First-Person Narrative of Life As a Young Jew During World War II
A journal written in Poland during World War II describes the details of the life of a Jewish girl, Renia Spiegel, from age 15 to 18, as the war unfolded. Nearly 700 pages, Spiegel’s journal, which spans the years 1939 to the summer of 1942, presents a powerful insight into the life of a young woman whose life was tragically cut short shy of her eighteenth birthday. Spiegel’s journal—with English translated excerpts published in Smithsonian Online—offers a contrast to the writing of Anne Frank who recounts the war and her final days hiding in an attic.
Steven Van Zandt—the musician, actor, and music and theater producer—is the force behind an education project that uses the history of rock music as a way of teaching UShistory and culture. Students learn US history through a musical lens with the help of lessons created by historians and curriculum experts that are interdisciplinary and available online for free.
Facing History and Ourselves offers a teaching idea that uses images to help students connect emotionally to the experiences of individuals and groups who choose or are forced to leave their homelands and who place their wellbeing and safety into the hands of others.
The I Am From Project was started by retired teacher and author Julie Landsman, who loves poetry and believes in its power to change the world, and freelance writer and teacher George Ella Lyon, who served as Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015–2016) and is particularly interested in the poetry of witness.