Learning through Rememberance

The act of rememberance by our older generations offers authentic and meaningful learning opportunities for the younger generation....

Our button project is just one of many examples of the ways the victims of the Holocaust are remembered. Vera Egermayer our project leader has laid 6 (stumbling stones), stolpersteine,  in different streets of Prague where her murdered family members  lived before being transported to Terezin and then to Auschwitz. One of these was her 14 year old cousin Josef Mautner who was snached from a Jewish orphanage in Prague and put into a transport. He will be symbolized by one out of the 1.5 million buttons waiting to  be used to create the NZ children's holocaust memorial. We do not know who most of the these children were.  But in some cases we have their names  and can in some way tell their story more personally. Petr Ginz, and Ann Frank for example have been commemorated in many ways including stolpersteine in front of the houses where they lived. Vera felt that her cousin deserved to be named and that passers by should pause in front of the place where he had lived and reflect on what had hapened there and how to prevent this in future.

“A person is forgotten when his name is forgotten” quotes Gunter Demnig from the Talmud. (http://www.stolpersteine.eu) Mr Demnig is a German sculptor who set himself the task of memorializing those who perished during the Nazi period. In more than 1000 towns and cities in Europe over 43,500, as of December 2013, stolpersteine, or stumblestones have been placed in the pavement outside the places where Jews once lived. Stolpersteine have been laid in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, as well as in Poland, Slovenia, Italy, Norway, Ukraine, Slovakia and Luxemburg. And from 2014 Russia and Croatia will be added. Each victim receives his own stone and it is intended ultimately to commemorate every victim of Nazism – Jews, Gypsies, the politically and religiously persecuted, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, the disabled, forced laborers and deserters.

A physical memorial, whether a large edifice, a paving stone or even something as small as a button, makes it easier visualize the huge numbers involved. The pretext forming the basis of the stolperstein project also underlies the button project – it is easier to understand the concept of large numbers of people when they have a physical presence, whether by a memorial plaque outside the places where they lived, or a memorial button. Included amongst the stolpersteine laid across Europe, are many commemorating children.

Holocaust Education


University of London

Teacher Professional Development in Holocaust Education

The Institute of Education (IOE) has created the world's first research-informed programme of teacher development in Holocaust education, uniquely responsive to classroom needs.All aspects of the programme are informed by the IOE's groundbreaking research, and directly respond to the challenges and issues identified by more than 2000 teachers across England.

Online Teacher's Workshop
If you are new to teaching the Holocaust, you might want to check out this online workshop which includes video segments from a workshop presented by The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The guidelines and methodological suggestions in these video segments are at the core of every teacher workshop and conference presented by the Museum. In addition to video of the actual workshop session, segments include historical and artifact photographs, text, and links to related sites within the Museum’s Web site.

Voices of the Holocaust: Children Speak

Geared towards students ages 11-14, this exhibit incorporates interactive elements to teach students about the experiences of Holocaust survivors who were also 11-14 years old during the Holocaust. Students can choose portions of testimony to view according to themes relevant to their peer group, such as identity, powerlessness, coping, and taking action.

The New Zealand Children's Holocaust Memorial is dedicated to Holocaust Education
The New Zealand Children's Holocaust Memorial is dedicated to Holocaust Education

Maus is a graphic novel completed in 1991 by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor.  Maus has been described as memoir, biography, history, fiction, autobiography, or a mix of genres. In 1992 it became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.

"You're Probably Tired, Dear Diary"

This lesson plan highlights selected excerpts from the diaries of five Jewish children who lived and perished during the Holocaust. The focus is on the pre-war lives of the children and their encounters with Nazi occupation. In addition, their responses to anti-Jewish policies, including the “badge of shame”, aryanization and ghettoization. The plan includes discussion questions as well as primary source materials, and is suitable for social studies and language arts.

School Visits - see the buttons for yourself!

If you live in New Zealand why not plan a school visit to the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand. You'll get to see all 1.5 million buttons! The centre supports schools, students and adult groups interested in the Holocaust with educational resources based on personal stories of holocaust survivors.  Check out their range of teaching resources for secondary school teachers.

NZ School Journal

Our button project featured in a recent New Zealand School Journal, and was used as an illustration for National Standards in Reading (Yr 7).  This story is an excellent way to integrate Social Sciences and literacy outcomes.

We are currently developing a teaching unit based on the New Zealand currriculum for young children (ages 8 - 13) based on the button memorial project - check back here for updates or email us if you'd like to be informed when this unit is ready. In the meantime check out these great Holocaust Education resources.  Please let us know if you can suggest other good resources. Keep checking back, because we'll keep updating this page with a diverse range of resources.

This study guide for middle and high school students accompanies the film The Last Flight of Petr Ginz. The film tells the story of a young Jewish boy from Prague named Petr Ginz, who loved to write and draw. Petr began writing in a diary in 1941, when he was 13 years old and living in Prague under Nazi occupation. This study guide attempts to open a window into Petr’s life through his creativity. Petr’s writings and artwork can give us insight into the experience of one Jewish boy and how he dealt with the circumstances he found himself in during World War II. 

The Footprints for Hope Project educational materials include a lesson plan, a power point presentation and a film that centre around one of the most painful graphic images from the Holocaust, the shoes of the victims who perished in Nazi death camps. Following this lesson, the students will draw inspiration for a more hopeful future by creating colourful art out of used footwear.   (Picture Credit: USHMM)