Lesson Objectives: As a result of the lesson, students will:
Key Glossary Terms: The following glossary terms are used in Lesson 2.
Reading: Reading 2A, "Why Study the Holocaust?" (20 minutes)
NOTE TO TEACHER: "Why Study the Holocaust?" is an important foundation for the unit. The teacher should closely guide students through the reading.
1. How was the Holocaust different from other mass murders or "genocides"?
Suggestions for discussion: The four points in the reading which address this question can be summarized by:
2. What benefits can be derived from a study of the Holocaust?
Suggestions for discussion: This question focuses on the potential consequences of apathy, indifference and of not assuming the responsibility for others. Along with this, and equally important, the study of the Holocaust teaches how fragile democracies are and the danger in abdicating our rights as free citizens. Students may offer other responses.
3. In light of the comment on the video, what do you think the scholar meant by "After Auschwitz, anything is possible"?
Suggestions for discussion: The question points to ominous warnings about the future. Once an event has occurred, argues the author, it can occur again-indeed, it is more likely to occur again. Having happened, the Holocaust, according to this logic, may happen again. Beyond this, the Holocaust points to even greater potential disaster: perhaps a nuclear holocaust or national or world-wide catastrophes.
Reading: Reading 2B, "The Story of the Two Nathans," (10 minutes)
1. What are the similarities and differences in the two stories?
Suggestions for discussion: Although students may point out the obvious similarities-the two boys have the same name, are the same age, are both late-the most significant similarity is that the parents of both children worry about their sons. This unit is about the fear of parents for their children. Parents everywhere worry about children, but this unit is not about the fear that parents experience in the United States. It is about the fear that comes from knowing a child, all children, might be coldly, technologically, thoughtlessly murdered-a fear without hope.
2. What might be occurring to some other teenager somewhere in the world at the moment you are reading this that is comparable to what Nathan C. in Krakow experienced?
Suggestions for discussion: This question might draw attention to injustices occurring in this country or elsewhere. The teacher may want to refer to a daily newspaper for examples of situations which might be used to answer this question.
Reading: Reading 2C, "Quotations by Pastor Niemoeller and John Donne," (15 minutes)
1. What does Pastor Niemoeller imply about speaking up for the rights of others?
Suggestions for discussion: Pastor Niemoeller's remarks seem to focus on self-interest. He recognized that people were concerned with their own welfare and not that of potential victims. But his statement goes beyond self-care for each other. Individuals would then protect themselves by protecting others. Had more people spoken up for the Communists (the first to be taken by the Nazis), perhaps the Jews, trade unionists, Catholics and Protestants could have been saved.
2. What does John Donne mean by "no man is an island"?
Suggestions for discussion: "No man is an island" means that no person is alone and implies that anyone's death affects those who are left alive. The idea of mankind as a continent, diminished by the loss of any part, is powerful and graphic. Donne's famous statement refers to the oneness of mankind or the unity of the human race and the interdependence of groups and individuals. The victims of the Holocaust were cut adrift from the rest of the world, isolated and abandoned by neighbors, their fellow human beings. The extermination of the six million Jews represented a loss for the rest of mankind.
NOTE TO TEACHER: These two quotations embody some of the major issues raised by the Holocaust. They may sound abstract but have concrete applications and raise questions about daily behavior, the responsibility of each to others, the responsibility to see people not as objects but as persons. These are questions of "species consciousness," sympathy for the plight of fellow humans.
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