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Consider, is this a Man? Retaining Humanity in the Face of Dehumanizing Narratives

This curriculum unit offers a narrative of resistance to the degradation of the human spirit and the dehumanization perpetrated by the Nazis and witnessed silently by bystanders—both on an individual and national level. Combining an interdisciplinary and multimedia approach to reading literature, this unit addresses the Common Core Standards in Reading Literature, Writing, Speaking, and Listening while teaching valuable lessons about living as well. Through reading poetry, prose, and nonfiction by survivors and about survivors of the Holocaust, students in the 8th to 12th grade classroom will develop critical and analytical reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills. Likewise, by watching video clips of Holocaust survivors providing testimony, students will demonstrate critical listening skills to analyze different levels of narration. More importantly, students will develop the empathetic understanding of how survivors of the Holocaust and their allies sought to negotiate a totalitarian ideology to retain dignity and humanity through participation in the production of culture. When left with no control over one’s body, when left with nothing to eat, when even the names are stripped away by the authorities, each of us—according to the tales of resistance in this unit—has the ability to create our own narrative.

Benjamin Hover

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