We are doing our Holocaust unit right now in 8th grade language arts. Each time I’ve taught this, I struggle with what we tell the kids. . .there are, of course, things I don’t tell them and photos I don’t show them. Besides the fact that some things once seen can’t be unseen, there is, quite frankly, too much to show. The horror and death and loss is too great to comprehend. But it comes back to this quote–
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
It try to bring it home to the kids by using examples with which they are familiar, “If you have the right shoes, or the right jeans, or the right hair, or live in the right neighborhood, or have the right friends, then you have status in our school. If you are a jock or an emo or a prep or a gangster. . .then you can look down on the ‘wanna-be’s or the nerds or whomever isn’t a part of your exclusive group.” Some of them get it–most of them don’t. But all of them understand that what happened was a bad, bad thing.
This video will be used as a “hook” to introduce the novels from which our students can choose–different stories, but all the same. Intolerance, war, hatred, but ultimately–stories about humanity.
(Click the link below to view the video.)