Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

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Stolen Childhood

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A study unit that acquaints youngsters with the world of the children who crew up prematurely due to the Nazi occupation, assumed adult roles, helped support their families, and aided the inhabitants of the ghetto.

The unit familiarizes pupils with the world of Jewish children in various communities in Poland before, during, and after the war, using authentic personal stories to elicit sympathy and understanding.

The unit comprises a teacher’s manual, a student workbook, and a videotape. The teacher’s manual provides historical background, suggested class activities (separately for grades 5-6 and 7-8), and a collection of testimonies.

The workbook contains background material on Polish Jewry, on the Nazis’ policy during the occupation of Poland, and on the ghettos in Poland during the occupation, and testimonies about each phase, till the deportation of the Jews to death camps. Questions and assignments are included for each chapter in the workbook. The videotape presents 30 minutes of testimonies of three survivors who lived in the ghetto as children, along with documentary film clips and photographs.

Modular Teaching Unit on Life in the Ghetto
Suitable for Grades 5-8
Naomi Morgenstern and Carmit Sagie
Yad Vashem
The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority
The International School for Holocaust Studies

Teacher’s Booklet
Student’s Workbook

In the teacher’s booklet:
Historical background, suggested class activities for 5-6 grades and 7-8 grades, collection of testimonies

In the student’s workbook:

  1. Testimonies of survivors who had spent their childhood in Poland before the Holocaust — accounts of life in Poland when the Nazi occupation began and the transition to life in the ghetto
  2. Assignments for students

On the videocassette:
Testimonies of three survivors who had been children in the ghetto, along with photographs and excerpts of documentary films

Goals of the Unit

  1. Acquaintance with the world of Jewish children in Jewish communities in Poland before the war, imparted by means of authentic personal accounts that evoke empathy with the narrators.
  2. Acquaintance with the world of children who grew up prematurely under Nazi occupation — children who assumed adults’ responsibilities, helped support their families, and helped the ghetto inhabitants.
  3. Acquaintance with the circumstances under which many Jews attempted to maintain the structure of family and community life in the ghetto, even though the German occupation had terminated the course of normal life.