Holocaust class meets survivors

Story by Ashley Diggs

Through her new class, Holocaust and Human Rights in Literature and Film, teacher Michelle Johnson is hoping to foster knowledge of the Holocaust and to examine human behavior and how it contributes to man’s inhumanity.

The first six weeks the class has been studying Nazi propaganda, reading the testimonies of Jewish survivors, and reading a book called Alicia, which is about a child on the run from the Nazis. They have also met survivors, and Johnson said this is one of the most important aspects of the class.

“Survivors are getting older, and their biggest concern is that their stories won’t be told once they’re gone,” Johnson said. “This class gives students a chance to meet actual survivors and carry on their stories.”

Along with access to many important documents, the class also gives students hands-on learning experiences through trips.

“We went to the Holocaust Museum in Dallas to view the exhibits; we were also able to meet with two survivors who appeared there,” junior Daniel Pellegrin said.

In the coming weeks students will look at more film material to aid in their studies.

“Next six weeks we’ll be viewing two movies from the Dallas Film Festival,” Pellegrin said. “They focus on the Warsaw ghettos and the act of standing up against moral atrocities.”

Six weeks into the class Johnson has been working hard to give her students a deeper insight into the Holocaust. With an entire class dedicated to the Holocaust, students will be given a much more in-depth study on the topic than ever before experienced in a regular history class.

“I want my students to learn from the lessons of this event,” Johnson said. “They need to understand how important it is to stand up instead of standing by and doing nothing.”