Echoes and Reflections—a multimedia curriculum on the Holocaust (www.echoesandreflections.org) is the result of an unprecedented partnership, combining the national outreach network of the Anti-Defamation League, the unmatched visual history resources of the Shoah Foundation, and the historical expertise of Yad Vashem. The pedagogical experience of the three organizations produced the most comprehensive curriculum on the Holocaust available to date.
Today, at the Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles, leaders from the three organizations joined to celebrate the launch of this comprehensive new educational resource for American high school students.
Everyday, on high school campuses throughout the U.S., students confront issues of prejudice and bigotry. Echoes and Reflections inspires students to confront the racism and discrimination they face in their own lives. Through the study of the Holocaust, the curriculum helps students connect history with contemporary issues and develop skills to become active members of an informed citizenry, free of racial hatred.
In a videotaped message played at the event, Steven Spielberg, Shoah Foundation founding chairman, said, “ It has always been my dream that the Shoah Foundation’s unique archive of testimonies would transform the way history is taught and learned. Today, that dream is becoming a reality. The partnership we celebrate here today ensures that future generations can learn what survivors and other eyewitnesses to the Holocaust can teach: that our very humanity depends on the practice of tolerance and mutual respect.”
"As the years take us further away from the Holocaust and witnesses pass away, it is incumbent upon us to teach not only the history of that terrible time, but to learn its lessons so that it will never again happen to any people anywhere," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and a Holocaust survivor. "That is the goal of Echoes and Reflections, an innovative and extraordinary teaching tool, of which ADL is proud to be a partner with Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and Yad Vashem."
According to Douglas Greenberg, Shoah Foundation President and CEO, “Echoes and Reflections, with its integration of visual history testimony from the Shoah Foundation archive, provides teachers with a unique and valuable tool: the real life stories of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. These first-person narratives of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses have an important educational value, not only because they support the study of the Holocaust, but also because they often broach questions of fairness, justice, labeling, or scapegoating—issues that adolescents confront in their daily lives. Visual history provides the immediacy and personalization that can make history, and the lessons that students can learn from that history, truly come alive.”
Avner Shalev, Yad Vashem Chairman, explained, "Clearly, this partnership signifies the imperative to remember and to educate about the Holocaust. Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies was able to provide material for this project by drawing upon its own vast pedagogical resources, as well as on other Yad Vashem resources such as the archives, library, art collection, and on-site historians. It is hoped that every pupil who will study Echoes and Reflections will remember this chapter of history and connect with the authentic voices of the witnesses featured in it. By learning about this unprecedented event in western civilization, we hope that students and teachers will infuse it with meaning by upholding human rights, freedom, and the sanctity of life."
Echoes and Reflections is made possible through the generosity of Mr. Yossie Hollander, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who stated, “I am doing it as an investment in the future of all children. Only by learning, facing, and understanding the past, we can hope for a better future. The new multimedia curriculum assures that an important chapter in human history will be taught and remembered, because the next generation of children will not be able to learn and hear about the Holocaust first-hand. The moral, social, political, and human questions raised by the Holocaust will remain with our children forever.”
Ten comprehensive lessons, illustrated with maps, photographs, timelines, glossary, and primary source material,with companion DVD or VHS:
The lessons include segments of video testimonies of Holocaust survivors, rescuers, and American liberators from the Shoah Foundation’s archive, and are intended to help students make connections between questions of cultural diversity, intolerance, and genocide in both past and contemporary settings, placed within an historical context.
The first-person video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses featured in Echoes and Reflections offer distinct perspectives on this historical event. Use of visual history testimonies establishes an emotional connection as students hear survivors share their life stories before the Holocaust, their struggle to survive, and their resiliency of spirit. This opportunity to affect students provides an opening for learning that can continue long after students have left the classroom.
While watching these testimonies, students see a face and hear a voice, helping them realize that behind the statistics of the Holocaust are real people with individual stories to tell. It has never been more important to pay attention to the life stories of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. Their generation is the last one to bear witness to the Holocaust, making their testimony invaluable both as a historical record and as an educational tool for future generations.
The curriculum is designed for high school classes, but can easily be adapted to accommodate other grade levels. The lessons support study in the areas of United States and World History, English, Holocaust Studies, Fine Arts, and Character Education units. All material in Echoes and Reflections meets or reinforces Social Studies and English/Language Arts and Media Literacy and Viewing national standards.
To complement the curriculum, a link from www.echoesandreflections.org will take students to a specific URL where they will find additional material, photos, documents, and more. This added feature will allow them to delve as deeply as they would like into the issue, and to explore other aspects of the Holocaust.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting antisemitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry operating from its New York headquarters and through its 30 Regional Offices around the country and international liaisons.
To explore the enduring impact of the Holocaust and apply its lessons to contemporary issues of prejudice and moral decision-making, ADL’s Braun Holocaust Institute develops and provides programs for educators, students, community leaders, and families—including through its Hidden Child Foundation/ADL.
Bearing Witness is ADL’s nationally acclaimed Holocaust education program developed in partnership with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Archdiocese of Washington, with the support of the National Catholic Educational Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Grosfeld Family ADL National Leadership Youth Mission to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum provides more than 100 high school students each year with a unique opportunity to learn about the Holocaust and its moral lessons through an intensive three-and-one-half day program, which includes a guided tour through the museum, first-hand testimonials from Holocaust survivors and ADL's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute anti-bias programs.
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority was established by the Knesset in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education. Through the International School for Holocaust Studies, the International Institute for Holocaust Research, the Archives, the Library, the Hall of Names, and its museums and memorials, Yad Vashem seeks to meaningfully impart the legacy of the Shoah for generations to come. Drawing on the memories of the past, Yad Vashem aims to strengthen commitment to Jewish continuity, and protect basic human values. Yad Vashem has recently launched its Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names onto the internet and an 11th Hour International Campaign is underway to collect nearly 3 million as yet unidentified Holocaust victims. Yad Vashem has just completed a 10-year campus and program development initiative that culminated in the opening of the new Holocaust History Museum in March 2005.
For more information please visit www.yadvashem.org.
Mr. Hollander is a successful serial entrepreneur and philanthropist. He has 35 years of experience in the software industry and is amongst the pioneers of the Israeli software industry. Yossie founded New Dimension Software Ltd, served as chairman and CEO and took it public (Nasdaq) in 1992. The company was sold to BMC Software in 1999 for $650 million. In 1990, Mr. Hollander founded Jacada (Nasdaq: JCDA) and is currently serving as chairman of the board. Mr. Hollander currently serves as a member of the board of governors and of the executive committee of the Weizman Institute. Yossie currently lives in Irvine and devotes most of his time to charitable activities. He recently helped Yad Vashem launch the database of Holocaust Victims Names. He is currently helping ADL, Yad Vashem and the Shoah Foundation to develop a Holocaust education kit for all US high schools.