The International School for Holocaust Studies
The Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators
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- Vanessa Hall
Brisbane Catholic Education Office
The concept of personal choice and responsibility through the lens of the Holocaust
The unit will explore the concept of personal choice and responsibility through the lens of the Holocaust. The unit could be taught at the same time as the Australian Curriculum – History unit on World War II. Thus students will gain a moral and spiritual understanding to support their study of the Holocaust and hopefully provide a future perspective to the issue.
The students would engage in activities that explore the stories of Le Chambon sur Lignon, France and Jedwabne in Poland.
These two examples, that stand as polar opposites, will then be examined in greater depth so that students can begin to understand the nuance and circumstances that existed at the time in two very different situations. Students can therefore begin to understand that events of the past are not always black and white, there is much grey in between, but certain events innately go against human nature. The concept of bystanders, victims and perpetrators, will be further explored and student can then apply these ideas to the examples they have studied. The final phase of the unit will challenge students to examine their own moral direction. They will discuss, in a variety of forums, their personal ‘compass’ and begin to articulate their own understanding of personal choice and freedom. They will explore issues in contemporary society and begin to reflect on their standpoint, particularly in relation to the lessons that can be learnt from the Holocaust. Students will then complete an assessment piece based on the following quote by Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
- Deryl McCann
Adelaide, South Australia
For students to understand that Holocaust denial and inversion are problematic subjects and the only way to evaluate an argument is to be aware that at least one counter-argument must be taken into consideration. History, therefore, is not a simple narrative that exists without contestation.
I have devised a unit of work that necessarily involves argument and counterargument. I have chosen to make the student’s assessable response in the form of a class presentation, since this will serve to deepen or extend each student’s appreciation of how different perspectives exist on a single event in history
Task: Students must find a contested issue on the subject of Holocaust denial and inversion. They must research the topic and divide their response into three parts: an overview, argument and counter-argument. They will be making a six-minute presentation to the class. Visuals are permissible but will be in addition to the actual speech. They must write out their speech in full, and then break it down into headings that go on debating cards. A copy of the speech in normal prose must be provided to the teacher. This will acknowledge any useful resources or sources that have been utilized for the speech.
- Elizabeth Were
The early years of Nazi persecution 1933- 1939
To develop students’ awareness of Nazi legal policies towards the increased marginalisation of Jews in Germany from 1933-1939, beginning with the election of Adolf Hitler to the declaration of war in September 1939. I aim to develop students understanding of Nazi ideology towards the Jews, and to see the many facets of German society that were influenced by Nazi anti-Semitism including education, media and artwork. I also aim to develop student empathy towards personal Jewish experiences in this period, and how their behaviour changed and was affected by this institutional persecution. I also aim to encourage students to see the dilemmas of Jews in this period, in terms of how to react effectively to increased persecution
- Felicia Heberle
Adelaide, South Australia
The ideas that our students should retain for the future:
- Origins of antisemitism in Europe
- Pre-Nazi antisemitism
- Antisemitism in Nazi ideology
- Exploitation of antisemitic attitudes by propaganda
Assessment tasks to be developed by teachers according to their time frames and topics they would like students to cover.
Suggestion: list a variety of topics/areas of focus from which students choose - they present their findings to the class in a variety of formats for a greater shared knowledge of the topic ‘Antisemitism’ (and its consequences)
- Susanne Haake
St Leonards College Brighton
Maus - A tale of Tragedy, Survival and Hope
The Holocaust through the lens of a graphic novel
The aim of the unit of work for Art Spiegelman's 'Maus' was to provide an informed, accurate and authentic context for the study of the text which provided students the necessary tools and resources to better understand the Holocaust. It is designed to place the text within the narrative of the Holocaust rather than placing the Holocaust in the narrative of the text. This presentation is an electronic format designed to embrace the 1:1 technology program being implemented at many schools and also uses the invaluable and visually rich material which forms the Yad Vashem archive.
