Passover, Bergen-Belsen, 1945. These two thoughts do not belong together: Bergen-Belsen, the epitome of captivity; Passover, the celebration of freedom from slavery.
passover, religion, bergen-belsen, op-eds / Friday, April 22, 2016
News of the deadly bombs that ripped apart the Brussels airport terminal last month sent a shockwave through me. I know that line, that place. I have stood in that spot. The “what if” scenario is not what troubles me most, however.
GAM, Tolerance, education, op-eds / Wednesday, April 27, 2016
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 May 4-5, 2016.
GAM, holocaust, Rememberance, yom hashoah, iwitness, op-eds / Tuesday, May 3, 2016
As the son of two survivors of the Shoah and the husband of a daughter of two survivors, identifying as the Next Generation has been the essence of who I am. It is the prism through which I see and evaluate all worldly events. It was particularly my father’s life that affected me the most. He truly was a “survivor." He survived the war running for his life through Russia, Siberian labor camps and other lands in Asia. He survived losing his parents, five of his sisters their husbands and children. He escaped from his hometown in the Russian sector to a displaced person camp in in the American sector. He survived as a refugee in Belgium and then as an immigrant in the United States. He survived the loss of his wife at a young age raising three children as a single parent in a foreign land.
yom hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Next Generation, beginswithme, op-eds / Thursday, May 5, 2016
A few weeks ago, a student I was interviewing for a profile I was writing on him for USC Shoah Foundation’s website said something interesting: “Growing up Jewish, the Holocaust is pretty much always there.” I could identify. As someone who went to Hebrew school twice a week, every week, from the age of 5 to 13, the Holocaust was something I was always aware of. I was taught about it frequently, both in religious and regular school.
holocaust, education, usc, Israel, op-eds / Thursday, May 5, 2016
In just a few days, I’ll be graduating with my bachelors in International Relations from USC. As I sit here writing this piece, I have a chance to reflect on these three years of fundamental personal and academic growth, and in particular, on my incredibly rewarding intern experience at USC Shoah Foundation.
USCGrad, usc, Graudation, intern, reflection, op-eds / Wednesday, May 11, 2016
You never know what you will find in the Visual History Archive. You hear stories of survival, death, life, hope and even friendship amidst the chaos of genocide. Sidney Shafner and Marcel Levy have remained friends for over 70 years – since the liberation of the concentration camp Dachau.
testimony, friendship, Sidney Shafner, Marcel Levy, liberation, op-eds / Wednesday, May 18, 2016
The young Nazi approached 13-year-old Szulem Czygielmamn as he walked on the sidewalk of Lubartowska Street in Lublin, Poland, and shoved him off the sidewalk. Szulem was lucky; Jews had died for less.
Israel, holocaust survivor, résistance, op-eds / Friday, May 27, 2016
Bertram Schaffner’s story is a unique one because of the multiple roles he played as a gay German American during the period that saw the rise of Nazi Germany and the outbreak of World War II.
gay, homosexual, paragraph 175, gay rights, gay pride, Bertram Schaffner, op-eds / Tuesday, June 7, 2016
“Oskar Schindler saved my life but Steven Spielberg gave me a voice,” Holocaust survivor Celina Biniaz.
schindlers list, celina biniaz, memory, op-eds / Tuesday, June 14, 2016
June 20th is recognized by the United Nations as International Refugee Day to raise awareness of the plight of the refugees around the world. In the Visual History Archive, the testimonies of genocide survivors include their personal experiences as refugees. As of now, the world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. To shed light on the current and past refugee crisis explore 10 interesting facts about the refugee experience.
World Refugee Day, op-eds / Friday, June 17, 2016
At its physical core, USC Shoah Foundation is an impressive bank of computers and programs that bring the testimony of genocide survivors to people around the world. It’s a complicated and mysterious process for those who don’t have advanced degrees. But beyond the connections of wires and microchips, there is something far more mysterious and complicated going on: the human connection that takes place between people from different times, different places and different backgrounds when they engage with testimony.
op-eds / Tuesday, June 28, 2016
I see two pictures of America. One that is open, free, respectful, fun-loving. The other which is divisive, fearful, angry, and violent. These two Americas have much that sets them apart, but they share missing elements, because neither America is integrated, fair, multicultural, embracing, or color-blind. Not in practice anyhow.
civil rights, Stephen Smith, op-eds / Tuesday, July 12, 2016
As the sun sets on the Danube River, I felt the need to pinch myself. I am really here in Budapest? It doesn’t feel so far away from my home in Los Angeles. But looking at the architecture and the castle in the distance, I fall in love with the romance of this old European city.
master teacher, budapest, History, holocaust, op-eds / Thursday, July 14, 2016
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?
