This year’s Holocaust Remembrance day was marked by the reading of a book for children: The whispering town.
This book is excellent as a first introduction to The Holocaust for students.
First of all, the book was read while walking in the underground area of the school, where pupils had to move according whispers, as in the book. After this direct experience, many class activities followed.
The conversation started with a discussion of laws. How important is it to follow laws? What are the consequences of not following the laws? Is there ever a time that following the law is the wrong thing to do? Would you be willing to risk your life to help a stranger?
Then children were directed to thinking about helping others. Mass numbers of refugees from the middle east are seeking asylum in Europe and the USA. Some Westerners welcome the refugees and want to help; others say the refugees place too great a burden on the countries’ economies. What does welcoming them mean for us? What was it at the time of Nazi Germany?
Then, another issue was explored: Courage. What does it mean to be courageous? Think about someone from history or your own life whom you admire for acting courageously. What did that person do that took courage? How would you have felt if you were in the same situation?
After all these activities, the book was read again and children expressed their opinion and feelings. The activity was closed by creating the “whispering town”, using fabric.