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Classroom Presentations and In-Service Training for Educators

Choose from presentations designed for 90-minute blocks. They can easily be adapted to any classroom format. The topics have also been divided into separate presentations for different level abilities of students. Scroll down for list of in-service presentations.

To Schedule a Presentation or Professional Training In-Service Workshop, email Tom White.

  1. Classroom Presentations
    1. The Rise of the Nazis: 1933-1939
    2. Choices: Letting others Be
    3. Number the Stars: Danish Rescue (Elementary School)
    4. Judaism & Historical Anti-Judaism
    5. Antisemitism: When One Hate Rises They All Do
    6. Antisemitisms: Hate as Identity
    7. QAnon Conspiracy Fraud
    8. Traveling and Studying in Israel
    9. Heeding the Warning Signs: Antecedents and Precursors to the Holocaust
    10. Strongmen: Authoritarian and Fascist Leaders
    11. Rise of the Nazis: The Plot to Destroy Democracy (1919-1933)
    12. Destroying German Democracy From Within: Failure and Limitations of Democratic Institutions (1933-1938)
    13. White Purity, Eugenics Ideology, and Lethal Medicine
    14. The United States and the Ongoing Problem of Nazism and Nazi Germany
    15. Learning From the Past: Facing Difficult History in the U.S. and Germany
    16. Elie Wiesel: Trauma, Remembrance, and Hope
    17. Anne Frank: To Be Free, to Be Myself
    18. Civil Society Between Darkness and Light: Danish Escape and Rescue
    19. France Under Nazi Occupation: Memory, Myth, and Misogyny
    20. The Holocaust: "The Twisted Road to Auschwitz"
    21. The Power of Place: Encountering Auschwitz
    22. The Human Problem of Genocide
    23. Bosnia-Hercegovina: Remembering Genocide
    24. Cambodian Genocide (1975-1979)
    25. Hiding and Passing: Background for
    26. Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Germany 1933-1938
  2. Professional Development and In-Service Workshops
    1. Teaching the Holocaust & Genocide: Remembrance, Education, Building Resiliency
    2. Dehumanization and Incitement: The Use and Abuse of Holocaust Photographs and Images
    3. Teaching Anne Frank: Resistance and Keeping the Moral Core
    4. Teaching Elie Wiesel: Trauma, Remembrance and Hope
    5. New Hampshire’s Holocaust and Genocide Education Mandate:Building Resiliency Through Education

Classroom Presentations

Middle School

The Rise of the Nazis: 1933-1939

This presentation will focus on the origins and rise of the Nazis; the accession to political power; the human rights violations and antisemitic policies. How do human rights violations escalate without being checked and what is the responsibility of individuals when facing such violations? A major focus will be how we create the ‘other’ and how to be an Upstander in the face of a perpetrator or bully. An ideal introductory presentation for high school and middle school dealing with the issues of personal and social responsibility and resisting bullying behavior.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Choices: Letting others Be

This 45-minute presentation asks students to consider who tells you to hate and why? What happens to you? What happens to the target? Using Anne Frank and Martin Luther King (both born in 1929) students are presented with the choice to care about others and build compassion by confronting the past. The presentation is shaped around an April 1944 diary entry by Anne: “If only I can be myself”. Why is it difficult to let people be themselves, to just be?

Number the Stars: Danish Rescue (Elementary School)

This presentation is designed for elementary students reading Number the Stars. We will discuss in general terms the history and relative advantages of Denmark during the Nazi era and explore the rescuers and the rescued. We will also touch upon some of the Danish complicity with the Nazis and examine “goodness” as a human, not national trait. It will place the story and its characters within the broader context of events in Denmark during the war. It gives a general account of the history of the escape and rescue of Danish Jews while exploring the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous’ 8 traits of an “Upstander.” (Grades 5-8)

High School

Judaism & Historical Anti-Judaism

For classes such as World Perspectives I, Western Civilization, Intro to Holocaust, or Sociology, this presentation gives an overview of the history of Judaism and its religious traditions, ideas, and values. The roots of historical anti-Judaism are also traced, from antiquity to the European Middle Ages. This is a good starting point for any study of the Holocaust.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Antisemitism: When One Hate Rises They All Do

