Institute News

Inside IWitness: “Growing Up Behind the Barbed Wire of Auschwitz”

Inside IWitness is an ongoing series that will profile each activity in IWitness, along with a clip featured in the activity and a teacher who uses IWitness in his or her classroom.

The new activity Growing Up Behind the Barbed Wire at Auschwitz is part of IWitness’s Auschwitz: The Past is Present content to commemorate the upcoming 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The activity introduces students to three child survivors of Auschwitz, who were close in age to secondary school students of today when they lived through the Holocaust.

The activity is framed by the famous photograph of children standing behind barbed wire after the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945. Students watch a brief video about the children who survived internment at Auschwitz, including three in the photo whose testimony is in the Visual History Archive: Paula Lebovics, Eva Kor and Eva Slonim.

Students may choose from four videos to watch next: “Arrival to Auschwitz,” “Siblings,” “Personal Resilience,” “Nazi Deception” and “Liberation.” In each video, Lebovics, Kor and Slonim recount various experiences they had at Auschwitz and how they survived.

Next, students construct a Word Cloud for one of the four videos. They choose several words they feel represent the video’s subject and themes and give each word a color and size to reflect its relative importance to the story. They give their Word Cloud a title and description and share it with their classmates.