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Thursday, June 15, 2017
Summer might be a break for students, but as an educator, I know teachers are busy enhancing their skills and knowledge to improve their curriculum and students’ overall experience in their classrooms. As you contemplate lesson plans for the upcoming year, will you be planning a unit or lesson about the Holocaust? Do you feel you have enough knowledge about the topic to teach it well? How will you introduce your students to that history and experiences? What readings and resources will you use? What approach will you take with this sensitive topic?
Monday, April 10, 2017
Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah as it’s known in Hebrew, commemorates and honors the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. This year, people around the world will remember the victims of the Holocaust April 23- 24, 2017.
Monday, February 13, 2017
I recently was an expert witness from October 11-13, 2016, at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh, the so-called Khmer Rouge Tribunal that was established in 2001. When I mention this to colleagues, a typical response is, “That’s still going on?”  Indeed. Many forget the train that runs direct from USC to Long Beach takes you to the largest concentration of Cambodian survivors in the United States, where elders make daily offerings to ancestors in their homes or Buddhist temples.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
What I’ve learned, looking back at my family history and while working at USC Shoah Foundation, is how to do resistance. That’s how you do resistance. You see injustice and you tirelessly fight against it.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
At a first glance The Yellow Spot: The Extermination of the Jews in Germany is a book about the Holocaust. But in fact, it was published in 1936, after just three years of Nazi rule — and a full five years before the first gas chambers were commissioned for the murder of European Jewry. The authors spend 287 pages detailing a series of laws and actions taken against the Jews. Their conclusion was that the “legal disability” being imposed by the Nazis upon the Jews ultimately would result in their elimination. (Originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.)
Friday, March 31, 2017
Educators share how they teach with eyewitness testimony for April's Genocide Awareness Month.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
As a teenager, it is hard to know how I can make a difference in the world. Fourteen-year-olds don’t drive, we don’t make a lot of money, and with school, homework and extracurricular activities, we don’t have a lot of time. When my teacher, Ms. Bengels, introduced me to a challenge that was not only about bettering the community, but also a way in which I could use my passion for documentary filmmaking, I leapt at the opportunity. The IWitness Video Challenge not only allowed me to pursue my passion but also encourage me to make a difference.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Middle school can be complicated. As students, we are preparing to go into high school, making new friends, going to our first dances, and unfortunately for too many of us having to deal with constant bullying. While there are those who might be the perpetrators and victims, there are many of us who are the bystanders and it is our duty to stand up against any form of discrimination. I learned through Holocaust survivor testimony that there are many ways to stand up for others.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
My friends Allison (Ally) Vandal, Maya Montell and I worked with our fabulous teacher, Emily Bengels, to create a group called Poet’s Undercover Guild (PUG). With this “guild”, we drew inspiration from testimony found in USC Shoah Foundation’s educational platform, IWitness to create our winning video “A Community of Poetry.”
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Through testimony of genocide survivors from the Visual History Archive, it is possible to examine how stereotypes manifest into society and fuel prejudice.
Friday, April 21, 2017
At this time of remembrance, I hope I am incorrect in thinking that public awareness of the Shoah is eroding. Information about this act of atrocity is still proliferating, so unawareness clearly cannot be attributed to absent knowledge. There is, in fact, an incredible amount of knowledge … and a growing reluctance to understand it.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Drag Queen, talented businessman and my icon RuPaul once stated, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?”
Thursday, July 20, 2017
A friend asked me whether I could help her with something. She knew I work with testimonies of Holocaust survivors in education and thought I could help her. We met over a coffee in a hipster place. There, she told me that her son suddenly started talking about Hitler. He talked about him all the time. Hitler and Nazis became a permanent conversation topic at their home, and she did not know what to do. “But he is too young for what I do,” I heard myself saying.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
What are the pillars of modern democracy and how can democracy be defended in days of crisis? These questions keep coming to me these days, when Poland faces a really serious crisis that so far has caused a huge polarization in Polish society that divides neighbors, colleagues, friends, even families. Being an educator for almost 30 years, teaching first young students, then teenagers and finally teachers about history, civil rights and human rights, I have realized what a huge setback the Polish educational system has suffered.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
In the collective memory, the February Revolution has faded or been mixed with the October Revolution, which happened eight months later and defined the trajectory of the Russian history for the next 70 years. However, the memory of the February Revolution is preserved in several eyewitness testimonies to the Holocaust in the Visual History Archive.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
As an educator you might be thinking how to get started with the IWitness Video Challenge. How do you encourage your students to make a difference? How do you incorporate video editing? Well, we have the answers to these questions from actual IWitness educators.
Friday, May 5, 2017
I had interviewed dozens of Gabersdorf survivors, discovered there had been 10 other women’s slave labor camps in Trutnov, then Trautenau, Sudetenland and that the 5,000 Polish Jewish women trafficked to Trutnov were among the first to be imprisoned in Nazi camps and the last to be liberated, on May 8th--9th, 1945. Didn’t they deserve to be honored, too?
Monday, March 13, 2017
During a recent Twitter chat, #IWitnessChat hosted by Discovery Education, teachers shared how they are integrating the IWitness Video Challenge into their classrooms. Explore their insights and tips to help encourage your students to participate in the 2017 IWitness Video Challenge.
Friday, December 1, 2017
The day after Thanksgiving, the New York Times published an article called “In America’s Heartland, the Nazi Sympathizer Next Door,” by Richard Fausset. It profiles Tony Hovater, a 29-year-old far-right extremist and Nazi sympathizer who lives in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
When I visited Nazi death camps in 2014, I viewed spaces filled with the spirits of so many lives lost and witnessed the end result of evil, intolerance, and hatred. I left the gas chambers at Auschwitz and Majdanek that summer thinking that the sick, twisted ideology that drove the Nazis and was fueled by hatred and ignorance no longer existed in the 21st Century, especially in the United States. I naively believed Nazi ideology had ceased to exist with the end of World War II and the Holocaust.
Monday, May 1, 2017
One would think that the grandson of four Polish Holocaust survivors would have an in-depth knowledge of the Shoah, but it was quite the contrary. The Holocaust was a topic that was never discussed when I was growing up. When it was introduced, it was in the most unconventional way, through satire film and television. I knew this was just a facade draped over the painful truth.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
The Holocaust is inarguably the most heinous crime against a group of people we have seen in modern times. Despite decades of wrestling with how such an atrocity could have occurred and the postwar generation promising never again, history keeps repeating itself. Therefore, the collection and the custody of testimonies from those who bear witness remains a necessary task for as long as inhumanities keep occurring. Genocide and crimes against humanity transcend religions, cultures, languages, geographic regions, socioeconomics, gender, age, etc., making testimony collection across all cultures not only a moral responsibility, but imperative given the mission of USC Shoah Foundation. We know for sure that under a certain set of circumstances, genocide could happen anywhere, and again.