How do we identify, resist, and respond to antisemitism, racism, hate and Islamophobia? Using IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism we will identify sources and expressions of hate that are destructive and self-destructive and reasons for its recent surge. We will explore what it means to embrace democratic values and norms as a tool of resistance and resiliency. Rather than assign labels, we will explore models of appropriate responses and our obligation to reject anti-democratic and hate-driven behavior. We will highlight how white supremacists and terrorists are globally connected and pose a direct threat to democracy.

Antisemitisms: Hate as Identity

Antisemitism is a dynamic and durable force of hate. It is toxic to democracy and potentially lethal to its targets - especially when expressed as conspiracy fantasies. This presentation explores the origins of antisemitism utilizing Rabbi Jonathan Sak’s metaphor of a “mutating virus” to explore antisemitism as a psychological construct of an “other”. How do issues of identity (individual and collective) allow the cultural expression of antisemitism? How do trauma and fear feed antisemitic anxieties and identities? We will trace the development of antisemitic ideas from its Christian roots of anti-Judaism to modern antisemitism. This presentation broadly examines the difficult relationship between Judaism and Christianity and Christianity’s wrestling with its own assumptions and traditions while facing the darkness of the Holocaust. We will wrestle with current manifestations of antisemitism from Nazi Germany to the QAnon conspiracy fantasies.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

QAnon Conspiracy Fraud

QAnon emerged in 2017 and has gone from being a fringe conspiracy to one embraced by political leaders. What is the QAnon fraud? We will explore this new transmission and expression of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion by examining its antisemitic roots and mainstream appeal. What are the characteristics of conspiratorial thinking? How and why can people accept and justify these frauds? Why do conspiracy theory frauds threaten democracy? How do they damage and mislead? How do we recognize and respond to the threat and talk to somebody who embraces it?

Traveling and Studying in Israel

This presentation developed from trips to Israel and will serve as a fun travelogue illustrating the geography, culture, and history of Israel. Particular focus will be given to the Old City of Jerusalem as well as Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites. Additionally, we will visit the landscapes of the Galilee, Masada and the Dead Sea, as well as the Jordanian and Lebanese borders. The presentation will end by highlighting the work and mission of Yad Vashem (Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority).

Heeding the Warning Signs: Antecedents and Precursors to the Holocaust

How the Holocaust was not just possible, but permissible? How did the Nazis utilize the preexisting building blocks of mass atrocity (antisemitism, discrimination, homophobia, racism, sexism, misogyny, appeal of authoritarianism) to become a mainstream political party with “moral authority” within German society? While obsessed with “the Jews”, the Nazi persecution of many groups helped them to utilize natural social processes of group identification and turn them on a genocidal path. In the cases of these minorities, professionals and many segments of society became invested with the questions thrust before them and wrestled – through growing frustration – to imagine more radical solutions…from sterilization to deportation to… Nazism existed and was attractive precisely because its ideology “made sense” to many Germans and held emotional appeal by tapping into: symbolic expression and cultural meaning; morality; national pride; redemption; and enemy-making in times of trauma and confusion. We will also explore U.S. connections to Nazi race policy in order to become more alert that when “others” in our midst are targeted or marginalized, we all risk losing our freedom.

Strongmen: Authoritarian and Fascist Leaders

Facing the growth of anti-democratic movements, white supremacy, and strongmen how do we perceive and confront the threat? What do strongmen have in common? What is in their toolbox and playbook as they seek to destroy democratic norms? How can democracies continue to show resiliency? This presentation examines how strongman emerge in times of perceived crisis (times of change, trauma, and perceived threats to “masculinity”) and utilize violence, attacks on truth, and misogyny to gain power. How is muscular, militant, and virile “masculinity” used to bludgeon democracy? Embracing the values of American democracy, we explore the corrupting and dysfunctional nature of strongman politics and the practical historical responses that reinforce democratic resilience.