- David Taylor
Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner
Privacy and the Holocaust - Exhibition Project
Privacy and the Holocaust will be an exhibition designed to explore the wide-ranging theme of privacy within the specific context of the Holocaust. The widespread and institutionalized abuses of privacy during the Holocaust resulted in the persecution and murder of millions of individuals – individuals who had private lives but who were forced to have public identities.
The exhibition aims to explore various aspects of privacy during the Holocaust and draw lessons for contemporary society.
- Increase awareness of the Holocaust
- Encourage visitors to consider how privacy and identity was treated during the Holocaust
- To provide an opportunity for visitors to consider what privacy means to them in their own lives, and motivate them to protect the privacy of their own personal information.
- Patricia Taaffe
What motivates humans to endure extreme situations?
Adopting the educational philosophy of Yad Vashem, this unit will aim to place the human being at the centre of the area of study. The central focus question for the unit is to consider the factors that motivate and enable humans to endure extreme situations and so it is necessary to view the subjects of our study not as statistics or merely as ‘victims’, but as human beings who lived fully, prior to the decision to murder them based on their classification as Jews.
- For students to create connections between their study of literature, historical events and their own experiences.
- To promote collaborative and independent learning in order to further a spirit of inquiry.
- To promote an appreciation of different perspectives and reactions to real world events.
- To expose students to a range of literary texts and to develop their ability to interpret and discuss the features of these texts in order to identify how they are able to communicate a message.
- Natalie Baker
Parkdale Secondary College
The Concept of Choices-
The impact that our choices can have on us as individuals, but also on others and the communities in which we live.
The purpose of this project is to allow students to develop their independent research skills while exploring how the choices of individuals can have an impact on others. It allows student to consider that one person really can make a difference through their choices.
Students will choose one ‘Hero of the Holocaust’ from the list provided, and then complete a Research Project focussed on that individual.
As one of Modern History’s most challenging subjects for students to study, this project endeavours to allow students to focus on one of the heroes of the Holocaust so that they can learn about the role of individual choices. It is important for students to know that despite the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust, there were some people who did positive things.
This Educational Project aims to develop four aspects of student learning:
- Historical knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust
- Historical reasoning and interpretation
- Managing individual learning
- Developing ICT skills for historical research, and presentation of historical knowledge
- Sandra Hyde
In Their Voices- The story behind the pictures
My project is a power point presentation of photos with accompanying notes which talk about the photo, telling of the situation mostly in the words or quotes of people involved –hence the title ‘In Their Voices’. The information is intended to be an introduction to the Holocaust – looking at “Pre-War Life” through “Return to Life”, covering all aspects including antisemitism, persecution, ghettos, camps, transportation, death marches, partisans, bystanders, Righteous among the Nations, liberation and with a special feature of meeting survivors and listening to their story. My target audience is students who may be about to start a unit of study on the Holocaust in English, History or Religion. It covers many topics but all very briefly which can lead to further study. Accompanying questions and activities and further areas to investigate are included in the project along with a list of films and useful websites.
- Catherine Waldron
Urrbrae, South Australia
St. Peters College
At the core of this program, is the idea that there were many forms of resistance, other than the most commonly understood idea of physical or armed resistance. It draws on a range of materials which present and represent aspects of the experience of the Jews during this period: literary, artistic, cinematic, fictional as well as historically documented resources, including witness testimonies.
The project includes the five assessment tasks that SACE curriculum requires (p. 38-40):
- Text Analysis Essay
- Extended Study
- Critical Reading
- Oral Presentation
- Text Response
- Michael Weber
Merryland High School
Antisemitism- Origins to Nazi Germany
This unit provides an opportunity for senior high school students to examine the origins and progression of anti–Jewish sentiment through time, to the rise of antisemitism in the late nineteenth century and the virulent Nazi antisemitism in the twentieth century. Students will also explore various concepts such as propaganda, stereotypes and scapegoats in order to understand how the Nazis exploited existent anti-Semitic attitudes throughout Europe to perpetrate the Holocaust. Finally, students will be able to answer the question they often ask; Why the Jews?
