First Online French Lesson Used by Students in France
"Wearing the Yellow Star"
June 28, 2011
New Lesson Posted Online
The first French-language classroom lesson based on video testimonies from the Institute's archive, entitled Être Juif en France pendant l'Occupation. Expériences vécues de la persécution : le port de l'étoile jaune (Being Jewish in France during the Nazi Occupation. Living the experience of persecution: Wearing the yellow star), is now available on the Institute's website. The lesson, which incorporates video clips and written documents, focuses on the Yellow Star Decree imposed on France in May 1942 that made it mandatory for Jewish people over the age of six to wear a yellow star in public in the occupied zone, a fundamental step in the process of social exclusion. The lesson reflects on the consequences of discrimination: questions of Jewish identity, reactions of majority population, and gestures of solidarity.
A Classroom Project in France, fall 2010 - spring 2011
Over the course of 2010-2011 school year, 14 year-old students of Jean-Baptiste Clément College in Colombes (suburb of Paris) worked with the Wearing the yellow star lesson and also with the single testimony of Holocaust survivor Robert Wajcman, one of 1,855 interviews in the Institute's French-language collection. By conducting individual research about the places where Wajcman was interned - Fort of Montluc Prison; Theresienstadt Ghetto; the concentration camps at Drancy, Auschwitz III-Monowitz, and Buchenwald- students were able to engage in discussion of historical content and to explore the specificity of video testimony as a primary source.
On May 5, 2011, Robert Wajcman, 81, visited the classroom to share his story with a larger group of 70 students, followed by a more intimate discussion with the students immediately engaged in the project. Differences between the testimony recorded in 1997 and the narration that took place in 2011 were probed, among other topics.