Rise of the Nazis: The Plot to Destroy Democracy (1919-1933)

Extremism is a symptom of democratic decline. Did the Nazis come to power through coercion and/or consent? How was Hitler, a constant failure, rescued by those who wished to use him? How did he become chancellor? We will trace Hitler’s failures, personality, and myths while exploring his changing political tactics. We will examine the inability of opposition parties to unify against Nazism. Close attention will be focused on how Article 48 (Presidential rule by decree) enabled a small group of anti-democratic, conservative and nationalist politicians and aristocrats to wield extraordinary power in a plot to destroy the Weimar Republic. We will explore their fatal mistake of rescuing Hitler from failure in order to champion their conservative and nationalist agendas. Once they agree to naming him chancellor, Hitler and the Nazis will dismantle the Republic within five months utilizing the Reichstag Fire, the election of March 1933, the Enabling Act, paramilitary violence, and an appeal to populist nationalism. Timeline 1932-1937

Student Worksheet

Destroying German Democracy From Within: Failure and Limitations of Democratic Institutions (1933-1938)

What happens when the judiciary sides with or accommodates to an authoritarian leader? Hitler was a consistent failure, rescued throughout his political career by conservatives and nationalists. They believed the system would hold him in check. They consistently underestimated him. Hitler had a great contempt for law, but came to see the benefits - especially with the need to persuade a variety of German conservatives - to progressively remove human rights from those he perceived as dangerous threats to his idea of the German volk. This presentation examines how some conservatives overcame their general sense of unease to help the Nazis destroy democracy and build a police and terror state; how target groups are created, how professionals and institutions “buy in”; how the police and the judiciary support the expansion of Nazi power; the struggle between the states, judiciary, and SS over control of policy; the development of and role played by the concentration camp system; and the state security police apparatus. We will explore how mass atrocity not only became possible, but permissible.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

White Purity, Eugenics Ideology, and Lethal Medicine

How did an elitist, antidemocratic, race-based, antisemitic ideology became popular and get implemented in the U.S. before Hitler came to power in Germany? How does eugenics emerge from the progressive movement and Jim Crow? What is the connection to and impact on Nazi race policy and mass murder? What are the connections and differences between American and Nazi German eugenics practices? How was Nazi race law, marriage law, forced sterilization, the Nuremberg Laws, children’s “euthanasia”, the T4 Euthanasia program, and the Holocaust a byproduct of eugenic ideas and American precedents? How does the medical profession come to perceive their patients as threats and justify their actions as moral and necessary? How can eugenics history help to confront the threat of racism and white supremacy?

The United States and the Ongoing Problem of Nazism and Nazi Germany

Exploring democratic resiliency in the face of fascist fear. President Roosevelt was able to rescue liberal democracy in an uncomfortable partnership with the Southern Democratic Party that combined progressive ideas with Jim Crow racism. We will contrast Hitler’s leadership with FDR’s and explore how FDR’s “missionary generation” responds to the threat of Nazism. Policy decisions are presented in context of the unfolding events between 1933 and 1938 and the growing need to respond to international provocations. Topics covered include: U.S. immigration policy and the quota system; U.S. attitudes of pacifism, isolationism, racism, xenophobia and antisemitism; Supporters of fascism in the U.S.; America First; anti-lynching legislation and political realities; the Evian Refugee Conference, the German American Bund; Charlie Chaplin; and the failed Wager-Rogers kindertransport bill. How does the past help us find resiliency in the struggle to preserve democracy?


Learning From the Past: Facing Difficult History in the U.S. and Germany

How did American racism influence German race policy and how does German encounter with its Nazi past help Americans confront their difficult history of slavery? What do cultures of defeat (the Confederacy and post WW I German society) have in common? How did the creation of the “Lost cause” myth distort the history of the Civil War and facilitate a different re-enslavement of black Americans? This presentation explores implicit and explicit bias that leads to racism. Racism will be a central theme of the presentation as we explore how leaders manipulate it to the detriment of most. We will explore the second Civil War (the War against Reconstruction) and how its ideology of racism has influenced the American experience. We will explore the for-profit convict labor system that helped entrench a new form of slavery and Hollywood’s subtle and not-so-subtle embrace of both racism and the southern myth of the “Lost cause.” As antisemitism, racism, Nazism, and the KKK have re-emerged as significant societal factors we must confront this difficult history as we explore the implications for the future.