- Students will develop an understanding of the origins of antisemitism and the development of anti- Jewish sentiments through time.
- Students will examine through various activities and source studies, the rise of antisemitism in general and Nazi antisemitism in particular.
- Students will be introduced to specific historical terms associated with antisemitic Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
- Andree Buchanan
History and English Teacher
This project is part of a study unit on the Holocaust (7 weeks).
The lessons will allow students to learn about the ghettos established throughout Eastern Europe, which deprived the Jews of their human rights and their human dignity prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union and the implementation of the Final Solution. The focus will be Theresienstadt, utilising the writing and drawings of Petr Ginz and the drawings and poems of children from the ghetto.
The lessons will be presented after students have studied the life of the Jews prior to the rise of the Nazis, Hitler’s acquisition of power and the persecution of the Jews 1933-1939. The persecution of the Jews will be studied 1933-1935 with a focus on the Nuremberg Laws, 1936-1939 focusing on the many laws introduced during 1938 and Kristallnacht.
- Elizabeth Hajzler
Melbourne Girls College
I Would Not Want To Be a Jew in Germany - A Study of Jewish Persecution 1933-1939
The assessment for this activity is a 400-600 word extended response to the statement:
“Discuss the steady increase of Jewish persecution by the Nazi regime in Germany from 1933 to 1938”.
Students will be provided with the following evidence to draw their conclusions: their textbook, book extracts, images, videos and survivor testimony. The videos are accessed by web link to either the Yad Vashem website or the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. Having spent time looking at their information, making notes, and answering a number of quesitons, students will go back to their original groups and explain the event that they are now an ‘expert’ in. They should be taking notes on all the events as they will need to refer to all events in their response.
Students will be looking at the following topics:
- The boycott of Jewish shops and the book burnings
- The infiltration of antisemitic literature in German schools
- The Nuremberg Laws
- 1936 Berlin Olympics
- Bridie Larkins
Righteous Among the Nations
The emphasis will be examples of hope in a time of chaos and how one person can make a difference, have the courage to care. I want my students to be exposed to individuals who at great risk to themselves and their families choose to save a life. Our investigation will highlight the choices made, as well as focusing on how these individuals had a clear sense of who they were and what mattered to them, their morals and values were firmly established, which was what assisted them to make the choice to save/rescue.
As a study of the Holocaust the class will use the town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon as a case study of the Righteous Among the Nations. We will also view Schindler’s List and study Oscar Schindler as a Righteous Among the Nations. Students will then be asked to select and research a Righteous Among the Nations and develop a presentation on their chosen person.
- David Ardley
Henry Kendal High School
History, Science and Physics Teacher
Planck and Einstein-The implications of physics for society and the environment
This module increases students’ understanding of the history, nature and practice of physics and the applications and uses of physics, the implications of physics for society and the environment, and the current issues, research and developments in physics. Deep Understanding:
In the context of Planck’s and Einstein’s contributions in physics to the photoelectric effect, black body radiation and relativity, students need to understand their differing views about whether science research is removed from social and political forces. To achieve this understanding an analysis of the private and professional lives of both scientists is required Deep Knowledge:
In the context of both WWI and the rise of Nazi Germany students need to gain knowledge of the social and political forces that influenced the lives of both Planck and Einstein. Focus needs to be given to the concept of antisemitism, Nazi propaganda and the implication of laws that were implemented by Nazi Germany in support of its Anti-Jewish Policy.
