Liberation & Survival

The purpose of the the next lessons in the course is to allow students to consider various aspects of the liberation of the camps and the immediate post-war situation of the Jewish survivors.  It is important for students to recognize the challenges faced by the DPs in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, as well as the struggles of those who liberated the camps.  The development of these lessons was influenced by materials from USHMMEchoes and Reflections, the USC-Shoah Foundation and the ten-part mini-series, Band of Brothers.  This lesson takes two full blocks of eighty-six minutes to complete.  All materials listed (minus direct technology) are listed below. 


Core Lesson Concept:  This single day lesson exposes students to an overview of the process of camp liberation as experienced by American soldiers.  Students begin by reading the letter of a camp liberator (I use a local letter but have provided a standard letter for educator use).  They then discuss their reactions to the letter and the fact that it was written by someone who was not much older than they are now.  Next, students view an animated map from USHMM which provides an overview of liberation.  Following some brief questions about the content of the map, they view several testimonies from Echoes and Reflections which ask them to expand upon their responses to the opening document.  The lesson ends with a clip from Episode 9 from the ten-part miniseries Band of Brothers.  The episode is entitled "Why We Fight".  Students end the class by journaling their reactions to the episode, its chosen name and the correlations with prior testimonies. (* I am considering revamping a portion of this lesson to include the USHMM video noted below).


Additional Materials:


Core Lesson Concept:  This single day lesson allows students to ponder some of the challenges faced by survivors following liberation.  Students begin by brainstorming challenges that survivors may have faced following liberation.  After a discussion of these perceived challenges, they view the a testimony from Echoes and Reflections that describes life in a Displaced Persons Camp.   Following the testimony, they examine a secondary source reading which provides a basic overview of the DP camps and related issues.  This provides a springboard into an iWitness activity that asks students to examine the issue of displaced persons and the experiences of individuals who successfully immigrated to the United States.