By highlighting examples of leadership and the influence of targeted minorities in enhancing democratic values, we explore how to utilize this history to promote competencies for democratic citizenship.

Elie Wiesel: Trauma, Remembrance, and Hope

This presentation explores the power, necessity, obligations and challenges of “remembering.” Using Wiesel’s text, Night, we will explore how traumatic memory is held and expressed. We will trace the life of Elie Wiesel from his birth in Sighet, Romania; his early, formative years; the unfolding situation in Hungary and Europe; the round-up of his family and deportation to Auschwitz; the fate of his family; and his post war experiences. We will discuss Night as a stylized, constructed memoir that begins Wiesel’s wrestling with his experience and explore how his life continued after Auschwitz in a journey of hope against despair. How can Wiesel and books like Night help us build resiliency?

Live, do not despair. What do we want our students to learn when teaching Night?

“Such is the miracle: A tale about despair becomes a tale against despair.” Open Heart, p, 73.

I often hear that teachers and students are apprehensive or hesitant to teach or read Elie Wiesel’s Night. Perhaps that is because we believe that our role is to point out that evil exists in the world. True. But if this is our only focus, we will live in a “gloom and doom” curriculum. What is left to teach except despair and hopelessness?

I would like to suggest that we teach Night not to only have our students encounter the history of the Holocaust, but to also learn to live fuller and more productive lives. Wiesel’s writing of his stylized, constructed memoir was a beginning for him, not an end. He writes a counter-narrative of protest that attempts to frame or hold the devastation of the world of his childhood, but through the eyes of a Hasidic boy. It is a witnessing story that serves as a new beginning, a breaking away from the bleakness of 1944-1945. Wiesel’s writing of Night served as a springboard to life – to a vocation, to tremendous deeds, to discover how to live as a Jew in the post Holocaust world. I would offer that rather than try to avoid the trauma or even to dwell in it, we should use the text to inspire our students to find ways of contributing to the world now grounded in deeper knowledge.

To do this, I would suggest that it is pedagogically imperative to pair Night with Wiesel’s 2013 Open Heart. Facing open heart surgery Wiesel explores, in a very short text, what it means to open his heart. Pairing these two texts will illustrate that Wiesel was not frozen in time, a captive to despair. Life went on and Wiesel found joy, fulfillment and purpose through family and teaching. Open Heart can be used to open up Night and allow students wrestle with the text as Wiesel does. How does Open Heart inform us about his journey?

The first line begins with a date. The date is suggestive, June. Deportations to the “kingdom of Night” from Wiesel’s hometown of Sighet took place in May. We live with trauma and as anniversaries arrive in our lives we are always conscious of it. In Chapter 5, Wiesel reflects on what happened in the camps and gives us more insight into his relationship with his father. In chapter 8 he clings to life and all that the future may hold. Throughout this book Wiesel offers short reflections on his son; his father; his family; wrestling with despair; writing Night and his 50 other works; of embracing a Jewish identity; and asking if his life has contributed to the world. Though he rarely ever talks about his mother and sisters (some things must always remain private and personal) he does mention them in Open Heart. He also comes to a moment of healing with his father.

And so, I encourage you not to avoid the trauma, but by witnessing it, we use it to inspire responsibility. Wiesel employs us to never give up and never despair. “Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.” There is enough in Open Heart that will inspire reflection and open up new thoughts and possibilities both in reading Night and in living a life well lived. Students will see Wiesel in new ways, ‘fencing with the shadows, but always having the song.’

