Learning Environment for High School Students (Grades 10-12)
With the liberation from Nazi rule, the physical and mental crises of the survivors were further pushed to the fore. The anguish of liberation took a high toll. Most of the survivors tried to reconstruct their lives after the war, but for some, the trauma of the Holocaust would prove too difficult. The feelings of loss, anguish, and emptiness would not allow for any other feelings. Some of the survivors were sole survivors of their families; sometimes, of their entire communities. Only after liberation could survivors truly confront the extent and enormity of the tragedy that had befallen them. In discussing the survivors here we outline two parallel processes: the emotional emptiness accompanying the loss and, in some cases, despair; and those instances of remarkable spiritual and physical strength invested in rehabilitation and creating a new life. Both often existed within the same person. The new world would prove fulfilling, but it could not replace or erase what had transpired before. In examining the various aspects of liberation we see how great the divide between tragedy and revival, between the anguish of liberation and the return to life.
This site features suggested educational activities for teaching this topic. We juxtapose photos with pieces of testimony, diaries, etc. Through discussion suggestions, we hope to delve deeper into the various difficulties and choices facing survivors shortly after liberation. General note: The photographs are topically related to the texts, but do not feature the same survivors or situations.