Middle school students had the unique opportunity of learning history from a Holocaust survivor thanks to a video Skype conversation.
Students at Vitonia Middle School in Arkansas conducted a study of the Holocaust. During the course of their research, they discovered a website belonging to Holocaust survivor Magda Brown of Skokie Illinois.
“It was a lot more heartfelt than any of the research we had done,” said student Colin Ratliff.
More than 80 seventh grade students in Linda Knopp’s literacy and pre-Advanced Placement literacy classes conducted two month of research about the Holocaust. Knapp had taught about the Holocaust before, but this was the first time students spoke with a survivor.
Brown belongs to the Speaker’s Bureau of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. She grew up in Hungary, and she and her family and 80 other people were forced onto a box car and taken to Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp on June 11, 1944 – her 17th birthday.
“Did you have any family members that made it out of the Holocaust?” the children asked.
“Only my brother and 5 cousins,” Brown replied.
“What did they do to you and your family?”
“Upon arrival [at] Auschwitz they put them in the crematoriums and burned them alive.”
These answers helped the students fully understand the horrors of the Holocaust. Brown gave them information that was personal; and could not be found anywhere else.