The Writers of Willesden Lane

Posted by Celina Martinez on August 23, 2018

Facing History and Ourselves, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, has sponsored educator workshops this summer on the Holocaust and The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen. This book tells the story of Lisa Jura, Mona’s mother, as a Kindertransport survivor. Teachers will receive copies of The Children of Willesden Lane for their students, be invited to tour the the museum, and attend concert performances by Mona Golabek at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in October.

One of the lessons The Children of Willesden Lane teaches is about the complexities of living during a time when Jewish people were faced with a decreasing range of choices in Nazi Germany leading to the Holocaust. Lisa Jura’s story teaches us what it means to be a refugee, to be alone, and nationless. Even though she escaped the concentration camps, she was not spared the pain of her parents’ deaths and the concern over the fates of her sisters. I am reminded of the point in the book where the war has ended and Lisa’s schoolmates are celebrating in the streets.  The end of the war marked the beginning of a devastating time for Lisa and her Jewish friends who had to find out what had happened to their family members outside of England. The story beautifully ties together the themes of family and history.

Why is it important to learn about this history?

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Topics: English Language Arts, Holocaust

Reclaiming the Identity of Youth Lost During the Holocaust

Posted by Mary Hendra on June 19, 2017

 

How do we understand and honor children's lives taken during the Holocaust? The Butterfly Project, founded in San Diego in 2006 and now reaching 20 states and 16 countries, seeks to involve young people in creating a ceramic butterfly for every child lost to the Holocaust. Over the past year, Facing History has been collaborating with them to deepen the experience of students in this powerful exploration and memorial to children.

Find out more about The Butterfly Project here www.thebutterflyprojectnow.org

See The Butterfly Project in action, paint your own butterfly, and find out how to bring the project to your classroom at our upcoming Forum in Los Angeles.

Register for Forum 

So what does it look like to put the focus on youth in your exploration of the Holocaust? The following path uses Facing History resources to deepen student appreciation for the meaning of painting a butterfly. This progression of lessons can be the basis for a middle or high school unit culminating in participation in The Butterfly Project.

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Topics: Holocaust, Art

A Conversation with My Father, part 2

Posted by Annie Brown on March 18, 2015

This week I continue the conversation with my father. To read the first part of this conversation, click here.

Even though the book was based on stories from my Uncle, I knew my father had done a lot of research by reading and even travelling to eastern Europe, so I asked him to talk about the role of research in writing fiction.

Research was essential and extensive. I needed to know everything I could about the places where events unfold: Prague, Terezin, Auschwitz, the forests of Poland. Likewise with the tenor of life year by year, where the story begins in innocence on through the relentlessly accelerating horrors of Hitler’s occupation, displacement, war, and mass murder. I needed to know more about the partisans, who were of so many stripes in so many places. There was one group, for instance, the Army Ludowa, who fought the Nazis for reasons of Polish nationalism while being every bit as anti-Semitic and dangerous to Jews. I had to go to all those places and contemplate what it was like to be there at that time: to be evacuated to Terezin, to live there in fear of disease, starvation, and death; to face certain death at Auschwitz-Birkenau; but then to escape and be liberated enough to fight back.

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Topics: Teaching, Identity, Holocaust, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Night, Partisans, Five Bullets

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