Stages of Genocide, Standing Up To Intolerance, "Watcher of the Skies," Culminating Work
Image: Art by Olivia Ledesma, Seattle Preparatory School, Seattle, one of the winners of the 2018 Holocaust Writing, Art and Film Contest.
Enduring Lessons of the Holocaust
Through reflection and conversation certainly manifest in the lessons and readings throughout the recommendations made in this “Best Practices” section, students have been considering what this education means to them in terms of their responsibilities today. Here are some lessons, readings and ideas to help bring your lessons/unit to a positive, enduring conclusion that marks a new beginning for many.
Incorporates video clip testimony from survivors of different genocides, as well as topical overviews of some other genocides. By Echoes and Reflections.
Facing History and Ourselves has created three lessons with numerous resouces to engage students as civic actors, thinkers and problem solvers addressing global challenges of membership and belonging that include contemporary antisemitism, racism, and xenophobia, with one lesson specific to the refugee crisis.
This Echoes & Reflections unit contains three lessons: “The Experiences and Fate of Children During the Holocaust,” “Researching Genocides After the Holocaust,” and “Was Anything Learned from the Holocaust?” We recommend the second and third lessons here.
“Watcher of the Skies.” Benjamin Ferencz, a former prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials after World War II, has dedicated his life to using the law to prevent mass violence. This film and the accompanying activities, from Facing History & Ourselves, ask students to reflect on what it means to be a "watcher of the sky" in these stories as well as in their own lives and communities.
After any set of lessons and/or unit concerning a topic, students should be encouraged to reflect, engage, create, discuss, present, etc. This is particularly true when teaching about a topic such as the Holocaust and other genocides. Here are just some recommendations:
- Participation in the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s annual Writing, Art & Film Contest. This is a highly engaging means by which students are prompted to learn and connect with one or more local survivors and lessons to be learned in the wake of the Holocaust. The writing prompt(s) are sufficiently broad to accommodate diverse forms of writing (explanatory, narrative, argumentative and poetry), with accompanying rubrics and recommended resources so that teachers can teach and assess the students’ work, in addition to their participation in the Contest. In this way, they will be serving the Center’s goals of education and promoting the ideas of participation and/or advocacy.
- Field Trip to the Holocaust Center for Humanity
- Speaker testimony (survivor or legacy speaker)
- Volunteer work regarding refugees (Jewish Family Services)