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How Was It Possible?: A Holocaust Reader

How Was It Possible?: A Holocaust Reader

As the Holocaust passes out of living memory, future generations will no longer come face-to-face with Holocaust survivors. But the lessons of that terrible period in history are too important to let slip past. How Was It Possible?, edited and introduced by Peter Hayes, provides teachers and students with a comprehensive resource about the Nazi persecution of Jews. Deliberately resisting the reflexive urge to dismiss the topic as too horrible to be understood intellectually or emotionally, the anthology sets out to provide answers to questions that may otherwise defy comprehension.

This anthology is organized around key issues of the Holocaust, from the historical context for antisemitism to the impediments to escaping Nazi Germany, and from the logistics of the death camps and the carrying out of genocide to the subsequent struggles of the displaced survivors in the aftermath.

Prepared in cooperation with the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, this anthology includes contributions from such luminaries as Jean Ancel, Saul Friedlander, Tony Judt, Alan Kraut, Primo Levi, Robert Proctor, Richard Rhodes, Timothy Snyder, and Susan Zuccotti. Taken together, the selections make the ineffable fathomable and demystify the barbarism underlying the tragedy, inviting readers to learn precisely how the Holocaust was, in fact, possible.

Click here for more information.

Poster Set on Rescue: Traits that Transcend

The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous offers a set of classroom posters on the rescue of Jews by non-Jews during the Holocaust. This set conveys a crucial message: that the Righteous are not just heroes from the past, but also role models for the present. The posters underscore this idea by linking individual rescuers to character traits exemplified in their stories – traits that are well-known and within reach to young people. The posters are available in English. A version in Spanish will be available in the winter of 2015.

The JFR poster set on rescue is being used in classrooms and Holocaust centers across the country and abroad. The poster set has been published in Croatian and Polish and is being used in secondary schools in both countries. We are pleased to offer this unique educational resource. The handouts are needed if you are using the suggested approaches from the Teachers’ Guide that accompanied your poster set.

You can download any of the individual posters below or purchase a copy from the online store.

Click here to download the full poster set in a ZIP file.

Traits Poster Series: Compassion
Compassion
Olga Rajsek Hasmik
Tigran Tashtshiyan
Traits Poster Series: Cooperation
Cooperation
Preben Munch Nielsen
Dimitar Peshev
Traits Poster Series: Courage
Courage
Marion Pritchard
Irena Sendler
Traits Poster Series: Ingenuity
Ingenuity
Olga Kukovic
Oskar Schindler
Traits Poster Series: Integrity
Integrity
Chiune Sugihara
Eugenia Wasowska
Traits Poster Series: Moral Leadership
Moral Leadership
André Trocmé
Raoul Wallenberg
Traits Poster Series: Self-Sacrifice
Self Sacrifice
Jadviga Knochowicz
Aristides de Sousa Mendes
Traits Poster Series: Social Responsibility
Social Responsibility
Varian Fry
Jerzy Radwanek

WHY TRAITS THAT TRANSCEND?

By exhibiting these traits in their efforts to save Jews, ordinary people transcended their own limitations and the obstacles that stood in their paths.

By affirming the potential they have to show courage or ingenuity or self-sacrifice in their own lives, students will realize that these traits transcend the confines of history.

Danish fishermen (foreground) ferry Jews across a narrow sound to safety in neutral Sweden during the German occupation of Denmark. Sweden, 1943.
From http://www.ushmm.org

Units of Study

The JFR has produced two units of study. One unit addresses the rescue of Jews in Denmark, and the second unit focuses on Zegota, that part of the Polish underground that was established to help Jews. These units, which deal with two themes related to rescue, are designed to be covered in one or two class periods.

Links

America and The Holocaust

This website is based on the PBS documentary, “America and the Holocaust,” a part of the “The American Experience” series. The film is about America’s controversial involvement in World War II and the Holocaust. The site offers primary source documents, a program description, transcripts of the film narration, a teachers’ guide, and links on the subject.

American Red Cross Holocaust and World War II Tracing Program

This website offers information about the American Red Cross Holocaust and World War II Tracing Program that locates and reunites victims of World War II and the Nazi regime.

Anne Frank House

This website offers information about Anne Frank, the house in which she hid, and the diary she kept while in hiding. Included are reactions to the diary from her father, Otto Frank.

Anne Frank Online

This website is sponsored by the Anne Frank Center USA. The site offers information about Anne Frank as a young girl and about the Center. Educational materials and resources are available.

Association of Holocaust Organizations

This website provides information on the AHO, a network of Holocaust organizations throughout the U.S. and the world. The site includes a list of member organizations and links to their websites.

The Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation

This website provides information on the AHO, a network of Holocaust organizations throughout the U.S. and the world. The site includes a list of member organizations and links to their websites.

Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum

This website contains information about the museum as well as the role of Auschwitz during the Holocaust. It also offers teachers and students educational sources for learning more about the Shoah.

The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School: The Nuremberg Trials 

The Nuremberg Trials website gives the visitor access to vital documents relating to the Nuremberg Trials.