- Gregory Keith
“Choiceless Choices” – Resources and Strategies
This unit will introduce students to the Holocaust, beginning with the roots of antisemitism, the rise of the Nazi Party and the growth of the Nazi anti-Jewish legislative framework. Its main focus will be on the ghettos of Eastern Europe, especially Warsaw and Lodz, and the extraordinary choices that residents and leaders of the ghettos had to make on a daily basis. These “choiceless choices” included determining who would live and who would die and whether to resist the Nazis and face certain death or cooperate in the hope of survival. There is a great deal of primary source material from the ghettos that will assist students to engage with these questions and identify with the victims’ plight. There are also the letters, memos and decrees of the Nazis. There is the opportunity to contrast these in formal document studies using the attached written document analysis sheets. Consider in your discussions of these documents what the Jews writing in the ghettos are unable to say, because words fail them; and what the Germans will not say, because of the need for secrecy. Students need to read between the lines to establish what is really happening.
- Dr. Catherine Hart
Brighton Grammar School
Examining Jewish representations of life in the Lodz Ghetto
Analyse a range of varied visual and textual materials in order to develop a depth of understanding of the human experience of the Lodz Ghetto (interpreting a range of TEXTS within a specific CONTEXT). A critical part of this is an in-depth examination of varying texts, their purpose and audience and the varied representation of the Jewish experience of the ghettos (I refer here to a quote from Professor Yehuda Bauer "you cannot teach the Holocaust by generalisation, you need to tell a story" in this case multiple and overlapping stories).
Develop an understanding of the Jewish experience of life in the ghettos with a particular focus on the experience of adolescents in the Lodz Ghetto 1940-1944 (developing inter-textual understanding to build understanding of the CONTEXT). Responding to the texts - students will develop their own textual responses which explore the relevance of studied texts to the contemporary contexts of students’ lives.
- Nick Freeman
Bendigo Senior Secondary School
Rescuers and Bystanders – Responding to Genocide
To use Seixas and Peck’s model for historical thinking in developing a unit of work that takes students on a journey exploring the ways in which people encounter injustice and the factors that influence how they choose to respond.
We began by examining primary source evidence from the Holocaust in terms of understanding the historical perspective of ordinary Europeans who were confronted by organised Nazi atrocities towards Jews and asked ‘how much did people know about the rounding up and extermination of the Jews?’. We then examined the causes and consequences of action and inaction by individuals, communities and nations and evaluated the historical significance of individual responses to the Holocaust. Lastly, we compared the Holocaust with more recent examples of genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia and reflect on the ethical dimensions of human choices and the responsibility that comes with knowledge.
- Rebecca Coburn
St. Margaret’s School
Exploring social life through film
The aim is for students to compare the film ‘The Pianist’ with primary written and visuals sources to assess the accuracy of the film in portraying the experience of those Jewish people isolated in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Students develop their understanding of the restrictions imposed on the Jewish population of Warsaw by the Nazis, leading to their ghettoization as processes of the Holocaust.
Students explore aspects of life for the Jewish people isolated in the Warsaw Ghetto, as presented in the film and primary written and visual sources.
Students develop their understanding of how the collective experiences of a group can be translated into a creative product such as a film.
- Hannah O. Wise
Through Their Eyes - Children Witness the Holocaust
The proposal is to have a humanities elective at Year 9 that is based on looking at the Holocaust through the eyes of children. This course explores the history and legacy of the Holocaust. In doing so, the subject will reflect on Europe before, during and after the Holocaust, allowing students to engage with the true effects of this historical event. Students will concentrate on the children that were exposed to the Holocaust, utilising many of the surviving primary source material produced by children themselves throughout this time. To begin this exploration, students will look at what it meant to be Jewish in the 1920’s and 30’s and the diverse lifestyles of Jews across Europe. The focus will then shift to Germany and Poland where Hitler was first able to malign the Jewish people. Using primary sources students will begin to understand how the lives of many began to change under Hitler’s law. The focus will then shift to life in the Ghettos – what these places were, why Jews were forced to preside in these and the impact that this had on the lives of children. Students will utilise primary evidence including diaries and art to explore life at this time. Students will have an appreciation of the development of ideas and laws aimed at restricting the lives of Jews in Europe before gaining true insight into the Nazi’s through the development of the Final Solution. Students will then focus on the deportation to camps and will continue to study primary documents to understand the consequences of the Nazi’s actions. The elective will conclude with a look at the end of the war and how people were able to rebuild their lives after such a horrific event.
