Bringing the Holocaust Unit to Closure: Implications for the Future
PURPOSE OF LESSON
Students must recognize the relevance of the Holocaust in our world affairs today and the role of individuals and communities in preventing dehumanization. Exploring Elie Wiesel’s speech at the opening of the Holocaust Museum in depth shows students several things. First, it demonstrates that in this country a private citizen can question the President of the United States and urge action. Elie Wiesel put President Clinton on the spot, in a very public way. I would like to believe that this had something to do with the way the President addressed the Balkan crisis. When action was taken, the President called in Wiesel to let him know that he had been heard. It is important for students to know that one individual can make a difference, and that the government is accountable to us! Second, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard in a democratic nation. With rights, comes responsibility.
GOALS FOR STUDENT UNDERSTANDING
Ultimately, I want students to walk away from this lesson with three things in mind.
- Remembrance: The Holocaust is not just about the six million. It is also about the loss of future generations. What future doctors, scientists, artists, writers, philosophers were never allowed to develop? As the Jews were killed, their progeny, our future leaders and our human potential were also lost.
- Relevance: Students must understand that the lessons of the Holocaust are present in our daily lives and directly connected to world events. The names and places may change, but the lessons are still applicable.
- Responsibility: Students need to recognize their own responsibility in making sure that genocide does not happen again. We must all take action and respond whenever we see hatred, prejudice, and antisemitism.
WHAT STUDENTS WILL DO TO BUILD THEIR UNDERSTANDING: LESSON OBJECTIVES
- Students recognize the impact of the Holocaust on postwar and future generations.
- Students begin to understand the importance of moral decision making in both their individual and public lives.
- Students delineate and learn to appreciate their role and importance as a citizen of their own communities and the larger global community.