The Willesden Project commemorates Kindertransport and hails courage of refugees with virtual field trip

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 4:47pm

It was 83 years ago this week that 13-year-old Lisa Jura boarded a Kindertransport train from Vienna to London, the first step in a journey that would be memorably depicted by her daughter Mona Golabek in the acclaimed The Children of Willesden Lane books.

A series of rescue efforts organized by Sir Nicholas Winton, the Kindertransport helped nearly 10,000 Jewish children escape from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia to safety in the United Kingdom.

To mark the anniversary of Lisa Jura’s journey and the Kindertransport, USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education are launching a virtual field trip that will dive into the history and legacy of the Kindertransport and explore with students what it means to be a refugee.

In Making a New Life: The Courage of a Refugee, Golabek accompanies students on a virtual journey with  refugees whose personal narratives span 1930’s Germany to modern-day Syria to learn how refugees adjust to their new homes and cultures with extraordinary strength and resilience.

Another new resource of The Willesden Project--a partnership of USC Shoah Foundation, Hold On To Your Music and the Koret Foundation--the field trip was produced by Discovery Education and USC Shoah Foundation and is suitable for upper elementary and middle school students as well as adult audiences. 

Lesly Culp, Head of Programs in Education at USC Shoah Foundation, said the thematic focus of the field trip is timely.

“As the world faces its largest refugee crisis, it’s critical to increase students’ understanding of these complex and challenging global experiences. By focusing on three personal stories of refugees, we hope to build students’ sense of personal connection and empathy.”

The dynamic new digital experience comes from Teaching with Testimony, an educational program that unlocks the powerful classroom potential of testimony by drawing upon USC Shoah Foundation's vast Visual History Archive.

The field trip is accompanied by a suite of downloadable activities designed to prepare students for themes introduced in the virtual journey as well as extend the learning after watching with a class discussion about the power of story.

Lori McFarling, President of Social Impact at Discovery Education, said the field trip provides teachers with timely material to help students cope with the challenges of today.

“As educators continue to heroically show up for their students, we are proud to support teaching and learning with diverse, high-quality, and standards-aligned resources all at no cost to communities,” she said.

To experience this Virtual Field Trip join us Thursday, December 9th at 10 AM PT / 1PM ET.

Technical issues with the video? Let us know.