The Buchenwald and Mittlebau-Dora Memorials Foundation

The website contains information about the history of the museum and memorial site, and offers education resources for students and teachers concerning the Holocaust.

Center for White Rose Studies

The primary goals of the Center for White Rose Studies include archiving primary and secondary source materials about German resistance (beginning with the White Rose and expanding into lesser-known individuals and groups), translating the sources into English, making the archives accessible to everyone, holding annual conferences to further research regarding German (and other) resistance during the Holocaust, and making materials on the topic available to public schools.

Chambon Foundation

The Chambon Foundation and its website are committed to exploring and sharing the story of the people of Le Chambon, France, who saved 5,000 Jews during the Holocaust. This website provides information about the Foundation and the documentaries in the Foundation’s archives.

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The website provides information on Holocaust restitution, funding programs for Holocaust survivors, and resources for other Holocaust related organizations and non-profits.

Danish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

This website discusses the rescue of the Danish Jews and includes a copy of the Pastoral Letter from the Danish bishops.

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

This website discusses the history of the Dachau concentration camp from its establishment to liberation.

Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies

This website offers information about the archive at Yale University that has a collection of over 3,800 videotaped interviews with witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust. Also included is a catalog and research guide to the archive and a list of edited video programs available for loan to schools and community groups.

Galicia Jewish Museum

The Galicia Jewish Museum’s website includes information about exhibitions, events, and educational programs at the museum, which is located in Krakow, Poland. The main exhibition relates the history of Jewish culture and civilization in Poland through contemporary photographs.

Ghetto Fighters’ House: Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum 

The Ghetto Fighters’ House: Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum’s website contains information about the museum located in Western Galilee, Israel. Along with information about the museum, there is also access to the library, archives and the Museum’s education program.

The Holocaust Chronicle

This website contains the entire copy and images from the companion book of the same name.

Holocaust Resources for Teachers

This site offers information for teachers on educating students about the Holocaust, antisemitism, stereotyping, and World War II. Resources include lesson plans, primary source documents, photo galleries, quizzes, relevant videos, books, and websites, and other teaching materials.

House of the Wannsee Conference

This website discusses the Wannsee Conference and provides documents from it.

Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation

This website tells the story of Jewish partisans who fought back against the Nazis. It contains video-based interviews with Jewish partisans, study guides, and other educational materials.

The Jewish Virtual Library

This website offers information and resources on Jewish history ranging from the Holocaust to Israel-US relations, using sources such as statistics, primary source documents, and maps.

Memorial de la Shoah

This website contains information regarding the history of the Holocaust, including timelines, maps, an encyclopedia, filmographies, and reference texts. It also contains information for teachers, including pedagogical activities, lesson plans, and training sessions.

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews

The museum, which is scheduled to open in 2013, is dedicated to showcasing the history and impact of Jews in Poland. It also offers an education section that provides useful materials for teachers and students concerning Polish-Jewish history and the Holocaust.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

This website contains resources on Jewish history, tradition, and culture, encompassing Jewish life before the Holocaust, during the Holocaust and after the Holocaust. The website also contains educational material including online curricula, online exhibitions, and exhibit information and context.

Justiz und NS-Verbrechen / Nazi Crimes on Trial

This site presents a survey of the more than 900 Nazi trial cases conducted in West Germany since 1945, as well as the more than 900 Nazi trial cases conducted in East Germany since 1945, including the so-called Rehabilitation trials. The site contains a brief description of the subject matter of each of these cases.

The Righteous Gentiles from PBS’s Frontline Program: Shtetl 

This website is devoted to those non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. The site includes five oral histories, biographies, and photographs of rescuers. Also included is information on Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust, information on the Treblinka concentration camp, and classroom activities for teachers.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center

This website offers information on the Center’s Museum of Tolerance located in Los Angeles. Information about Simon Wiesenthal and the Center’s education program is also included.

Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research

This website provides information on the activities of the Task Force.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website provides comprehensive information about the museum and the history of the Holocaust. Included on the site is a historical overview of the Holocaust, educational information, an annotated videography, a photo archive, and a comprehensive listing of Holocaust organizations associated with the museum.

USC Shoah Foundation Institute

This is the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s website. The Shoah Foundation is dedicated to interviewing and archiving the testimonies of survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Holocaust.  It provides access to IWitness, the online application that enables educators and students to search, watch, and learn from more than 1,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.

Varian Fry

This site provides information on Varian Fry, an American who helped save thousands of refugees in France during the Holocaust. He was the first American to be recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Gentile.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem’s website, sponsored by the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, Israel, offers information about events at Yad Vashem and how one can access information from the museum’s photo and film archives. Information is also provided about Yad Vashem’s Holocaust education program for school children.

YIVO

The website contains sources for information pertaining to Eastern European Jewish culture, language, and history. Online exhibitions contain documentation and archival holdings on Jewish History, the Holocaust period, the experience of immigration to the United States, antisemitism,; and the continuing influence of Ashkenazic Jewish culture today.