Information for Teachers
Apart from guided tours through the Memorial's exhibition and study days which deal with topics coming from the history of National Socialism and its relation to Jewish history (see the information sheets on "Offers to Schools" and "Topics for Study Days), the staff members of the Memorial offer to help students work in small groups with ideas and topics presented in the exhibition.
First the students will be introduced to the themes and the construction of the exhibition. Then they will receive the reproduced overleaf sheet. Another version of these sheets can be employed with older students; these questions deal especially with perpetrator complexes and groups of perpetrators in the process of the pursuit and extermination of European Jewry. With the work sheets, the students work in small groups in two or three of the exhibition rooms. They will complete notes on the presented questions and formulate for themselves further questions which they can pursue. The students can only truly answer the presented questions if they intensely examine the documents and construct thoughts and opinions on their own. The answers are not found in the introductory or commentary texts of the exhibition. Staff members are always available to answer questions while the students work in small groups.
Enough time must be allowed for the students to visit the entire exhibit. This will give them the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the rooms which they did not work on in their small groups.
To conclude the Studientag, all of the groups come together in the seminar room to voice and discuss their impressions, understanding, and questions. The staff member is expected to moderate this discussion . . . to clear up misunderstandings and to carefully correct misinterpretations.
In our experiences, the described method has many advantages: The students actively grapple with documents, photographs, and commentary texts. In group discussions, it is made clear which aspects the students understand and where misunderstandings, holes in their background knowledge, and prejudices lie. Especially through problems with misunderstandings and voiced disagreements the students are moved to discuss controversial portions of the exhibition. This method usually lasts about three hours.