INFERRING HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Students will be able to…
- Develop inferences after viewing each of the survivors’ testimonies
- Gather evidence in order to support their conclusions
- Demonstrate an understanding of collecting evidence from the survivors’ testimonies in order to support their inferences
- Collect, analyze and report on information gathered from Holocaust survivor testimony
READING & GROUP DISCUSSION: NIGHT
Begin by reading the excerpt from Night by Elie Wiesel (Reading: Night). Share your initial reactions to the excerpt in a small group or with your class.
It may be difficult for us to imagine being separated from our families without resistance or fighting back. However, Jews had experienced steadily increasing persecution and dehumanization by the Nazis. (You may wish to review the Reading: Antisemitism and Reading: Life under Nazism.)
Re-reading the excerpt from Night what can you infer about the character’s responses to being separated from his mother and sister?
VIEWING THE TESTIMONY: INTERPRET HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Before viewing the testimony excerpts, review the biographies of the three survivors. For this activity, you may work individually with one testimony and then share in a small group, or you could view each of the testimony excerpts and reach conclusions about each one.
Once you have viewed the clip, interpret the historical perspective of the survivor. Using the suggested excerpts, including those from the previous activity, what information can you gather that would support an evidence-based interpretation of Holocaust survivors’ perspectives on the separation from their families? For each interpretation, make reference to specific evidence that supports your conclusions. You may want to seek out other historical statistics or data that can support your interpretations.
RESPONDING TO THE TESTIMONY: TABLEAU
A tableau is a frozen scene from history. In a small group, present a tableau of family separation from the historical perspective of one of the survivors whose testimony you have viewed. Your teacher may ask you to include some of the following options to enhance the tableau:
- You may add props.
- You may wish to select a narrator who will provide context to each scene.
- Allow tapping-in – you may tap the shoulder of a character and ask a question. Students in the tableau must respond in character.
After each tableau or at the end of the class, have a class discussion. The following prompts may be helpful:
- What perspectives or ideas of the time was the group reflecting?
- Was this a plausible recreation of the past?
- What other plausible choices might the group have made?
- Were any choices hard to understand?
- What information would have helped us to better understand the historical perspective?
 With thanks to Seixas, P. & Morton, T. (2013) The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts. Nelson Education Ltd; Toronto, ON.