discuss whether these books and the serious topic of the Holocaust were age appropriate. The take-a-way was that young children should be introduced to the history of the Holocuast and they agreed that the majority of the books were age appropriate.
We were all excited when we received the information that we were invited to the Heritage Sandy Springs to meet and listen to the real-life account of Holocaust Survivor, Marion Blumenthal Lazan author of Four Perfect Pebbles – on the last day of our Holocaust Study. Mallory Mulhern shared that she was nervous about the idea of meeting a Holocaust Survivor and was apprehensive about the visit. However, once she listened to Mrs. Lazan she was relieved – as were all of us. Mrs. Lazan shared her gut-wrenching account of her ordeal in such an upbeat manner, those in attendance did not know whether to laugh with her or cry for the courage that she gracefully displayed.
We were all moved by her charm, respect, and the calmness that was inside of her. She welcomed us with open arms and did not hesitate to embrace us, shake our hands, speak openly and candid with us as well as advise us. But she reminded us to Never Forget. Her message to the youth in particular was to always remember, and to pass the history of the Holocaust along. And in a somber moment she reminded us of the fact that many of the Holocaust Survivors are passing away and that it is up to our youth to ensure that her story and the countless stories of others live on. What a way to end our study of the Holocaust!
We took the best "self-guided" tour at the Breman Museum. There was so much to learn and absorb. Students were able to view many artifacts from the Holocaust as well as the great impact that the culture has had on Atlanta's great history.
We also had a guided tour at Anne Frank's Museum in Sandy Springs. Many of our students did not know about this wonderful place. This place is tucked away in a shopping center in Sandy Springs. It was a great discovery. We received a two-hour information session and a guided and detailed tour of everything about Anne Frank. This museum is free to the public.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) speakers, Dana and Will opened our eyes about Anti-Semitism and all of the injustices that continue to plague the world. We were grateful to the ADL for presenting a workshop that is generally 2 days in length. These gentlemen tweaked a workshop for one day to fit the needs of our Holocaust Course.
I am grateful to our great staff at Mill Springs for their tremendous support. Thank you Brittany for emptying out our library's Holocaust books. Thanks to Erin for the class set of Night and The Diary of a Young Girl. Thanks to Elke for the use of Bearing Witness Teaching materials, thank you Shilpee for Week 2, and guiding the students through the Google Doc, and thank you Lisa for accompanying us to the Anne Frank Museum and for all the other stuff you do. Thank you Jaime for attending sessions and sharing in on the discussions. Thank you Cynthia for your support and for attending the Holocaust Survivor talk of Mrs. Lazan. Most importantly thank the parents who encouraged their wonderful children to take this elective.
The students entered this course with the idea of receiving an elective credit. In the end, they realized that they received a lifetime lesson on humanity.
Pictured: Tatum Gordon is all smiles as she meets and receives an embrace from Mrs. Lazan.