Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

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Curriculum Rationale

Judy Meisel’s story of suffering, courage, and survival is an excellent way to stimulate student interest in learning about the Holocaust in particular and civil rights in general. Her testimony allows students to feel a personal connection to the Holocaust and thus makes the history of the period come alive for them. Judy’s story will deepen students’ understanding of the human cost of the Holocaust, the range of human of goodness and depravity contained in its history, and the capacity each of us has to take actions that make a positive difference in the lives of others. Judy’s message of hope and her faith in humans’ ability to act on ethical principles inspires others to consider how they, out of the circumstances of their own lives, can make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the communities in which they live.HOW TO USE THE VIEWING GUIDE

The viewing guide divides Tak for Alt into four sections that will enable teachers to guide student learning about the Holocaust, personal ethics, the Rescue of the Danish Jews, and the United States Civil Rights Movement. The four sections are as follows:

Part 1: (17 minutes) “I Knew that I Had to Tell My Story”
Part 2: (15 minutes) “Everybody was Brave”
Part 3: (15 minutes) “We Only Wanted to Survive as Jews”
Part 4: (11 minutes) “One Person Can Do a Lot” )
Each part includes section summaries, viewing objectives, key term definitions, historical background, discussion questions, and post-viewing activities. Teachers may use the entire guide to structure a multi-week unit on the Holocaust, or they may use Tak for Alt in shorter teaching units focused on one of the major issues in the film. Judy’s story would work especially well as a supplement to an English, history, or Ethnic Studies curriculum. Before using the film in class, teachers will want to view the film and to read the entire curriculum. This will help teachers identify those historical contexts and post-viewing activities that work best with their curriculum and with their students’ grade level.If students are to derive maximum benefit from their viewing of Tak for Alt, Judy’s story must be contextualized in the history of the Holocaust. For this reason, the curriculum guide includes relevant historical context for Judy’s story that is intended to provide teachers with sufficient background to teach the film. Teachers are also encouraged to work with local or regional Holocaust memorial centers and to consult the many fine web sites devoted to issues related to teaching the Holocaust. Especially useful are the web sites of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Anti-Defamation League, Yad Vashem, and the Ghetto Fighters’ Museum. The guide’s Bibliography and list of Additional Resources provide supplementary information for teachers interested in learning more about teaching the Holocaust.

Before engaging in intensive study of the issues raised in the film, students will benefit from viewing Tak for Alt in one sitting. Judy’s story is so compelling that students want to know her entire story before studying specific aspects of her experience and its larger history. If time permits, students may review sections of the film to deepen their understanding of Judy’s story, its connection with United States history, and its implications for themselves as citizens in a free and democratic nation. Teachers are encouraged to photocopy and distribute the Viewing/Discussion questions to their students before they view the relevant sections of Tak for Alt. Having the viewing questions and the relevant key term definitions before them as they view the film will enhance student’s ability to engage actively with Judy’s story.