Wednesday 27th January is International Holocaust Memorial Day. There will be many schools throughout the world who will be using this memorial as an opportunity to let their children research and in some way try to understand this horrible chapter of human history.
Throughout this blog I have been exploring my own e-learning. When I learnt that this day was coming up I felt the need to find out what resources were available on the web to further my knowledge and experience of these events.
I had originally intended to get a collection of sites and make a list that I thought might be worthwhile to some hard-pressed and overworked teacher who wanted to use this subject in some way with his or her students during this week.
I did find an excellent site that I would strongly recommend for older students that has some good videos and some excellent information about holocausts/genocide in places such as Rawanda as well as information about the Holocaust of World War 2. This was from The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust http://www.hmd.org.uk/
I would strongly recommend that pupils are able to see the Educational Site http://education.hmd.org.uk/ This has a superb case study called
The Secret Archive of Oneg Shabbat
This is the story of Dawid Gruber who was 19 years of age and was one of the thousands trapped in the hell that was the Warsaw Ghetto. He wanted the world to know his testimony and so he managed to write down what he felt and went through and place this in a tin can that was buried. He never knew whether anyone would ever find it. The picture on the site of the old and rusty container is a very moving one and might lead to much discussion and maybe writing or artwork by children.
I then did a search for other sources and came upon one single source that will form the basis of this blog post. The site is called “The Holocaust Cybrary” http://www.remember.org/
This is a marvellous site. Unlike the previous one it does not look into other events of genocide and destruction such as Rawanda, it concentrates on the events of the Holocaust of World War 2.
In this site is assembled a large collection of resources which I feel will really provide a useful basis for practically any schoolwork that could come out of this special week when we remember these horrible events.
There is a “Virtual Tour of Auschwitz 1” which uses the technology of 360 degree photography to analyse this most gruesome of sites. alongside you as you pan to the right and left is a written commentary which is a useful skill for children to master (i.e. following information and understanding how it relates to photographic evidence).
In the midst of the photography and commentary there are occasional paintings by a survivor from the camp Tadeusz Siwek
There are also two brilliant Flickr slideshows, one of them, “Then and Now” showing pictures or paintings from the Camps and then pictures of how it looks now, the other, a collection of paintings, drawings by 6th Grade children which I feel will have the best impact on children if it is just shown and looked at and they are allowed to see and experience what these marvellous young artists have managed to achieve with the material of the Holocaust as a main theme.
The pictures can be accessed from the main site and there are other art resources from the “Imagine Art Gallery” on the site http://www.remember.org/imagine/
There is also an excellent on-line book called “Childhood In Times of War” by Andrew Salamon http://www.remember.org/jean/index.html
This is the moving testament of a Hungarian Jewish boy and the events he lived through. It is a great example of how online books can encourage reading for children as much as the paper versions that they are used to.
The site contains interviews, other resources and links and I cannot recommend it more for teachers and for adults such as myself who are still seeking to come to terms with and try to understand how people can visit these horrendous crimes upon other people.
I will conclude by saying that the Holocaust Memorial Day is a really important event for all children to know and try to come to terms with… we neglect its importance at our peril. I am always haunted by Santayana’s prophetic words “those who do not learn from history are condemned to relive it!”