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Opening Hours:

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Thursday: 9:00-20:00 *
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* The Holocaust History Museum, Museum of Holocaust Art, Exhibitions Pavilion and Synagogue are open until 20:00. All other sites close at 17:00.

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Holocaust Poetry - March 2006

Welcome to the sixth issue of Teaching the Legacy, the e-newsletter of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. This issue focuses on Holocaust poetry, and should be of particular interest to English language and literature teachers. The main article covers the subject of Holocaust poetry and its value in the classroom. Accompanying the article is a lesson plan on a specific poem – “Refugee Blues” by W.H. Auden. The e-newsletter also includes a section of book reviews, as well as updates on recent events and new services in the “What’s New” sections. We hope you will find this newsletter of interest and we look forward to your feedback.

The Value of Holocaust Poetry in Education

IntroductionThis article will explore how poetry can be used by educators to teach and commemorate the Holocaust. The famous German sociologist, Theodor Adorno, who fled the Nazi regime for England in 1934, proclaimed shortly after the war that writing poetry after Auschwitz seemed barbaric. In his view, words in any artistic configuration were doomed to distort the harsh experiences of victims and survivors, constituting some kind of disfigurement of truth. He later modified his initial position with the passing of time. Adorno’s vision expressed his fear for the trivialization of the Holocaust....
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The Human Spirit in the Shadow of Death

During WWII, European Jewry was faced with a constant fight for its very survival. At a time when murder became the norm, and power endorsed unprecedented atrocities, many were swept away, unable to endure the perpetual struggle or adhere to the moral code of human society. Yet even under such dire conditions there were those who risked their lives — deliberately and intentionally — for higher values, including educating children, maintaining religious values and traditions, and sustaining centuries-old cultural activities. An examination of the humane responses in the face of the Holocaust,...
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Teaching the Holocaust Through Poetry (Lesson Plan)

Teaching the Holocaust Through Poetry (Lesson Plan)

The Holocaust occurred over 70 years ago and reams have been written about it. Various disciplines have applied their approaches to try and understand the transgressive nature of this period in human history. We have written a lesson-plan focusing on a poem written by W.H. Auden, one of England’s leading poets at the time of World War II. The poem was written about half a year before the outbreak of the war and as such, it deals more with the problems of refugees than with ghettos and concentration camps. With great prescience, Auden raises the specter of the German-Jewish refugees that had...
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Remembering Liberation

Remembering Liberation

Grades: 10 - 12 
Duration: 20 minutes

This ceremony focuses on the complexities of liberation, the shock of the Allied troops at what they saw, and the intermingled joy and deep grief of the rescued survivors.
Towards the end of World War II, advancing Allied forces from east and west began discovering first-hand the horrendous scope of Nazi atrocities – hundreds of concentration and extermination camps in which prisoners had been abused in every way imaginable. For those Jews still alive in these camps, liberation meant the end of a deadly, repressive,...
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Dear Diary, I Don't Want to Die

Dear Diary, I Don't Want to Die

Grades: 8 - 12 
Duration: 20 minutes

One-and-a-half million Jewish children were murdered in the Holocaust, the majority of them with no one to perpetuate their memory or even their names. This ceremony highlights excerpts from the diaries of three Jewish children, as well as poems and memoirs....
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