The funny thing about this session is that I practically stumbled into it. I was trying to go to another session right next door but (not surprisingly) the line for that session was out the door. I was about to walk the other way until I happened to glance into the next room and see a video playing. I recognized the pictures as pictures from the Holocaust. And since I am strangely interested in the Holocaust, I walked into the session.
Not only did I get free lesson ideas about how to teach the Holocaust, I also learned about thousands of survivor testimonies on the ushmm.org website (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). The testimonies were interesting because there was testimony from German citizens during the Holocaust and not just from the survivors of the Holocaust. I think these citizens represent the other side of the Holocaust which is how people can be so blind to atrocities happening so close to where they live. I think these videos are a real eye-opener not only for students but for myself as well.
Some of the quotes I wrote down from this session were from the teachers attending the session with me. When asked how they felt about presenting sensitive aspects of the Holocaust, a couple of teachers responding with:
“At what point do you accept something’s there and when do you become indifferent? I would like my students to evaluate that question.”
“We want to protect our students so much that we create the indifference [to the Holocaust] because of a lack of knowledge.”
What I took away from this session was the more students understand the Holocaust, the more they will connect with the subject matter. I do not believe in ignoring the past to protect students. They need to understand that things like the Holocaust can happen and that they can stop these things from happening again if they can realize and recognize the signs.