Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) Educators Elena & Emily had a great day teaching a class from a local public school today. The group was smaller which allowed for a different kind of connection than with a full class.
Even before sitting down, many of the students were already asking about some of the artifacts and objects they noticed when they walked into the office. The striped pants especially caught the eye of one very inquisitive student. The symbol of the striped pants is so important to the study of the Holocaust and how we remember it, so Elena and Emily found this to be a perfect jumping off point to talk about Simon Wiesenthal and his legacy. The students, and even the teachers, were also very impressed with the replica of Simon’s desk. Emily noticed one of the supervising teachers reading through the binder of Nazi War Criminals during the break. The two supervising teachers said they really appreciated how FSWC was able to bring the idea of leadership to everyday relationships and interactions.
Tour for Humanity spent the day at a Catholic School in the small community of Angus, Ontario. Located about 30 minutes west of Barrie, the area is also home to CFB Borden. Interestingly, Camp Borden is the birthplace of the Royal Canadian Air Force. FSWC Educator Daniella observed several parents in uniform dropping their children off at school and it was evident in our workshops as well when some students shared that their parents/grandparents had been in war.
Today we worked with the school’s entire Grade 7 and Grade 8 student population. There were 5 Canadian Experience workshops on the bus throughout the day.
Following an introduction, each group began their experience with FSWC’s Holocaust video. As Daniella de-briefed the video during the first class she explained that the numbers in the video belonged to Holocaust survivors. A young girl raised her hand and asked if there were still survivors alive. Daniella said that yes there were and then went on to tell the class about the impact of listening to a Holocaust survivor and how important it was. She also directed them to FSWC's survivor testimony website, www.neverforgetme.ca.
Another class was doing a novel study in class about refugees including the story of the M.S. St. Louis, so the Tour for Humanity material fit in perfectly. This was a theme throughout the day many of the classes were currently learning about Residential Schools and reading The Diary of Anne Frank.