“To hear it from someone who was there is different than reading dry books,” said Fransiska Hollekamp, 17, one of the 50 students here listening to Mr. Schwartz. “It’s so much more real.”
This is basically the thesis of the research project I’m working on with a couple of my colleagues and a couple of our students, summed up very succinctly by a 17 year old.
But we’re doing a bit more: We’re trying to quantify the ways in which it’s “different” to get personal accounts rather than “dry books” in courses on human rights and social justice topics. And, of course, with the dwindling ranks of the population of survivors today, we’re thinking not so much about hearing their stories in person but about reading personal accounts or watching video testimonials (again, contrasted with historical texts).
Are there any educational materials that really resonated with you when you learned about the Holocaust? Was there a particular book or film that stands out? Did you have an opportunity to hear from a survivor in person?