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Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16, 2019. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20, 2019. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27, 2019. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue

A NEW way to teach PHRASAL VERBS so that your students understand and remember them

Started by Andromeda Jones in Teaching and Methodology Dec 31, 2018. 0 Replies

Phrasal verbs are a verb + preposition, adverb or particle. Teaching…Continue

Tags: prepositions, teach, verbs, phrasal


Today is the UN "Holocaust Remembrance Day".

However much I disagree with making a "day" out of this, like all those others, "Don't buy something", "Be happy" , "fight cancer" days, it still gives me reason to point out to the few others who might read, its importance.

Nature is cruel. It has killed anonymously, randomly, millions. But far more brutal and cruel has been man, poor mortal man. Killing many more millions with drum beats and bravado. The Holocaust, the apex of this barbarism and "banality of evil" should make us look at our shiny cars and hair products with disdain, even disgust.

This photo haunts me and I've carried it with me for years. Any of us could be this boy, any of us could be swept up in the cruelty of history and those who'd "possess" right or might. Why him not me?

Man is cruel. How might we begin to repair this and leave a light, a lit path for our children?

I have no real answer yet. I cry out like that woman in the cattle car, "We are going to the fire! Fire! Fire!" I do my part. It IS about remembrance. We must educate others about the importance of this event and the subtle ways it still exists today. We are all Jews and they can also come for us any day, at any moment. Don't you think otherwise!

Here is a column I read today that spoke to me. By an Auschwitz survivor, Samual Pisar. He asks the same questions as I do. When will we rise out of the savagery and into civilization? We are still so far from it, we are still so cruel. We must find a way out, we are all Jews.

Liberation From Auschwitz

Published: January 26, 2010

Sixty-five years ago, to the day, the Soviets liberated Auschwitz, while the Americans were approaching Dachau. For a survivor of these two infernos to be still alive and well, with a new and happy family that has resurrected for me the one I had lost seems almost unreal. When I entered Eichmann and Mengele’s gruesome universe at the age of 13, I measured my life expectancy in days, weeks at the most.

In the early winter of 1944, World War II was coming to an end. But we in the camps knew nothing. We were wondering: What is happening in the world outside? Where is God? Where is the pope? Does anyone out there know what is happening here to us? Do they care?

Russia was devastated. England was resisting, her back against the wall. And America? She was so far away, so divided. How could she be expected to save civilization from the seemingly invincible forces of darkness at this late stage? I was almost 16 now and I wanted to live.

It took a long time for the news of the Normandy invasion to slip into Auschwitz. There were also rumors that the Red Army was advancing quickly on the Eastern front. The Nazis’ nervousness was becoming palpable. The gas chambers were now spewing fire and smoke as never before.

One gray, frosty morning, our guards ordered us to line up and marched us out of Auschwitz-Birkenau’s main gate with its perverse sign: “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work Brings Freedom”). Those of us who were still able to be used for slave labor would be shunted westward, deeper into Germany.

I was beside myself with excitement. Salvation suddenly seemed so near, yet so far away. At the last moment, they would surely kill us, too. The “Final Solution” must be completed, the last living witnesses must be wiped out. Oh, to hang on, to hang on a little longer ...

Our death marches from camp to camp continued day and night, until we and our torturers began to hear powerful explosions that sounded like artillery. One afternoon we were strafed by a squadron of Allied fighter planes who mistook our column for Wermacht troops. As the SS men hit the dirt, their machine guns blazing in all directions, someone near me yelled: “Run for it!”

I kicked off my wooden clogs and made a desperate sprint into the nearby forest. There I hid for weeks, until I was liberated by a platoon of American G.I.’s who gave me my first taste of freedom.

Today we, the last living survivors of the greatest catastrophe ever perpetrated by man against man, are disappearing one by one. Soon, history will speak about Auschwitz at best with the impersonal voice of researchers and novelists, and at worst in the malevolent register of revisionists and falsifiers who call the Holocaust a “myth.” This process has already begun. That is why we feel a visceral duty to transmit to our fellow men the memory of what we have endured in body and soul; to alert our children that the fanaticism and violence that is spreading again in our newly enflamed world could destroy their universe as it has once destroyed mine.

The fury of the Haiti earthquake, which has taken more than 150,000 lives, teaches us how cruel nature can be. The Holocaust teaches us that nature, even in its cruelest moments, is benign in comparison with man when he loses his moral compass and his reason.

After so much spilled blood, a groundswell of compassion and solidarity for the victims — all victims, whether from natural disasters, racial hatred, religious intolerance or terrorist violence — occasionally manifests itself. It is still too early to evaluate the potential of such generous sentiments for the future.

Meanwhile, we remain divided and confused, we hesitate, we vacillate, like sleepwalkers at the edge of the abyss. But the irrevocable has not yet happened. Our chances are still intact. Let us hope that mankind will somehow seize them and learn to live with its diversity in better harmony.

Samuel Pisar is an international lawyer and the author of “Of Blood and Hope.”

