November 30, 2023

Holocaust Remembrance Day: Regional Survivors Share Tales on New Academic Site

Fred Marcus grew up in Berlin, escaped from Nazi Germany to Shanghai, survived the deprivations of the ghetto, arrived in the U.S. and turned a observed Denver educator. His tale of triumph in excess of tribulation may have been misplaced to generations if not for a before long-to-be-introduced web-site, Witness to Heritage, which chronicles the lives of survivors who created Colorado their property just after the Holocaust.

Witness to Background is a task of the Holocaust Consciousness Institute in the Heart for Judaic Reports. The institute has been a campus and community resource for Holocaust consciousness and education considering that 1983. For the previous quite a few a long time, it has been creating programs to give on the net curricula to Colorado instructors.

According to Adam Rovner, director of the Heart for Judaic Studies, Witness to Historical past is the consequence of numerous conversations with Colorado educators and those people working for these types of significant-profile establishments as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to figure out what academics and college students require to market their studying.

Witness to History Website

Gertrud, Fred and Samuel Marcus in Marienbad, 1929 (courtesy: Audrey Friedman Marcus).

A recent U.S. Millennial Holocaust Expertise and Recognition Study unveiled that more youthful generations absence essential Holocaust information. Assaults against Jews and Jewish institutions, Rovner suggests, have elevated in current yrs, with many incidents, this kind of as assault, vandalism and harassment, transpiring in school options.

“That’s unfortunate, but it also provides an prospect for achieving younger people today,” Rovner adds. “Educators uncover that furnishing historical context to the Holocaust can be an powerful way of reducing antisemitism in schools and in later on everyday living.”

The on the web system, made doable by funding from the Rose Group Basis, supports the just lately passed education mandate for Holocaust and genocide studies in Colorado public colleges (HB20-1336). Drawing on archival materials and firsthand testimony, the web-site will be mapped to existing lesson ideas and the Colorado educational specifications now in development beneath the new mandate. It will be absolutely free to Colorado educators and pupils.

Witness to History Website

“Because we are supporting the condition mandate, we are fully commited to highlighting the narratives of those people who flourished following the war appropriate right here in Colorado,” Rovner says.

“What transpired approximately eighty or so several years back on the other facet of the earth is not often incredibly available to pupils or their academics proper now, right right here. Witness to Heritage aims to link them to that background and to these spots.”

The web-site will supply a lot of approaches to engage with the historical past and memory of the Holocaust. It will contain timelines and profiles, as well as a dynamic mapping element letting consumers to see the geographic journey of these featured on the internet site. 

A 1000-word narrative about every survivor will relay their stories. A more comprehensive chronological narrative of 10 to 15 “chapters” for just about every survivor will include things like textual content, images and online video testimony from the survivor about his or her knowledge.

Witness to History Website

Fred Marcus at the Berlin Zoo, August 1938.

Students will be ready to see Fred Marcus as a schoolboy via the digitization of loved ones images. They will also be ready to watch curated excerpts from his online video testimony in which he describes how his academics and fellow students eagerly participated in anti-Semitic abuse as the Nazis rose to energy.

The Holocaust Consciousness Institute is working closely with the Colorado Holocaust Educators, a consortium of lecturers in the state, to refine Witness to Historical past prior to launching the web site. They will host trainer trainings for skilled progress. The 1st is scheduled for Feb. 26 and will provide registrants with publications featuring portraits of survivors.

“Witness to History is our site, but we will offer further more assets — trainings, guides, activities — in assistance. And we’ll be performing with other establishments to convey our web page and these possibilities into as quite a few school rooms right here in Colorado as doable,” Rovner states.

“As the state mandate will come into outcome, we aim to offer one of the most complete and obtainable sources to instructors and college students across the condition.”

The United Nations Typical Assembly designated Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, as Holocaust Remembrance Day.