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Blog: Zooming with the Sydney Jewish Museum

For Wenona’s Year 10 History students, visiting the Sydney Jewish Museum via Zoom was a powerful way to learn more about the Shoah (Jewish Holocaust), as Kate in Year 10 explains.

"Despite COVID-19 restrictions, our Year 10 History incursion about the Holocaust was still able to go ahead via Zoom. During the first half of the session we engaged in a presentation, which aimed to inform us about the Holocaust and its effect, whilst the second half focussed on listening to survivor testimony.

Our educator, Bree, was very knowledgeable and informative in explaining how the persecution and murder of Jews was central to the Nazi regime’s goal to establish an empire in Europe. We participated in discussions, quizzes and some source analysis to further engage with and understand how Nazi ideology operated as a driving force behind the destruction of European Jewry.

In the second half of the session, we explored how testimony and memories shape our understanding of the Holocaust, and its psychological implications. We were introduced through video clips, to multiple Holocaust survivors from different countries and of different ages. For example, George, a Polish man who lived in a ghetto, spoke of watching his mother and sister be rounded up by Nazi elites. His was a very moving and personal story, which was a real eye-opener for me. George was younger than me – he was just 15 years old – when he experienced this.

We also had the privilege of listening to other survivors, who like George, shared their stories with us. We learnt about their backgrounds, their lives during the Holocaust, an object that had significance or meaning to them, and how they cope with the trauma today. Even though we couldn’t meet the survivors in person, I think by the end of the session, we all felt like we knew them anyway.

We are so grateful to have had this experience and that despite COVID, it was still able to go ahead. It added a lot of depth to our study of the Holocaust in class and enabled us to appreciate how important it is to honour the victims of the Holocaust.”

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Kate
(Year 10)

Conveying the depth and detail needed by our students to fully understand the terrible events of the Holocaust is a complex task, and one our History Department approaches with care and respect. Visiting the Sydney Jewish Museum via Zoom and having the opportunity to hear from Holocaust survivors, really helped our Year 10 History students to understand more about the importance of preserving genocide histories. As they now know, survivor testimony is a powerful way of safeguarding the memory of the Holocaust.

Thank you to the Sydney Jewish Museum for enabling us to do this.