This Educator Video Toolbox is aligned to Echoes & Reflections, a comprehensive Holocaust education program that delivers professional development and a rich array of multimedia resources for middle and high school teachers. This video complements Lesson 6: Resistance. It addresses key historical context, supports your teaching, and provides a methodological and pedagogical framework to help you effectively teach the subject of spiritual and armed resistance during the Holocaust. Professional development programs for middle and high school educators are taking place around the country; you can find one near you here.
A common question when we’re studying about the Holocaust is, “Why didn’t the Jews resist?” But they did. In this video we discuss different forms and types of resistance, both spiritual and armed. In the unprecedented inhumanity of the Holocaust there were Jews who found the strength and the courage, both physical and spiritual, to retain their humanity and resist hopelessness and dehumanization. The story of their resistance is a human story that shows the heights that human beings can reach even in the depths of despair.
Sheryl Silver Ochayon is a staff member of the International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem, and its Program Director for Echoes & Reflections.
For additional information about Echoes & Reflections visit http://echoesandreflections.org/
Further pedagogical considerations
- The ghettos were established as an interim measure as the Germans continued to seek a solution to what they defined as the "Jewish problem". The conditions in most ghettos severely limited Jewish life, and led to feelings of humiliation and loss of dignity. The Germans didn’t concern themselves with the well-being of the Jews incarcerated in the ghettos; they did not attempt to create an alternative that would allow for the continuity of Jewish life. In fact, many Jews died as a result of the harsh conditions in the ghettos.
- Within this frequently deadly situation, Jews still did their utmost to conduct their lives and retain their human dignity.
- The story of resistance in the ghettos and camps and during the Holocaust is a human story that we wish to reveal through the story of individuals.
- The personal story shows us the face of humanity and the human spirit.
- It is important to reference the human story in the broad context and to connect the stories to the historical events.