This weeklong workshop offered local and
regional teachers an opportunity to learn about and develop teaching units
using the "Portraits of Survival" exhibition
about Holocaust survivors in the Santa Barbara community that opened at
the SB Jewish Federation (524 Chapala St.) in November 2003 (pages
by photographer Leib Kopman and curator Carla Shapiro; 11/7/03
UCSB Daily Nexus article).
I (UCSB Professor Harold Marcuse) gave several presentations
during the week, which I'm making available here.
- "Teaching the Holocaust:
and Consequences in History" (31
slide powerpoint). This presentation opened the week. I
wanted to focus on our goals as teachers of history when we teach about
the Nazi Holocaust. I examined the LA Museum of Tolerance and we examined
several teachers guides, looking at how these materials teach the subject,
and to what extent common goals of teaching about the Holocaust come
across to students. My main argument was that it is extremely difficult
to teach things like "tolerance" and "sensitivity"
directly, and that we might do better to aim to make our students better
Thus we should, I think, teach about causality, indeterminacy and human
agency in history, but not try to dictate or derive certain moral lessons
for our students.
|Brownbag: "Historical Witnesses in the
Classroom: Practical Issues" (list of things to consider).
How does a teacher organize a classroom visit by a historical
witness, and what increases the effectiveness of that visit in
achieving our goals as teachers?
- "Interviewing Holocaust Survivors: Techniques of Oral
History" (11 slide
a short reflection on our teaching goals, I offered some general guidelines
on how to conduct interviews, and we paired off to try them out. I tried
to develop some general principles that could be used for any historical
event, not just with Holocaust survivors.
- "Holocaust Denial"
(19 slide powerpoint).
This topic seems to generate a lot of interest. I started with some
definitions and history of the "movement." My
first point was that these arguments are basically pure bunk (except
for a few chance cases when they caught understandable errors), and
that the deniers know very well that what they are claiming is not true.
I argued that their underlying motivation is probably an inferiority
complex that manifests itself as "white pride" (racial supremacy)
and antisemitism. Some deniers probably do it for the publicity and
attention they can get from it.
- Mara Vishniac Kohn, the key initiator of the "Portraits
of Survival" exhibition, attended many of the sessions during the
shared with us an antisemitic German children's book, published in 1936,
that her father had bought at a used bookshop during a 1947 visit to
Berlin. (Mara's father, Roman Vishniac, was a famous photographer. He
was in postwar Germany to take pictures of Jews in refugee camps. In
1999 Mara published some of his photos of family life in 1930s eastern
Europe as Children of a Vanished World; amazon
link.) We scanned the pages of this powerfully insidious work "Don't
trust a fox in the field or a Jew's promise." Mara is preparing
a transliteration and someday we may have time to translate it (images
of childrens book).
See also Randall Bytewerk's page about a similar German childrens book,
- I passed out a list of references
that I mentioned in my presentations.