Why did we choose the theme, “Studying the Holocaust through Primary Sources?”
Documents – diaries, letters, drawings, and memoirs – created by those who participated in or witnessed the events of the past tell us something that even the best-written article or book cannot convey. The use of primary sources exposes students to important historical concepts. First, students become aware that all written history reflects an author’s interpretation of past events, and consequently, they learn to recognize a document’s subjective nature. It is through primary sources that the students directly touch the lives of people in the past (National Archives and Records Administration).
“Primary sources help students to develop knowledge, skills, and analytical abilities. By dealing directly with primary sources, students engage in asking questions, thinking critically, making intelligent inferences, and developing reasoned explanations and interpretations of events and issues in the past and present” (Library of Congress).
Primary sources expose students to multiple perspectives on any given issue or event. Interpretations of the past are continuously debated among historians, policymakers, politicians, and ordinary citizens. By working with primary sources, students learn to think critically about what they are reading and to become involved in these debates about history.
Contents of High School Trunk & Annotated Bibliography
The trunk is set up to accomodate both reading groups and individual reading. 10 copies each of All But My Life and Night are included in the trunk.
The trunk also contains 5 copies each of Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany, Avengers, and Maus I, and 2 copies each of Rutka's Notebook, Sunflower, and Survival in Auschwitz.
There are a number of single copy books included in the trunk along with several dvds, posters and resoures for the teacher. The trunk contains books and materials at a variety of reading and skill levels. Please look at the list of trunk contents for details.
Optional Additional Materials for High School Trunk
Is there a book or dvd that you would like to use with your students that's not in the trunk? Or is there a title for which you need more copies?
Please indicate the title of the item on your trunk request form by writing, "please add..." in the comment field.
Please review the contents of the trunk before requesting that additional materials be added. We have lots of materials at the Holocaust Center. If you would like additional materials on a specific subject matter, let us know and we can suggest grade appropriate resources.