Friday, April 24, 2009

Holocaust ID Cards

Inspired by my visit to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum back in December, I decided to assign my students an assignments using the identification cards given out at the museum. For those not familiar, when you enter the museum you are given an ID card with the identity of a Jewish person that experienced the Holocaust.

The ID card is very similar in looks to a passport and inside contain a wealth of knowledge about that particular person, including: name, birth day, place of birth, basic background of their family, a summary of their life during 1933-39 & 1940-44, and of course whether they survived the Holocaust. Below is a basic example of the basic layout of the ID cards

Born Krasnik, Poland
June 15, 1924

Abraham was born to a Jewish family in Krasnik, a town in the Lublin district of Poland. The town had a large Jewish population. Abraham's father was a tailor. When Abraham was 2, his mother died and he was raised by his grandmother. At the age of 7, Abraham started public school.

1933-39: I liked school but it was difficult. The Christian children often yelled at the Jews, "You killed our God." One year, on the day before Christmas break, some kids brought ropes tied to iron weights to school. They waited until after school, so no one could tell the teacher, and then beat up the Jewish kids. Many went home covered in blood. In 1938 I finished public school. The invading Germans reached Krasnik in September 1939.

1940-45: In 1942 I was deported to the Budzyn, Majdanek and Auschwitz camps in Poland, and then Oranienburg and Flossenb├╝rg in Germany. By spring 1945 I was in a group of 500 taken to a farm area in Bavaria. Only 3 SS guards policed 30 of us. When one guard went to the kitchen and the other took men to look for food, I seized my chance. Pushing through the farmhouse gates, I ran into the woods. Shots were fired; I threw myself down. Two escapees fell next to me. We got to the village of Gern just as a U.S. tank appeared.

After the war Abraham lived in Bavaria for three years. He emigrated to Canada in 1949 and then moved to the United States in 1959.
The Assignment
  1. Students were assigned a ID of a person that is the same gender.
  2. Students were asked to keep the background information, beginning, and ending of the ID cards exactly the same (italicized portions of the story).
  3. Students were asked to recall their studies of WWII and the Holocaust to rewrite the sections labeled 1933-39 & 1940-1944.
  4. Students were asked to use real locations and events to help build their rewrite of history and word process the entire identification as a Google Doc.
My students really enjoyed this project, and it has really helped put prospective into their current lessons (WWII) in social studies. You can view an excellent example of this project from one of my students by clicking here.

Mr. McClung

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