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7 September 2020

A New School Year Begins

New oral history excerpts added to the Neuberger's digital library along with lesson plans and resource guides to assist in teaching the Holocaust.

September is often associated with the end of summer and a return to the school year. This year however we are living through the COVID-19 pandemic which means unprecedented challenges and changes to teaching.

That’s why we have updated In Their Own Words with an additional 24 testimony excerpts from the Neuberger’s oral history collection. All clips are under 10 minutes, making them easily accessible for students and adults alike. Each addresses a specific theme related to an in-depth study of the Holocaust including: Camps, Death March, Escape, Ghetto, Hiding, Immigration, Kristallnacht Pogrom, Liberation, Physical Resistance, Post-War Conditions, Pre-War Life, Rescuers, and War Crimes Trials Witnesses. Many of these oral histories were recorded in the 1980s and 1990s and are poignant accounts of how individuals and families were irrevocably affected by the Holocaust.

This digital collection of excerpts has been carefully curated by the Neuberger educational team and students from the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Their transdisciplinary approach to learning and research blends well with the Neuberger’s and ensures that a variety of diverse experiences is represented in our digital archive.

You’ll hear Tilly Sugarman describe her perilous work in Amsterdam with the Dutch Resistance while Sara Ginaite-Rubinson discusses how she joined the partisans in Lithuania and risked her life for freedom. Tania Siegel discusses what daily life was like as one of the few women in the Russian partisan unit Spartak, and her brother Peter Silverman provides insight into his role in the partisans and the destruction caused by the Einsatzgruppen. Inspiring and moving, these testimonies allow us to learn about the Holocaust by those who lived through it and in their own words.

I encourage you to explore the archive and discover for yourself some of the experiences of those who survived the Holocaust and power of first-person testimony. One of the themes I have found particularly inspiring are the excerpts from the theme Physical Resistance. In this 5-minute excerpt, you’ll hear Tania Siegel addresses the theme of Liberation and describes her feelings when she realized that the war was over and she was finally free. I hope that you will find this collection as inspiring and educational as the Neuberger educational team does.

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Carson Phillips, Ph.D.

Written byCarson Phillips, Ph.D.

Carson Phillips holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University, Toronto, Canada and is Managing Director of the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre. He served as a Canadian delegate to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and an editorial board member of PRISM- An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust Educators. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Gratz College, USA.

He is the recipient of numerous scholarly awards including the BMW Canada Award for Excellence from the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies. His research interests focus on post-Holocaust conceptualisations of gender, Väterliteratur and cultural representations of the Holocaust in screen and visual culture. His most recent publication is the book chapter “Post-Holocaust Conceptualizations of Masculinity in Austria”, in The Holocaust and Masculinities (2020,Bjorn Krondorfer and Ovidiu Creangă, editors)