The Survivor Encyclopedia project features survivors who live or have lived in Washington State. These survivors, with their history and stories, have shaped our community, contributing to its richness and diversity. They challenge us to understand history through personal narrative - to see complex human beings behind the facts. Their stories inspire us to recognize human fragility and resilience and the difference that each one of us can make.
Suggested activities below can be adjusted for time and grade level as needed. Let us know how you used the Survivor Encyclopedia.
- In pairs, share a story with your partner. "When was a time that you felt scared?"
- Each person has 2 minutes. (Set a timer.) The listener is not allowed to say anything - no questions or comments. Only nodding and polite body language are allowed.
- When the timer goes off, the other person shares a story.
As a group, discuss:
- What did it feel like to share your story?
- Have you ever shared a personal story with people you didn't know? How is it different than sharing a story with your friends?
- What do you expect of the listener? What do you hope for when you share a personal story?
- When survivors share a personal story, what are they hoping for from their listeners?
Exploring the Encyclopedia: "I Am A Witness"
- Work in pairs or individually.
- Choose a theme (based on the search terms at the top of the page).
- Consider the stories - what similarities or differences do you notice among the stories? Pay attention to geographic location, language, age...
- Choose one story to explore deeper. For example, what else was going on in that person's hometown or country? Can you find archival photos online from the person's hometown? (Check photo archives at ushmm.org and yadvashem.org.)
- Search the stories for the "star" icon, which designates featured artifacts. What do these artifacts teach us about the Holocaust? How do these objects provide us with a deeper understanding of the person's story? Why is preserving artifacts important?
Option 1 - From your exploration, create a page (8.5x11 or larger) on a theme or an individual. Divide your page into 4 sections. Leave room at the top and at the bottom of the page. At the top of the page, give your page a title. Section #1 - Select an image to place in this section. Write a caption or explanation for the image. Explain why you selected this image. Section #2 - What information did you find surprising? Section #3 - What did you find interesting? Section #4 - What did you find troubling? In the space at the bottom of the page, write, "I would like to know more about...." Ask for volunteers to share their page.
Option 2 - From your exploration create a page for a book or gallery (8.5 x 11 or larger) on a theme or an individual. Give your page a title. Select a photo and place it in the center of the page. Write a caption for the photo. In the space around the photo, write 3 quotes from the testimony you heard. What do you want people to know/remember about this person or theme? Write this on your page. At the bottom of your page, write, "I would like to know more about..." Display pages around the room or have students present their work.