- Gabrielle Jory
Women in the Holocaust
“For the dead and the living we must bear witness” Elie Wiesel
This unit offers the opportunity to enjoy the study of history for its intrinsic interest. Students should now be able to work independently and to apply the historical skills so far acquired. Students’ application of their understanding of the nature of history and the methods of historical inquiry should underpin teaching and learning in this topic.
How can knowledge and understanding of the nature of history and the methods of historical inquiry be applied to the study of a thematic issue?
The student task is then to present the story of their girl/woman to the class in the most memorable and individualistic way possible.
The women on the list did not survive the Holocaust, others did- some came to Australia, some to Israel. This variety, I am hoping will educate my students about not only the horrors of the war but the will to survive and the legacy of the Holocaust.
- Sally Stevens
Glen Waverley Secondary College
“The Jews were being treated all right”- Understanding Terezin, A Historical WebQuest
The purpose of this WebQuest is to enable students to gain a greater understanding of the experiences endured by the Jews, especially children, incarcerated in the Terezin/Theresienstadt Ghetto during World War II.
Students will be given access to the WebQuest, which will be in PowerPoint format. They will also be given a student booklet to complete as they progress through the WebQuest.
On each PowerPoint slide, students will be asked to access a particular webpage and read the information that is presented to them. After completing the reading, they are asked to complete one, or a series of questions or tasks. They are to complete these in their workbooks.
In undertaking this WebQuest students will:
- Gain an awareness of life in the Terezin Ghetto and make comparisons to other ghettos operating at the same time
- Learn about pre-war Jewish Life
- Learn about life after the Holocaust
- Use ICT to enhance their learning of the Holocaust
- Improve their thinking and literacy skills through the undertaking of various tasks
- Rosa Garcia
Adelaide, South Australia
Out of the Dark:
The emotional legacy of the Holocaust- exhibition project
- Richard Leo
Richard Leo B.A., Dip. Ed., M.A. (History) has worked in various education systems across Tasmania, South Australia, and Queensland for the past 15 years and is currently Head of Humanities at Nambour Christian College on the Sunshine Coast. He teaches History, Geography, and Study of Religion to ‘little-uns’ and lectures to trainee teacher ‘big-uns’ in World and Australian History at Christian Heritage College in Brisbane. What spare time that is left after socializing with his beautiful wife, Janina and four children, is spent playing guitar, reading and drinking coffee on his verandah overlooking the Sunshine Coast rainforest.
To view Richard Leo's project, click here.
- Benny Kaplinski
Benny Kaplinski, a son of Holocaust survivors, was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1954. Educated at Herzlia Jewish Day School, and holding a BA degree in Hebrew and history from the University of Cape Town, Benny and his wife immigrated to Australia in 1981. Benny completed a Masters degree in Education at the University of New South Wales in 1988 and has taught in both Jewish and public school education for over 30 years. He is currently teaching History at Randwick Girls High School and is also a senior History examiner for the NSW Board of Studies. He also serves as cantor of North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney. He was most recently involved in the production of an episode of the BBC television series, "Who Do You Think You Are?" in which he appeared alongside his cousin, Natasha Kaplinsky, a renowned television newsreader in London. Together, Benny and Natasha visited Belarus and retraced the fates of their paternal ancestors during the Holocaust of whom Benny`s father (and mother), rescued by the Bielski Brothers Partisan Brigade, was the only survivor. Benny and his wife Karen have two children, Daniel aged 15 and Amy aged 10.
To view Benny Kaplinski's project, click here.
