Institute News

Inside IWitness: "Information Quest: Ruth Brand"

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.

In the Ruth Brand Information Quest, students learn about the life of Holocaust survivor Ruth Brand and create a word cloud of themes that represent her experiences.

Ruth was born in Cuhea, Romania, and worked in her family’s grocery store. She was a dressmaker in Budapest when the war broke out and she returned home to be with her family. They were sent to the Dragomiresti ghetto and then Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Ruth and her cousin, Chaia, were the only ones in the family to survive the selection. Although it was extremely dangerous, Ruth and Chaia decided to fast on Yom Kippur in the camp. Ruth was eventually liberated from Bergen-Belsen and settled in the United States for 25 years before moving to Israel with her husband and sons.

After watching a short video about Ruth’s life, students can watch seven clips about Ruth’s experiences during and after the Holocaust, including “Jewish Persecution, bystander response,” “Deportation conditions,” “Mass murder awareness,” and “Post-liberation.” They choose one clip to be the topic of their word cloud.

The word cloud is made up of words students feel represent the topics and themes in the clip they have chosen, such as emotions, people, places, and events. The size, color and placement of each word should convey a relationship among the words. To end the activity, students write briefly about how they chose their words and constructed their word cloud.