In the video, "Using Holocaust Testimony in the Classroom", ISHS staff member Sheryl Ochayon discusses how we recommend choosing and using Holocaust testimony with your students. After first discussing the aspects unique to face-to-face survivor testimony, aspects that we will invariably lose in a world without survivors, Ms. Ochayon proceeds to contrast and then balance two approaches to chosing testimony video: the historical, and the personal. Chosing a piece of testimony that is only personal or only historical can be counterproductive; it is by choosing testimony that relates, personally, to historical events that we derive a deeper understanding from the survivors. The testimonies discussed in this video are available for viewing from our website.
The video includes testimony by Leo Laufer, Oscar Pinkus, Livia Wiederman.
Sheryl Silver-Ochayon is a staff member at the International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem.
Further pedagogical considerations
- Highlight the unique aspects of face-to-face witness testimony, which will soon be lost: Such first-hand testimony is an unsettling experience. It allows us to connect with the survivor and create meaning. It facillitates a deeper, personal commitment to the memory of the Holocaust.
- Consider the aspects of testimony that can be preserved in recorded testimony.
- Outline the right balance for selecting testimony for use in the classroom: balancing the personal, human story with the historical event within which they are intertwined.