echoes and reflections, back to school, iwitness, backtoschoolwithIWitness, op-eds / Thursday, June 15, 2017
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a Portuguese diplomat stationed in Bordeaux in the late 1930s who issued tens of thousands of visas to Jewish families, in direct violation of anti-Jewish laws instituted by Portugal’s fascist government at the time. For this act of resistance, Sousa Mendes faced trials and conviction, leaving him to live out the rest of his life in poverty and disgrace, and his 15 children scattered all over Europe and the U.S.
aristides de sousa mendes, upstander, GAM, résistance, op-eds / Friday, August 5, 2016
Maximilian Kolbe, born in Poland in 1894, was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. He spent most of his life studying theology and dedicating himself to the church, traveling across Europe and Asia during his lifetime.
St Kolbe, résistance, GAM, op-eds / Friday, August 12, 2016
Poland’s new right-wing government wants to change the way children in that country learn about the Holocaust, casting Poles as only victims or heroes. In this new narration, the Polish people were always helping the weak, were good neighbors and cared about minorities.
education, poland, Kielce, Jedwabne, GAM, op-eds / Monday, August 15, 2016
Polski nowy, prawicowy rząd chce zmienić sposób nauczania polskich uczniów o Zagładzie Żydów, kreując Polaków na wyłącznie ofiary lub bohaterów. W tej nowej narracji Polacy zawsze pomagali słabszym, byli dobrymi sąsiadami i dbali o mniejszości.
poland, Eduction, blog, op-eds / Monday, August 15, 2016
Students and teachers can now download their video projects constructed in IWitness using the WeVideo editor and their word clouds built in the Information Quest activities. So here are three easy steps for students and teachers to download their work from IWitness!
backtoschoolwithIWitness, iwitness, education, op-eds / Tuesday, August 16, 2016
As you prepare your lessons plans for this year’s school year explore seven reasons why you should teach with testimony.
backtoschoolwithIWitness, iwitness, Teaching with Testimony, back to school, op-eds / Friday, August 26, 2016
As an educator who has used IWitness to teach various subjects, units and topics here are some tips to integrating testimony into any curriculum, including Science.
backtoschoolwithIWitness, Teaching with Testimony, iwitness, IWitness17, Science, op-eds / Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Much like testimony shows how regimes have constructed borders; testimony demonstrates how individuals can construct bridges to connect with people of different beliefs and identities.
testimony, Tolerance, Election 2016, op-eds / Monday, October 10, 2016
The Kristallnacht pogrom was a critical turning point on the path to genocide, and all of our #IWitnessChat participants agreed that using testimony is a meaningful way for students to understand and connect with the event. Hearing survivors’ detailed accounts of this night makes it much more accessible to students.
GAM, kristallnacht, iwitness, echoes and reflections, education. Holocaust, op-eds / Wednesday, November 2, 2016
The archive was taken in 56 countries, 21 of which were in Central and South American. Ana is just one of the 1,352 who chose Spanish as their language of choice, while another 560 chose to speak Portuguese.
op-eds / Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Several months ago in my former senior high school class, students were introduced to the ideas of illiberalism.  When discussing this issue, students are faced with how governments will apply laws and acts during times of crisis, as well as everyday life, that would limit or suspend civil liberties of any individual or group. 
GAM, #BeginsWithMe, testimony, teaching, education, visual history archive, op-eds / Friday, November 18, 2016
As educators, we are asked to help our students effectively process the outcome of our elections and the implications it may have in their communities. In doing so, we need to find ways to provide them a safe and supportive place to understand their changing roles.
#BeginsWithMe, #GivingTuesday, iwitness, education, 100 Days, op-eds / Monday, November 28, 2016
As fall meets winter, we find ourselves in the seasonal in-between – summer is gone and winter is not yet biting. Yet it is in the in-between that we find moments for appreciation with friends and family. We create these moments in the cycle of the seasons. I think about what it means to live in the in-between – in a place of ambiguity and uncertainty where we must negotiate both the successes and the struggles of daily life. Progress propels us forward, but sometimes it is a roller coaster rather than the smooth gradient we may wish for.
#BeginsWithMe, gratitude, #GivingTuesday, testimony, GAM, op-eds / Wednesday, November 23, 2016
For six months this spring and summer, I had the pleasure of leading a team of staff and volunteers facilitating the beta run of New Dimensions in Testimony (NDT) from USC Shoah Foundation at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. I watched people of all ages approach the giant monitor displaying an image of Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, first with trepidation, then curiosity, then, at last, affection. Here are a few things that I learned about technology and humanity from the project.
New Dimensions in Testimony, ndt, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, op-eds / Friday, December 2, 2016

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