This power point presentation traces the life of Elie Wiesel from his birth in Sighet, Romania; his early, formative years; the historical context of Hungarian history; the round-up of his family and deportation to Auschwitz. We will discuss Night as the beginning, not end, of Wiesel’s encounter with the Shoah by exploring the text through his Hasidic roots and identity. We will explore Night as a counter-narrative; a constructed memoir; a crafted testimony; a matzeva (marker/gravestone) about the limits of witnessing and “surviving survival.” And yet, by studying the Shoah and Wiesel’s writings we will encounter his hope that the spark for goodness must be ignited within us.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Student Worksheet: Elie Wiesel

Anne Frank: To Be Free, to Be Myself

Who was Anne Frank and why are we focused on her tragedy? This presentation raises questions about how we think about Anne and why. Do we see her story as one of triumph and affirmation or a challenge? Anne’s Jewish identity was initially hidden when the diary was published. Why did her identity as a Jew need to be hidden again? Anne’s diary reveals growth and introspection in the midst of building pressure. How does Anne’s voice, shifting into an awareness of others, become, as she hoped, “useful” as we face the challenges of today? How do we resist evil while maintaining our moral core? Drawing on the diary and Anne’s experiences we will challenge our own prejudices and ask difficult questions of ourselves. Special attention is given to the memories of Hannah (Goslar) Pick, Anne’s childhood friend (whose January 2007 interview will be used). The life and decisions of the Frank family (such as emigration and going into hiding) are placed within the context of the Nazi era. Otto Frank’s failed attempt to get his two children (Margot and Anne) into the United States begins a discussion of refugee policy and the villainization of immigrants and refugees. This presentation also traces the fate of those hiding in the Secret Annex. How can we draw on the example of the rescuers and of the Franks themselves to honor Anne’s April 1944 wish, “If only I can be myself”? Why is it so hard for us to let others be?

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Civil Society Between Darkness and Light: Danish Escape and Rescue

An exploration of the German occupation of Denmark, the Danish resistance, the rescue operation to Sweden, and the postwar reintegration of Jewish refugees. What factors shaped Danish attitudes towards its Jewish neighbors? Was the Danish government collaborating or merely cooperating? Why was the summer of 1943 the turning point? What was different about Nazi policy in Denmark? What vital role and example did Sweden provide? A particular focus will be on the fishing village of Gilleleje and those rescued and others captured and sent to Theresienstadt. Two child survivor testimonies recorded in October 2015 (Ole Philpson and Tove Udshott) will be utilized. By examining Denmark’s unique experience and its testament to civil society before, during, and after the Holocaust, we raise questions about how to improve civic responsibility and build stronger democracies.

France Under Nazi Occupation: Memory, Myth, and Misogyny

Exploring the traumatic history of France during World War II, this presentation explores collaboration, the Holocaust, resistance, and memory. How is “collaboration” defined, who defines it, and why? What role did contentious politics and ideological divides play in Vichy collaboration and the Holocaust? How does memory continue to be a battleground between the right and the left? How does gender shape interpretations of the past? What was unique about the French experience? Why did a greater percentage of its Jews survive the Holocaust? Topics covered include: the ongoing political conflict between left and right; the defeat of France in 1940; antisemitism; Vichy collaboration; French resistance; French police roundups; “Vél d’Hiv” roundup; French prisoners of war; Volunteer and forced labor in the Reich. How does this examination of a difficult past help us to confront our own difficult and traumatic history?

The Holocaust: “The Twisted Road to Auschwitz”

This presentation focuses on the cascading radicalization and evolution to genocide that took place from 1939-1945. We explore how Nazi policy incrementally evolved and adapted over time in the complex face of changing political, military, and social circumstances. Specific attention will be placed upon the Nazi racial laboratory of Poland 1939-1940. Topics to be covered include: Nazi ideology and the unfolding war situation; the influence of location; emerging role of the SS; the difficulties and failures of implementing emigration policy and demographic engineering; the failure and complicity of the Wehrmacht; T 4 Program; ghettos; General Plan Ost and the Commissar Order; the Wannsee Conference; the Einsatzgruppen and the “Final Solution.” By exploring individual initiative of “working towards the Führer” we will examine the “moral universe” created by willing perpetrators. (For advanced classes.)

