This unit explores survival stories, both fiction and non-fiction, from the Holocaust. We will look at the psychology behind survival stories. We will read and analyze two narratives of survival, both works that challenge the divide between fiction and non-fiction.
Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood
, by Binjamin Wilkomirski, is a memoir about his time in various concentration camps as a young boy. Wilkomirski claimed to be a Holocaust survivor writing his memoir, but it appears he made up his story.
, by Art Spiegelman, tell the story of his father's survival during the Holocaust and of his own survival as the son of a Holocaust survivor. This is a "graphic novel"--a novel in comic book form. We will also read
…I never saw another butterfly…
, a compilation of children's drawings and poems from Theresienstadt Concentration Camp during the years 1942-1944,
We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust
by Jacob Boas, and
Children in the Holocaust and World War II: their secret diaries
by Laurel Holliday (an anthology of children's diaries written during World War II). We will continually look at how these survival stories are told and compare the different texts.
(Recommended for English Literature, History, and Photography, grades 7-12.)