One thing I have learned about teaching is that I do not always have the answers to my students' questions. I tell my students that all learning starts with questions. We can look for the answers together. I don’t think their questions about the causes and the consequences of the Holocaust are going to have simple answers, but curiosity and commitment to learning is something I can model for them.
I will travel to Munich, Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam this summer to visit many Holocaust and World War II related sites.
Below are some questions inspired by my students:
Where did it all begin? Why did Hitler gain a following?
What was Jewish life like in Europe before the rise of National Socialism?
How do memorials honor victims and instruct the living?
Who are the perpetrators, the collaborators, the victims, and the bystanders? Are bystanders perpetrators or collaborators?
How were books and art a threat to the control the Nazi party needed over even German citizens?
What was Jewish life like in Prague before WWII?
Was it the music or ideas of Richard Wagner that were so attractive to Hitler?
How did Hitler and the National Socialist German Worker's Party (Nazis) come to power?
What was Jewish life like in the Netherlands before the Dutch capitulation?
How did the Dutch people resist the German oppressors?
What is the danger of propaganda today?
What populations are at risk of persecution today? What is our responsibility?