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The International School for Holocaust Studies

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Designing a Poster Exhibition, Commemorating January 27th

Teachers: Cristina Bonelli (Italian history teacher) and Liam Mc Grory (English teacher)
School: Liceo-Ginnasio “M. Gioia”- Piacenza, Italy
Class: 5th Year Classical Lyceum, Section A


We noticed that our 11th grade students did not have a strong background in the historical context of the Shoah in an effort to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. Although our students are exposed to the Holocaust via the media and learn about it in school, they often lack basic historical information.

Poster

We decided to work as a team so that our students would learn more about the Shoah within the framework of their classes on the English-language as well as about 20th century history in preparation for Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2011.

Poster

During our course, entitled “The Voice of the Victim from History to Theatre,” we supplemented history with pieces of twentieth-century literature. We contextualized the Shoah by teaching the twentieth century as the century of “total war,” and examining the different characteristics, ideologies and contexts. We emphasized the Shoah as a specific component of Nazi totalitarianism and as a paradigm of the twentieth century. For example, our syllabus included Yad Vashem educational materials such as Into That Dark Night, But the Story Didn’t End That Way, How Was It Humanly Possible?; readings from Collotti, Traverso, Gozzini, and Herf; The Trojan Woman by Euripides, and philosophical readings of Nihilism and Choice by J.P. Sartre. Students were given expository writing assignments as well.

Yad Vashem provided us guidelines for an educational activity, but we allowed the students to conduct their own Holocaust-related research reflecting their ideas and interests.

As a result of this educational process, the students have:

  • Contextualized the Shoah within the twentieth century
  • Conducted research in small groups focusing on their themes of interest
  • Created an exhibition of posters for Holocaust Remembrance Day