Museum Fellowship Lesson Plans

 
  Language study
Hebrew class, Nuremberg Jewish Center 1937.
Courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.



Holocaust Education and World Languages

Mary Mills
County Prep High School (retired)
Jersey City, New Jersey 

 

 
 
Overview

These poetry writing lessons are part of a more extensive 3-4 week unit on the Holocaust that provides students the opportunity to connect history, culture, and language. The students’ reflections on what they have studied will, hopefully, influence their language abilities as well as their approach to moral issues and foster an appreciation for diversity. By using the language of the country, students gain a new perspective. They learn about a major event of the twentieth century from the viewpoint of the target culture. Mary Mills, with Museum Fellow Arlene Hanauer, has co-authored a booklet entitled Holocaust Education and World Languages.

Dr. Mills has also generously provided a supplemental resource to the current lesson with her translation of a collection of poems written by prisoners held at Theresienstadt and later transferred to Auschwitz. The poems (many unsigned) were discovered by Dr. Mills in USHMM archives and provide a revealing insight into the feelings and reactions of their authors to incredibly difficult situations.

Grade Level

High school language classes for 3rd or 4th year students

Curriculum Fit

Foreign Language

Poetry Writing Lessons

Personal Poem: THE HOLOCAUST

Put yourself in the scene and time frame of the Holocaust. You may pretend to be a person who lived at that time, or a pair of shoes, a pair of glasses, or some other personal item. React and explain the situation by writing a personal poem. Use any five or six of the following expressions in order to express your feelings. Choose five or six of the expressions which follow. Complete the sentences with details and personal feelings. Give the title of your poem.

  1. I hear
  2. I see
  3. I feel
  4. I am afraid
  5. I touch
  6. I am like
  7. I believe
  8. I wish

Ein persönliches Gedicht: DER HOLOCAUST 

Stellen Sie sich vor, Sie befinden sich in der Zeit des Holocausts. Sie können ein Mensch oder ein Ding, wie z.B. ein Paar Schuhe oder eine Brille, aus der Zeit des Holocausts sein. Erklären Sie die Situation, indem Sie ein persönliches Gedicht schreiben. Gebrauchen Sie fünf oder sechs der folgenden Ausdrücke, lhre Gefühle auszudrücken. Ausdrücke - Wählen Sie fünf oder sechs aus. Ergänzen Sie die Sätze mit Details. Erklären Sie den Titel des Gedichts. 

  1. Ich höre
  2. Ich sehe 
  3. Ich fühle mich
  4. Ich habe Angst
  5. Ich betaste
  6. Ich bin wie
  7. Ich glaube
  8. Ich wünsche

Un Poème Personnel: L’HOLOCAUSTE

Mettez-vous dans une situation au temps de I'Holocauste. Vous pouvez être une personne qui vivait en ce temps-là, ou une paire de chaussures, de lunettes, ou quelque chose d'autre. Expliquez la situation en écrivant un poème personnel. Utilisez cinq ou six des expressions suivantes pour exprimer vos sentiments. Expressions - Vous allez en choisir cinq ou six. Complétez-les avec les détails et les sentiments. Choisissez un titre. 

  1. J’entends
  2. Je vois
  3. Je me sens
  4. J'ai peur
  5. Je touche
  6. Je suis comme
  7. Je crois
  8. Je souhaite

Un Poema Personale: L'OLOCAUSTO

Impersonificatevi in una situazione al tempo dell' Olocausto. Potete essere un personaggio che viveva a quei tempi, od un paio di scarpe, di occhiali, o qualcos altro. Esplicate la situazione scrivendo un poema personate. Utilizzate cinque o sei tra le seguenti espressioni per esprimere i vostri sentimenti. Espressioni - Sceglientene Cinque o sei. Completare con dettalgli e sentimenti. Che è il titolo della sua poesia?

  1. Io intendo
  2. Io vedo
  3. Io mi sento 
  4. Io ho paura
  5. Io tocco
  6. Io sono come
  7. Io credo
  8. Io auguro

Un Poema Personal: EL HOLOCAUSTO 

Póngase en una situación al tiempo del Holocausto. Puede ser una persona que vivia en esa época, o un par de zapatos, un par de anteojos, u otra cosa. Explique la situación para escribir un poema personal. Use einco o seis de las siguientes expresiones para expresar sus sentimientos. Expresiones - Se puede usar einco o seis. Complete las oraciones con sus detalles y sentimientos. ¿Qué es el título de su poema? 

  1. oigo
  2. veo 
  3. me siento 
  4. tengo miedo
  5. toco 
  6. soy como
  7. creo 
  8. quiero 

Composing Poetry as a Group

  1. Each person is to think about possible answers for the following questions:
    Where does the Holocaust live?
    What does it say to you?
    What is its greatest fear?
    What is its most precious belonging?
  2. On a slip of paper, each person is to write a phrase or short sentence on one of the following topics:
    JOURNEY
    TOY
    LANDSCAPE
    WEATHER
    FURNITURE
    CLOTHING
    MEAL
    DRINK
  3. Each member of the group is to read what he/she has written. 
  4. After each group member has read what he/she has written and the poem has taken form, the group members can decide upon a title for the poem.

Moral Outrage Poem

  1. This is a Persona Poem. In your assigned reading selection, find an aspect of the Holocaust that outrages you. You will become that aspect. For example, you could be an article of clothing, shoes, books, a toy, or a suitcase. You will communicate the mood you feel about that object. Convey a tone of moral outrage. You will be that object and speak through it.
  2. Take notes on that aspect or object. What stands out about it?
  3. Who was involved?
  4. When specifically did this happen?
  5. Where specifically did this occur?
  6. Why specifically did something occur?
  7. How did it happen?

Examples of Student Work

1

 LA MORT VIENT

 J'ENTENDS DES CRIS.

JE VOIS QU'ILS VIENNENT.

JE TOUCHE MA SOEUR.

JE ME SENS QU'ILS LA PRENNENT.  

JE CROIS QU'ELLE VA MOURIR.

J'AI PEUR

 

2

 LES CHAUSSURES!!!

JE VOIS LES GENS, QUI TOMBENT.

JE TOUCHE LE SANG DES ENFANTS.

J'ENTENDS LE PAS DU SOLDAT.

J'AI PEUR D'ÊTRE SEUL.

JE SOUHAITE QUE J'AIE LA LIBERTÉ .

 

3

LE FRAYEUR

JE VOIS LA PEUR DANS LEURS YEUX.  

JE ME SENS TRÈS ISOLÉ

J'AI PEUR DE M'ENDORMIR.

JE CROIS EN DIEU.

JE SOUHAITE QUE L'HAINE N'EXISTE PAS.

 

4

MA DOLEUR

JE VOIS LA PEUR DANS LES YEUX DE TOUT LE MONDE.

J'ENTENDS LA TRISTESSE DANS LEURS VOIX.

JE ME SENS LA DOULEUR DANS MON COEUR.

JE SOUHAITE QUE TOUT S'EN AILLE.

JE TOUCHE LA TERRE OÙ JE MARCHE.

JE CROIS QUE TOUT EST FINI.

 

Evaluation / Assessment

As far as assessing students' poetry projects is concerned, I assigned an "A" for completion of the project. This poetry is an emotional response.

 

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