Senior Religion this year will see students and teachers engaging in a deeply sensitive and eye-opening topic – The Holocaust. Some of our approaches will involve looking at historical facts and personal stories. An understanding of the roles played by all people associated with the Holocaust – perpetrators, victims, rescuers and bystanders will also be a big feature of our studies. We will question how such an atrocity could ever have happened, and how it is possible to go from bias (non-criminal) to the annihilation of an ethnic group – genocide.
As the course continues students will read stories based on fact, research the events and look at a film portraying a viewpoint of the Holocaust. One of the key aims is to examine our own behaviour as non-criminal people, but still to identify our role in preventing any level of individual prejudice and combatting systematic discrimination. Here is the reading list that will be furnished to students:
‘If This is Man’ and ‘The Truce’ by Primo Levi
‘The Reader’ by Bernard Schlink
‘Neighbours’ by Jan T Gross
‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank
‘Fateless’ by Imre Kertesz
‘Beyond These Walls: Escaping the Warsaw Ghetto’ by Janina Bauman
‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak
‘Nine Suitcases’ by Bela Zsolt
‘Hanna’s Suitcase’ by Karen Levine
‘Faraway Home’ by Marilyn Taylor
‘Sophie Scholl and the White Rose’ by Annette Dumbac and Jud Newborn
Life is Beautiful
From an academic point of view, this aspect of the Senior Religion course will be advantageous due to its cross-curricular nature. Current history, English and future psychology, philosophy students will derive countless benefits from this in-depth study. These lessons will encompass some of the characteristics at the core of human nature – survival, fear, aggression, struggle, protection, indifference, compassion, hope, love to name but a few.
By way of introduction, we will look at an artefact found at Auschwitz-Birkenau – a shoe – in order to gain an understanding of the person (a child) behind that artefact. Have a look at this profound examination of such a shoe: