Take This Giant Leap

Posted by Dan Alba on June 22, 2017

"Take This Giant Leap" is the title of Reading 1 Chapter 9 in Facing History and Ourselves' newest 4th Edition of Holocaust and Human Behavior. These words are found in the Sonia Weitz poem entitled "For Yom Ha'Shoah" (Day of Holocaust Remembrance):
HHB Leap.jpg
Come take this giant leap with me
into the other world...the other place
where language fails and imagery defies,
denies man's consciousness...and dies
upon the alter of insanity
Come, take this giant leap with me
into the other world...the other place
and trace the eclipse of humanity...
where children burned while mankind stood by
and the universe has yet to learn why
...has yet to learn why
To me, "the other world" is not the world in which we live today. It refers to another time, another place, another history. It refers to an "Unfree World" without language to express, in the words of Primo Levi, "this offense, the demolition of man." 
It is often said that literature is the pathos to history's logos. Literature can give voice and meaning to this other world.
As teachers, we have the opportunity to take voices from the literature of the Holocaust off the pages. Re-placing these voices into their historical circumstances, conditions, and settings offers readers a deeper understanding, value, import and appreciation for those voices from "the other world." The larger historical context of the Holocaust doesn't overshadow singular voices but rather amplifies them from the depths of so much anguish, death and destruction. Readers come to the realization that voices humanize history. 
Whether you teach Night, Anne Frank:The Diary of a Girl, Salvaged Pages, The Children of Willesden Lane or any other literature, come to our Democracy at Risk Forum on October 28th and experience a session designed to help your students "take this giant leap" closer to the human experience and resilience of the human spirit.      
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Topics: Holocaust and Human Behavior, Literature

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