Interviewer: Jeremy Garsha
Interviewee: EL (sophomore in Casey Roberts’ Modern World History class)
Prepared by Jeremy Garsha, 5/20/03, reviewed by hm and uploaded, 5/21/03
This was an interview conducted with a high school student who had not heard Nina, or any other Holocaust survivor. The subject was selected because he was a bright student, but perhaps less motivated than others. It was based on a preformulated list of questions.
Jeremy Garsha: What I want to do today is just have a quick chat. This is not a test, there are no right or wrong answers. I work up at UCSB with a professor in the History department and we are studying how students learn history, how it is taught, how they respond to it. We focus on Nazi Germany, so I’d like to break the ice and ask you a few words, and you tell me what pops into your head first--a little phrase, or images you see. Is that okay?
J: Let’s start. "Germany"
J: Any images or pictures?
EL: Yeah soldiers.
J: When I say "Concentration Camps," what do you think?
J: "Holocaust," does that sound familiar? [the word ‘genocide’ was accidentally skipped from the question list]
EL: Yeah, "Trains"
EL: The people that made it through the Holocaust.
EL: People that are escaping
J:: Okay, so you are a student in Mr. Robert’s class right now, right?
EL: Mmm hmm
J:: And what class is that?
EL: Modern world
J:: What do you guys do in modern world?
EL: We study about history and everything that happened between wars.
J:: Is there a time limit, like World War II until now…
EL: World War I, II and then the Gulf Wars.
J: So the class covers up to now?
J: Okay, so what did you guys study for the World War II part? What kind of projects did he assign?
EL: We had to make a poster. And we had to include some basic pictures, like Hitler, and one of the camps, or something like that.
J: What did you include on your poster?
EL: I used the Nazi symbols, and Hilter with his hand raised, and soldiers marching.
J: You guys made posters. Did you read, did the teacher assign the book Night?
J: So you read Night and the posters are a reflection of that?
J: Have you covered World War II in any of your other classes besides Modern World?
EL: Not really.
J: Not really, ummm…if you think back, did you know anything about World War II before Mr. Roberts’ class?
J: What did you know?
EL: Just that Hitler killed all the Jews…and…that is basically it.
J: Do you know where you got that from?
EL: I just kind of knew it.
J: Have you ever been to the LA Museum of Tolerance, or any museum that is related to World War II?
J: Did you ever do a Washington D.C. trip?
J: Have you read any books on your own about the Holocaust?
EL: I’ve read two. [Night being the first]
J: What was the other one?
EL: A Holocaust survivor and how he made it out.
J: Do you remember any details from that one?
EL: umm…not really.
J: Was that assigned for a class?
J: You read that on your own?
J: Can you remember what it was called?
J: That’s okay. What did you think of Night when you read it?
EL: It was good.
J: Pretty good? Are there any details from that one that really stick out?
EL: [brief pause] Only when he left his dad.
J: That is the first story that stands out?
J: Any gory details?
EL: Yeah, his father is laying down, and he can’t control his bladder, so he poops all over the other guy.
J: Okay, yeah that is pretty striking.
J: Would you recommend Night to any of your friends?
J: How about other students?
J: You think Casey [Mr. Roberts] should keep assigning that for his class.
EL: Yeah, I think so.
J: Do you watch the History Channel at all?
EL: The History Channel? Yeah I watch that.
J: What kind of shows do you watch on that?
EL: Just what ever comes on…things on Vietnam, or anything else.
J: Do you watch shows that are geared more towards weapons, like "Tales of the Gun"?
J: Do you ever watch A&E, or any channels that have documentaries?
J: When you watch the History Channel, do you ever watch any of those documentaries?
J: Are they World War II related?
EL: Sometimes they are World War II related.
J: Are there any images, black and white images, from those documentaries that stand out?
EL: Just people getting shot.
J: Are they getting shot in battlefields or is it in cities…?
EL: Sometimes they’re in battlefields and other times they are inside their own cities.
J: Okay, have you seen any World War II movies…like Saving Private Ryan?
EL: Yeah, I saw that one. And Private Hart’s, or something like that.
J: Oh, Hart’s War?
EL: Yeah, I saw that.
J: Did you see any of the Holocaust ones? Like Schindler’s List, did you ever watch that one?
EL: No, I never saw that.
J: Did you see Life is Beautiful, it’s an Italian foreign film.
J: Has Mr. Roberts’ showed you guys any videos in class? Documentaries or movies?
J: Do you know what it was?
EL: There just from, I think from the History Channel, that he recorded. There are from parts of the battlefield, and the aftermath of the war.
J: Were there some gory videoclips in there?
EL: Yeah, on the Holocaust.
J: What do you remember seeing in the class.
EL: In the concentration camps, bodies stacked up, and people being shot.
J: Have you ever heard anyone talk, in person, about a Historical event? Like, do you have any veterans in your family?
EL: [no response]
J: or anyone who has gone through something that…
EL: Yeah, I have one. He was a pilot.
J: Was it your grandfather, or someone from the older generation?
J: Was he a pilot during the War [WWII]?
J: Has he ever talked about that?
EL: Not really.
J: Do you know anything about Nina Morecki? Does that sound familiar?
J: She is a Holocaust survivor who is going to come and talk to some of Mr. Roberts’ classes, I’m not sure if you will speak in your class or not, but has Casey mentioned anything about wanted you guys to hear a speaker?
J: Okay, we are almost done E[L], I just want to know if you have any plans for after High School?
J: What are they?
EL: I’m thinking about going into computers, and computer graphics.
J: Are there any schools you are thinking about going to?
EL: I was thinking about going to the City College, and then transferring to a UC.
J: Any idea which UC you might want to go to?
EL: I want UCSB or LA.
J: Just because it is close by?
J: Do you have any questions for me?
J: Okay, then we are done. Thank you very much for that.
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