Institute News

Inside IWitness: “Auschwitz – Inner Strength, Outward Resistance”

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.

Through an analysis of testimony, students learn about the resistance efforts that took place in the Auschwitz camp complex and about the meaning of resistance in the context of the Holocaust in the new MiniQuest Auschwitz – Inner Strength, Outward Resistance.

Students watch several clips of survivors talking about forms of resistance they engaged in while interned at Auschwitz. Itka Zygmuntowicz says that for her, simply surviving and keeping her spirit and sense of hope alive was a way for her to resist the Nazis. Ruth Brand talks about fasting on Yom Kippur in Auschwitz and Herschel Balter sang traditional songs, which helped him retain his humanity and sense of hope. Finally, Anna Heilman talks about hiding gunpowder for the Sonderkommando who were plotting to blow up one of the crematoria in Auschwitz.

After watching all the clips, students are asked to write a poem or construct a collage that reflects how people resisted, the risks they took, and the students’ personal thoughts. They can then set up a class “gallery” to view each other’s work, and select two pieces to comment on.