Downloads: 305

Comment by ddeubel on January 27, 2010 at 2:00pm
Here's a comment I left on Larry Ferlazzo's fine list of sites for teaching about the Holocaust.


Great resources as always. I’d just like to add a few things.

I’ve taught a number of holocaust related books like “Night” and “Number the Stars” but by far, Hana’s Suitcase is the most powerful and full of teaching opportunity. Real story – nice website too.

Probably the best movies on the holocaust are Night and Fog and Shoah (very long but with great interviews). The Nat. Film Board of Canada has a great doc. also – Memorandum I don’t think the Simon Weisenthal Centre (there are a number), made your list.

By far the most important book to me on the holocaust is Martin Gilbert’s exhaustive catalog “The Holocaust”. No embellishment, just facts of what happened.

It might also be useful to think about Jane Elliot’s ground breaking Blue Eyed / Brown Eyed experiments with her own Grade 3s – done many years ago.

But the best thing I’ve found for teaching is to make it real and bring someone to class that has a personal connection and story to tell. Or have students do a personal biography of a person who lived through the Shoah.

Comment by George Swen on January 27, 2010 at 2:41pm
Not much to add... Dog eat dog. I go crazy when someone impeaches holocaust, it is so sad. And it will get worse because the living memory is dying as said above.
I am a pesimist, I think the dawn of civilization is far away because what I see is the history repeating itself on and on. People are incorrigible. But it is probably that certain conditions anable it, maybe when the masses face up constant overpressure (strange - the best things come from a similar spawn - in individuals); then some little trigger suffices and...
You can do so much. And am sure the teachers in the past did so too. Yet some things cannot be affected that way, maybe no way...

It is about remeberence. And we are all Jews. TRUE.

Comment by ddeubel on January 27, 2010 at 11:35pm

How does that old Billy Joel song go? "You may be right, I may be crazy..."

I understand your thinking, view and logic however I refuse to depart from that spirit within me that says one must fight against abject evil and scream like that woman in the cattle car.

Our whole existence, if it is to mean anything, lies in truth. I really truly believe that. There is no great truth than that which is outside ourself and for the full benefit of mankind. I'm not talking anything crazy like communism or some religious edict -- just the truth of our condition. Have you ever read the small book of Vicktor Frankl - Man's Search for Meaning? He writes in this vein and it forms the basis of his "logotherapy".

I guess at the end of the day, we must do what we can to speak up - follow the command of the Niemoller...despite the presence and banality of evil around us.

Comment by George Swen on January 28, 2010 at 7:14am
Writing that sentence I already knew it would be taken wrong. Of course one must fight!, even with the awareness of futility (which makes it even more valuable).
Live in truth but do not count on it that you could ever choose the end of the whip.
Comment by George Swen on January 28, 2010 at 12:05pm
thank you for that link. I have not read the book but I will for what I could read in that link is so close to what I also believe.
Comment by Ellen Pham on January 28, 2010 at 9:58pm
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Excellent first person source for studying the Holocaust with younger grades (fourth through sixth, I would think). Poignant, and for me, having read the book when I was nine, something I have identified as being essential to my moral development.

For those that aren't familiar with the book, it is the diary 13 yr old Anne wrote while her family was in hiding from the Natzis in the attic of her father's office building.

I've read the other books mentioned. Number the Stars is a good children's novel, but it is fiction and I think the Holocaust demands a first person account. Night is far too brutal and despairing to use with children- developmentally, they are not able to process the account in a healthy way.

But with Anne's diary, there is a balance. There is the immediacy of getting to know Anne as a person through her diary. She is just an older kid to the students reading her- real flesh and blood.

It doesn't lead to complete despair over the human race. There were people who helped the Frank's while in hiding, and in the end, people who betrayed them.

And though there is no graphic violence at the culmination of the book, Anne is gone. Disappeared. And when the reader just has to know what happened to her, if she survived... no, she didn't.

Hana's Suitcase is also an excellent resource. I'd have to read both side-by-side to decide which I would use as a main text.

Some study of the Holocaust is essential before the kids hit high school, when there is so much competing for their intellectual and emotional attention. I tend to think, of course we studied that in school, but when I examine even my own schooling, which occurred much closer to WW2, no, we didn't. I learned about the Holocaust from my parents.

There are a few chapters in history that ALL American children must develop a basic understanding of if there is any chance of "Never Again."

The systematic displacement and destruction of the American Indian is one. Slavery is another. And the Holocaust.

On the plus side, though these can be studied in depth later, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (we can change) and the Bill of Rights (we do have a blueprint for individual freedom and social justice).

Another book that I believe is essential for all American children to be exposed to is To Be a Slave by Julius Lester (slave narratives collected by Lester, who is African American and Jewish!)

Deeply moving when read out loud.

Don't save these essential documents until junior high or high school! They need to be taught by the end of the 6th grade.

Comment by Na Ima on February 2, 2010 at 7:50pm

Yes we are ALL humans! - although this fact seems to be forgotten from time to time!

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