Over 25 ATT educators recently joined three speakers who provided different perspectives of inspiration based on their personal experiences. The event was presented by ATT’s Kirsche Department of Holocaust studies.
A sense of gratitude filled those educators who were able to learn from these incredible experiences. One ATT teacher participant was grateful to hear the touching set of first-person memories and says, “These men are rarer than diamonds and are to be cherished.”
Finding ways for Holocaust education to be a meaningful experience for students at various ages is a fine balance. Fortunately, the speakers provided inspiration and practical tools for effectively and meaningfully teaching the Holocaust.
Inspiration in faith, tradition and strength
There is much to be gained from hearing the first-hand accounts of survivors and relatives of survivors. The lessons and stories can enrich education and inspire students.
Rabbi Yosef C. Golding is the son-in-law of Rabbi Yosef Friedenson, a survivor of Nazi atrocities. Rabbi Golding wrote Faith Amid the Flames depicting his father-in-law’s uncrushable Jewish spirit. Rabbi Friedenson’s optimistic confidence in a brighter future is thanks to his emunah and fortitude during the war and beyond as he built a family and legacy
The book depicts numerous examples of kiddush Hashem displayed in the ghettos, concentration camps and DP camps.
Mr. Israel Starck, a Holocaust survivor, author and lecturer emphasizes that educators must teach how the Jews lived, not how they died. He encourages teachers to make the teachings uplifting and relevant with lessons of how the Jews lived during their pre-war life and during the Nazi atrocities. These stories can inspire students and make them realize the importance of their Jewish mesorah.
Teaching stories that occurred during liberation is another strategy that will also provide meaningful lessons of resilience to children of any age. Mr. Starck writes of these experiences in his book, A Boy Named 68818.
Rabbi Dr. Yitzchak Shkop, a son of Holocaust survivors of Auschwitz, was raised in a community of survivors. He described witnessing the unbelievable relationships that fellow survivors had for each other and how they reconstructed their lives with supreme emunah in G-d after the war.
This rebuilding was a product of their suffering. They saw everything in life – both large and small – as a gift, a miracle and a joy. They had no daily expectations and appreciated all aspects of life.
These three perspectives underscoring emunah, mesorah, strength and gratitude were all well-received and will further the teaching of Churban Europe through a lens of inspiration.