TECHNOLOGY LINKS STUDENTS TO HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR
On Monday, December 1, Ms. Weber’s Holocaust class participated in a video conference using the Promethean board with Holocaust survivor Simone Arnold-Liebster. Mrs. Liebster resides in France and has written a book that the class read called “Facing the Lion,” in which she describes her life in France as a ten-year old whose faith and strong convictions as a Jehovah’s Witness allowed her and her parents to survive the Holocaust. The class prepared questions for Mrs. Liebster and were left inspired by her lessons.
Among the class’s reflections on the interview :
“I have never met anyone as strong as Simone. She is what everyone should strive to be.” (Chloe)
“Simone never gave in, while others conformed to Hitler’s ways. Her video interview gave me hope that even though someone has had a terrible past, they can forgive and live a happy life.” (Angie)
“The fact that Simone refused to ‘Heil Hitler’ and stayed strong to her virtues in unimaginable.” (Manisha)
“[Simone’s] ability to discuss the horrors that befell her is strength on a level that I’ve never encountered before. Mrs. Liebster told us, “A conviction is a conviction because you know it to be true.” (Katherine)
1821 Sunset Drive
Bettendorf, IA 52722
Erin Blankenship, Saint Petersburg, Florida
This letter is written in support of the Arnold Liebster Foundation and their exhibition, Faith Under Fire created for the Florida Holocaust Museum. Through this exhibition, the Florida Holocaust Museum and other exhibition sites are able to educate visitors, mostly school-aged students, on the little known history of the Nazi’s other victims. The exhibition explains the persecution Jehovah’s Witnesses faced during the Holocaust and their courage in the face of great danger.
Faith Under Fire helps to communicate the lessons of the Holocaust in an easy to understand, well-organized and visually appealing way. Visitors who see the exhibition often comment that by seeing it, they learned something that was previously unknown to them. It is easily one of the most popular temporary exhibitions we host.
Curator of Exhibitions & Collections
Florida Holocaust Museum
55 Fifth Street South
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701
Mark Rothman, Executive Director
Dear Ms. Milakovich,
As part of our continuing series exploring the “other” victims of the Holocaust, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust hosted the premier of the 13-panel traveling exhibit Who Am I ? Young Minds Forced to Choose on November 5, 2006. Created by the Arnold-Liebster Foundation, the exhibit relates the story of Jehovah’s Witness youth persecuted during the Holocaust.
The premier was so successful that the Museum held two openings on the same day to accommodate the crowds of people that wanted to see it. It has continued to be received warmIy and the Museum has literally had hundreds of people come through every week to see it and listen to the audio recordings of survivors that accompany each panel. Visitors have been very moved by the exhibit.
Simone and Rudolf two young, persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses, narrate the stories of their families and friends. Each panel heading poses a probing question for young viewers to reflect on. Short, true-life accounts show how Jehovah’s Witnesses answered these questions when faced with Nazi persecution.
The exhibit is accompanied by educational materials, many of which are free online at the Arnold-Liebster Foundation website. Since our target community has little to no money for teaching tools, they are very grateful when we can point them in the direction of quality materials that cost them little or nothing. The tri-fold teacher guide really benefits students and can be used as a pre-arrivaI by mailing teachers the guide when they book a tour, and as a “decompression session” after students see the exhibit. The classroom set of Facing the Lion: Memoirs of a Young Girl in Nazi Europe by Simone Arnold Liebster is a wonderful resource and has been added to our list of recommended reading for teachers bringing Holocaust education to their classrooms.
The exhibit has been very successful for us and is now a permanent feature of the Museum. While one cannot take religion out of the Holocaust – or out of what happened to Jehovah’s Witnesses – this exhibit is well done without proselytizing. We feel strongly about the importance of Who Am I ? Young Minds Forced to Choose, and recommend its use by other institutions.
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
Anna-Marie Davis, Phoenix, Arizona
To Whom It May Concern:
My students participated in an extensive study of the Holocaust that included reading Simone Liebster’s story about her personal experiences during World War II. Simone’s book provided students with the perspective about what happened to Jehovah Witnesses during the war. I loved being able to teach the Holocaust from various perspectives and experiences. In the ten years that I have been an educator, I have never encountered such an amazing learning experience as the one provided from Facing the Lion. It was truly an incredible opportunity to not only get to read Simone’s story, but then get to speak with her live from France!! I cannot stress how this is an experience that all teachers need to integrate into their study of the Holocaust.
8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Orangewood K-8 Elementary School
7337 N. 19th Avenue
Phoenix AZ 85021
Eileen Shapiro, Program Planner
As we wind down our exhibit, I wanted to thank you personally for all your help and support in bringing Who Am I? to the School District of Palm Beach County.
The exhibit began at the District office and had a showing at nine of our high schools. The response was outstanding. Our students and staff who were able to view the exhibit had very positive comments, not just on the display, but more importantly on the information that they gained about the role that Jehovah’s Witnesses played during the Holocaust.
Eileen Shapiro, Program Planner
The School District of Palm Beach County
Department of Multicultural Education
3388 Forest Hill Blvd., Suite A-204
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
Dianna Gabay, Director of Exhibitions and Collections
The Virginia Holocaust Museum’s staff wants to thank the Arnold Liebster Foundation for the wonderful exhibition “Faith Under Fire” and recognize its efforts to continue Holocaust education. Exhibits like the foundation’s help represent the entirety of the Holocaust to the Museum’s visitors. The panels of the display explain the story of the brave Jehovah’s witnesses who would not denounce their faith and defied the Nazis.
Originally planned from the 22nd of October through the 26th of November 2007, the Museum ultimately hosted the exhibition through the 26th of December 2007. Due to the overwhelming visitor response, the Museum requested a month-long extension for the display housed in its Holocaust Gallery.
Director of Exhibitions and Collections
Virginia Holocaust Museum
2000 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23223