New curriculum on the Holocaust

December 6, 2018

A new curriculum for teachers, developed by the nonprofit organization Journeys in Film, in partnership with the USC Rossier School of Education’s Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education, will give educators more resources to help students make sense of prejudice and hatred, drawing on the life of Oskar Schindler as an entry point.

With anti-Semitism on the rise, the 25th anniversary of the release of the Academy Award-winning film “Schindler’s List” gives educators an opportunity to help students understand the Holocaust and its legacy.

In 1993, the Steven Spielberg-directed drama “Schindler’s List” left an indelible mark on audiences across the world.

Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, the incredible true story follows the enigmatic Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust.

A new curriculum for teachers, developed by the nonprofit organization Journeys in Film, in partnership with the USC Rossier School of Education’s Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education, will give educators more resources to help students make sense of prejudice and hatred, drawing on the life of Oskar Schindler as an entry point.

“We need to teach young people about the dangers of prejudice and the way that dehumanizing of a minority was used to advance an evil agenda,” Neeson says in a video message to encourage educators to teach students about the Holocaust. “We need to understand what happened and why it happened so that we can take action prevent this in the future.”

Evidence shows that the lessons learned from the Holocaust are fading. According to a poll of 7,000 Europeans conducted by CNN in September 2018, more than a quarter of respondents believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. A third of Europeans in the poll said they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust. And in the United States, recent anti-Semitic incidents include marchers wearing Nazi insignia at the University of Virginia and the massacre of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.

The Journeys in Film curriculum comes with eight lessons that explore such topics as the rise of Nazism in Germany, resistance by Jews and others against Nazi rule, the life of Oskar Schindler, and modern anti-Semitism. Students are also invited to cultivate film literacy skills with a lesson on the power of cinematography and later guided to make their own film with their cellphone cameras.

“I believe that through this powerful piece of filmmaking, students across the globe can learn about this dreadful time in history and how it is relevant for today and for the future,” Neeson says. “Film has a capacity like nothing else to captivate and educate today’s visually literate generation.”

For more information, visit the Journeys in Film website.

ABOUT THE USC ROSSIER SCHOOL OF EDUCATION: The mission of the USC Rossier School of Education is to prepare leaders to achieve educational equity through research, policy and practice. Consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best education schools by U.S. News and World Report, USC Rossier draws on innovative thinking and collaborative research to improve learning opportunities and outcomes, address disparities and solve the most intractable problems in education.