(For advanced classes.)

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Fr. Patrick Desbois Investigates the Forgotten Holocaust

The Power of Place: Encountering Auschwitz

“There is one thing worse than Auschwitz itself…and that is if the world forgets there was such a place.” - Henry Appel, Auschwitz survivor

How does one encounter the killing site of Auschwitz? What can we learn? How do we “remember”? Based upon visiting Auschwitz I and II in November 2014 with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) this presentation explores how ordinary people commit extraordinary evil. Weaving together archival images from a project by two Nazi photographers from the lab/identification service project in Auschwitz with pictures from the 2014 trip, we will explore the process of genocide and the “moral universe” the perpetrators created. We will explore the deliberate structures created to serve the needs of the SS, architects and businessmen in exploiting and destroying human beings. We will make room for mourning, refusing to normalize our outrage, and ask, “Where do we go from here?”

The Human Problem of Genocide

April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month in the State of NH. What is required to recognize, deter and prevent genocide? What is genocide? When do processes become part of a genocidal momentum? How do we prevent the escalation? How do we identify moments in the process where intervention (any type) can change the momentum? What can we do to make a difference? We will discuss the U.N. Genocide definition; genocide risk factors and warning signs. We will explore proactive and reactive responses. We will also wrestle with the tension between the moral imperative to act and the principles of nonintervention and state sovereignty. This presentation seeks to empower students to make such attitudes and behaviors culturally unacceptable.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Bosnia-Hercegovina: Remembering Genocide

As the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, Yugoslavia unraveled in the face of Serbian and Croatian nationalism. Slobodan Milošević and Serb nationalists took advantage of the situation to embark upon a project of creating a “Greater Serbia” as Croatia sought to expand into a “Greater Croatia.” The wars unleashed “ethnic cleansing” and genocide. What forces were at play to enable another series of European mass atrocity crimes? How did the shadow of WW II influence nationalists? What role did the United States, the United Nations, and the European Community play in enabling these crimes? What can we learn about the process of genocide and our responsibility to intervene and prevent? This presentation explores the multi-ethnically informed city of Sarajevo and Bosnia; the unfolding process of genocide; nationalist ideologies; Islamophobia (which continues to limit understanding, responsibility, and justice); the challenge of memory and remembrance; and how the Dayton Peace Accords created a corrupt, enthno-nationalist partitioned Bosnia.

Cambodian Genocide (1975-1979)

Examining the risk factors for violent and genocidal violence we examine the collapse of Prince Sihanouk’s Cambodia in the context of the U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam. How did governmental corruption, class warfare, and the violence of war contribute to the rise of the Khmer Rouge? Who were the Khmer Rouge and how did they conduct genocide? What are genocide’s early warning signs and how do we make a transition to peace in a post genocidal society?

Hiding and Passing: Background for Europa, Europa

This power point traces the life and times of Solomon Perel in preparation for showing the film “Europa, Europa.” Using events and images from his early life through the end of the war (including photographs of himself, the places, and other characters portrayed in the movie) this presentation addresses such issues as: Factors in deciding to hide or pass as a non-Jew; the dangers and difficulties in hiding or passing; and the difficulties and personal impact of hiding or passing.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Germany 1933-1938

Using Marion Kaplan’s work, this presentation deals with gender. “Along the stations toward extinction … each gender lived its own journey.” Using images and memoirs, the focus here is on the role of everyday Germans, on a daily level in the social death of their neighbors. Often overlooked is the initiative of ordinary Germans in complying with the new tone of the government without serious legislation being passed in the early stages of the regime. Also misunderstood is that the mixed messages being sent did not make the so-called “writing on the wall” clear until 1938. A comparison of the male and female German Jewish experience will reveal the difficulties in accurately assessing the dangers facing this small minority of Germans.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Professional Development and In-Service Workshops

Teaching the Holocaust & Genocide: Remembrance, Education, Building Resiliency

Genocide is an extraordinary event, but the product of ordinary human behavior. How and why must we confront the past? This workshop provides guiding thoughts to navigate difficult issues utilizing frameworks for civic education that promotes competencies for democratic citizenship. What should we teach and how should we teach it? The methodological considerations we explore can be applied to any social studies or English curriculum. We will examine process, choice, and prevention. We will explore the pedagogical and contemporary challenges and considerations facing today’s classroom teacher. How do we confront the past to build resiliency, create safe spaces, while paying attention to escalating violence towards an “other”?

