Pre–World War II European Jewish Life Photo Project
PURPOSE OF LESSON
This project provides an opportunity to engage the students in thoughtful research and analysis of what life was like for Jews living in Europe before the German occupation (between the World Wars) by finding photographs and information about the places the photos were taken. The lesson also provides an opportunity for students to relate their own lives to those of the Jews at that time in a more personal way by finding their own family photos to parallel the ones researched. This exercise helps them focus on individuals rather than on numbers or groups of people.
GOALS FOR STUDENT UNDERSTANDING
- Students will develop an understanding of pre–World War II Jewish religious, cultural, and communal life in Europe in order to distinguish individual lives from the statistics of the Holocaust.
- Students will develop an understanding of the importance of recognizing and appreciating differences, whether individual, cultural, religious, or otherwise.
WHAT STUDENTS WILL DO TO BUILD THEIR UNDERSTANDING
- Students will locate and examine pre–World War II Jewish religious, cultural, and communal life in Europe through photographs from that time.
- Students will interpret what some aspects of pre–World War II Jewish life in Europe may have been like and relate that to their own lives.
- Students will research information about the locales of photographs collected to discover different aspects of Jewish life before and after Nazi occupation.
- Students will analyze photographs collected and the research gathered on different Jewish communities.
- Students will evaluate Jewish life in Europe before World War II and describe it in a follow-up writing assignment.
- Students will synthesize the goals of the project through class discussion at the end of the lesson to process the individuality of Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust.