COLLECTING ORAL HISTORIES
Students will be able to…
- Explore the new identities Holocaust survivors have constructed after leaving their home countries and arriving in Canada
- Learn about the experiences of Holocaust survivors starting new lives in Canada and how these shaped their identities
- Recognize and assess the social, financial, and economic issues survivors faced after arriving in Canada
- Collect, analyze, and report on information gathered from Holocaust survivor testimonies
CLASS DISCUSSION: CONSTRUCTING A NEW IDENTITY
Begin by reviewing the Holocaust experiences of Lillian N., Jannushka J. and Leon K (b. 1915). The biographies will be helpful in contextualizing their experiences and explaining where they were at the end of the war.
As a class, view the excerpts, one at a time. Using evidence gathered from the excerpts, discuss how these survivors have constructed a new identity for themselves after the Holocaust. What internal and external factors have helped to shape their identities?
ACTIVITY: COLLECTING ORAL HISTORIES
Using the testimonies and biographies within this website, you will be able to “interview” a Holocaust survivor. As a class, in small groups or individually, develop a series of questions that you would like to ask a survivor about their immigration to Canada. Some suggested topics include:
- What was your life like after liberation?
- Where did you want to go?
- How did you get there?
- How did you immigrate to Canada?
- Where did you settle?
As you view the testimonies, you may choose to collect notes about one person, or you may want to listen to many testimonies to create a larger story of immigration.
To conduct the “interview,” view one of the testimonies and create a timeline of the survivor’s immigration to Canada.
To extend the activity, you can compare your timeline to the historical events occurring in Europe and Canada during the same time period.