Dehumanization and Incitement: The Use and Abuse of Holocaust Photographs and Images

Photojournalism, not just print journalism, became a respected arbiter of “fact” with the liberation of the camps. Do photos still have the same impact and what are potential pitfalls in using them? Photographs do not merely capture or illustrate the historical past, they interpret it. How do we construct and deconstruct narratives? A potential pitfall in teaching about the Holocaust is using Holocaust imagery without ever teaching students how to evaluate and decode those images. Nazi photographers were designated as “weapons” of the Nazi effort and their images continue to have power to shape the narrative in ways that serve the perpetrator. We must recognize that the photographs are part of the process of genocide. We must critically evaluate this evidence as much as we do written or oral material. This workshop uses a series of competency expectations such as: recognizing perspective; intentionally; social, political context; elements of composition; expanding the frame; and asking, who took the photograph and why? Applying these competencies today will help students interpret propaganda, discuss historical comparisons and contrasts, and develop media literacy. Students will be able to deconstruct imagery while developing a sense of the “moral universe” perpetrators operate in. Teaching materials

Teaching Anne Frank: Resistance and Keeping the Moral Core

How do we “remember” and teach about Anne Frank? What are the contexts and pitfalls to be aware of? How do we keep our moral integrity when dealing with Anne as “symbol” and icon? How do we avoid teaching the diary as fairy tale or fable? The life and decisions of the Frank family (such as emigration and going into hiding) are placed within the context of the Nazi era. Otto Frank’s failed attempt to get his two children (Margot and Anne) into the United States is highlighted. This presentation also traces the family’s history after their betrayal in the Secret Annex. How can we draw on the example of the rescuers and of the Franks themselves?

Teaching Elie Wiesel: Trauma, Remembrance and Hope

How does one approach Elie Wiesel’s work and witness in the classroom? This workshop presents Night as a constructed memoir, a crafted testimony; a matzeva (marker/gravestone) about the limits of witnessing and “surviving survival”. We will discuss Night as the beginning, not end, of Wiesel’s reencounter with the Shoah by exploring the text through his Hasidic roots and identity. By studying the Shoah and Wiesel’s writings we will encounter his hope that the spark for goodness must be ignited within us. How does Night help us to “hold” someone else’s traumatic memory? How will reading this book make me a better person? How will Night allow us “to fence with the shadows, but always have the song”? This workshop looks at the construction of Night; the questions it raises; its Hasidic framework; and how to teach it as the beginning of a journey against despair and towards resiliency.

New Hampshire’s Holocaust and Genocide Education Mandate:Building Resiliency Through Education

Recognizing that hate, bigotry, and antisemitism are toxic for democracies NH requires social studies classes (beginning Fall of 2022) to utilize existing curricula to implement Holocaust and genocide education. What is this requirement exactly and what are some best practices and frameworks to help meet the minimum standards? This session will define crimes of mass atrocity (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide); explore guidelines; discuss how to compare and contrast mass atrocity; present available resources; opportunities for professional growth; discuss lesson planning and rationales; utilize competencies for democratic citizenship; and explore ways education can enhance civic responsibility and democratic values.

Printable List of Presentations and In-Service Workshops

Tom White is available at a moment’s notice to discuss issues, to sit on panels, to engage in question and answer sessions.

To Schedule a Presentation or Professional Training In-Service Workshop

Contact Tom White

Tom White
Coordinator of Educational Outreach

Contact the Cohen Center

Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Keene State College

229 Main Street

Keene, NH 03435-3201
☎ 603-358-2490