- John Kennedy
John Kennedy holds a Master of Education as well as a graduate certificate of education law. While he taught for nearly two decades, he currently works at the Diocesan Catholic Education Office in Rockhampton, on special projects.
- Bridget Punch
Bridget Punch has taught at John Paul College since 1991 and still looks forward to the challenges and rewards each day brings. A high school teacher, Bridget focuses on teaching history, including the Israel-Palestinian conflict as well as the Holocaust and tolerance.
- Jackie Black
Jackie Black is the Head of Visual Arts at Emanuel School in Randwick, Sydney. She has been at Emanuel since the beginning of 2004 and a Visual Arts educator for 26 years. She has been positively impacted both by a 2-week seminar at Yad Vashem and by her participation in March of the Living, increasing her desire to continue studying the Holocaust.
To view Jackie Black's project, click here.
- David de Groot
David de Groot is a history teacher from Strathalbyn Christian College in Geraldton Western Australia. He is passionate about history and has a strong affiliation and interest in Israel and the Jewish people because his family hid a number of Jewish people in occupied Holland during the Second World War.
- Sharon Bailey
Sharon Bailey has spent fourteen years in the classroom. She has taught in primary schools as well as in juvenile justice schools in Australia and is passionate about education and creating the best learning environment for students.
- Panayiotis Diamadis
Sydney-born Dr. Panayiotis Diamadis is married with one daughter. He currently serves as a senior history teacher at St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney, a lecturer in Genocide Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, and a tutor at the Workers’ Education Association Sydney, as well as a director of the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. An active researcher, he has developed a public history exhibition on the experiences of Australian prisoners-of-war in the Ottoman Empire during World War I titled “Beyond ANZAC Cove,” as well as a number of publications. He holds a number of qualifications from the University of Sydney, and his doctoral thesis dealt with the Hellenic experience of genocide between 1914 and 1924.
To view Panayiotis Diamadis's project, click here.
- Bill Anderson
Dr. Bill Anderson was born in Scotland and was a social worker in Glasgow before migrating to Australia in 1976. Bill has lectured on the Holocaust at Deakin and Monash Universities and lectured on Scottish and Irish History at the University of Melbourne. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow (History) at the University of Melbourne and is writing a chapter on Holocaust education for a forthcoming history of the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Melbourne and the historical chapters in a book called 'Songs they Sang: Yiddish Songs of the Holocaust'. Bill is Historical Consultant and Educator at the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Melbourne. He was educator on the 2005 Australian adult March of the Living to Poland and Israel and leader on the 2006 March. In November 2009 the Jewish Community Council of Victoria gave him a Community Recognition Award for good attendance.
To view Bill Anderson's project, click here.
- Michelle James
Michelle James holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in teaching geography and history, and is currently teaching those subjects to high school students, in addition to being an advisor, a mentor, and a sports coach. She is committed to teaching the subject of the Holocaust in her classroom and continues to look for new ways to engage students of different backgrounds.
To view Michelle James's project, click here.
- Heather de Blasio
Heather De Blasio has been a high school teacher for nearly 25 years. For the last five years she has been employed as Head of Social and Cultural Studies at Wilderness School, an Independent non-denominational girls’ school just outside the CBD of Adelaide, South Australia. There she teaches Year 8-12 History. Prior to this she was Head of English at Westminster School and Annesley College, and also taught at University Senior College and St George College. Interested in most historical periods and regions, Heather has a particular fascination with twentieth century History.
To view Heather de Blasio's project, click here.
- Sandra Robertson
Sandra Robertson has been a teacher in Queensland schools for over 20 years. In that time she has taught in a number of faculties including history, geography, and English. She holds a Bachelor of Education and has not only served as a classroom teacher, but also as an administrator, department head, and career advisor. She is currently involved in resourcing and developing unites for junior and senior students on the Holocaust.
To view Sandra Robertson's project, click here.