One and a half million Jewish children perished during the Holocaust. Of the 6 to eleven percent of Europe’s Jewish children who survived, many did so because they went into hiding. For parents and children, hiding meant finding rescuers who were willing to provide refuge and to risk severe punishment. Both the Jewish families going into hiding as well as the rescuers taking them in encountered daunting challenges.
Many children were forced to separate from their families when going into hiding or when they were sent to other countries. In many cases, the separation from their families became permanent. Younger children, especially, were unable to understand why their parents had left them. Over the course of the Holocaust, children often had to move from one refuge to another. Some hidden children lived under false identity papers passing as non-Jews living with families of different religious backgrounds. Others were kept in secret locations.
Experiences during hiding often had lifelong effects on the survivors of the Holocaust.
This teaching resource facilitates student engagement with historical context and individual testimonies from the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre’s collection.
The activities are recommended for students of grades eight to 12, with adaptations possible for intermediate grades.
An investigation of testimony and primary source material fosters historical and critical thinking skills in students.
The guide complements the VHEC collection of testimonies, and is divided into three sections.
The NOW activities introduce students to the theme of the lesson cluster and engage them with selected testimonies. If a teacher only has one class in which to engage with Primary Voices, this is the recommended lesson.
The NEXT lesson deepens students’ engagement with the theme, introducing a greater range of testimonies.
Finally, the BEYOND activities encourage teachers and students to choose their own inquiry questions. They are encouraged to explore the VHEC archives collection in greater depth.
SUMMARY OF LESSONS
Students will engage in an activity designed to help them to understand the concepts of child survivor and hidden child. Three survivor testimonies are viewed to allow students to brainstorm and discuss the meaning of a hidden child. Finally, the students create Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast the two terms.
Students work individually and then share with the class their brainstorming about certain aspects of life in hiding. While viewing testimony, students will use a web diagram to record specific examples of life in hiding. The activity is followed by a class discussion through which students share their findings and responses to the testimony.
Using the Activity Sheet: The Inquiry Cycle as a guide, and incorporating recommended testimonies as a source, students will design a powerful question related to the theme of hiding during the Holocaust.