Introduction

This pack has been created to support the primary school workshop element of Gathering The Voices.

  • The aim of this project is to gather, contextualise and digitise oral testimony from men and women who sought sanctuary in Scotland to escape the racism of Nazi-dominated Europe. Initially we are focusing on ‘survivors’ living in the Glasgow area.
  • More information and resources available at http://www.gatheringthevoices.com

About

  • This Teachers Pack is part of the Gathering The Voices education programme for Curriculum For Excellence Second Level and addresses experiences and outcomes in Literacy, Social Studies, Expressive Arts, Religious and Moral Education, Health and Well Being and Technologies
  • The Powerpoint and series of lessons concentrates on the experience of Gretl Shapiro, one of the individuals who sought sanctuary from the racism of Nazi dominated Austria in 1939
  • In her testimony, Gretl Shapiro describes her family’s life in Vienna after the Nazis took over. She goes on to give details of her arrival in Britain in 1939 through the Kindertransport system
  • Gretl was born Gretl Marle and lived from 1924 until 2012
  • She travelled to London in June 1939 and eventually settled in Glasgow in 1950

Guide to activities

B) Examine a Testimony

Slides 1-4 Introduction

Slides 5-13 begin to focus on the life of Gretl. Creating a time line of European/world events during her lifetime should create a context for life before and after the World War Two and emphasise the quality of life Gretl was able to experience throughout her long life because of her escape from Austria in 1939 and this should be contrasted with the consequences for those others who were not so lucky.

I can discuss why people and events from a particular time in the past were important, placing them within a historical sequence.
SOC 2-06a

I can gather and use information about forms of discrimination against people in societies and consider the impact this has on people’s lives.
SOC 2-16b

Slides 13-14 give the opportunity to hear Gretl’s own testimony of her early life. Provide a transcript of her testimony for pupils to follow, clarify and annotate if required. In the drama, encourage pupils to imagine and believe that Gretl’s experience is their experience; a camera will be useful to record their expressions which can then be used as a reference for the art activity to follow.

As I listen or watch, I can make notes, organise these under suitable headings and use these to understand ideas and information and create new texts, using my own words as appropriate.
LIT 2-05a

Inspird by ae range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through drama.
EXA 0-13a / EXA 1-13a / EXA 2-13a

I have the opportunity to choose and explore an extended range of media and technologies to create images and objects, comparing and combining them for specific tasks.
EXA 2-02a

Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through activities within art and design.
EXA 0-05a / EXA 1-05a / EXA 2-05a

Slides 15-16 provide the opportunity for pupils to realise that the crucial difference between Gretl’s experience and that of British evacuee children: in Britain, the government’s intention was to protect the youngest and most vulnerable, whereas Gretl’s parents sent her away to protect her from the authorities.

When I engage with others, I can respond in ways appropriate to my role, show that I value others’ contributions and use these to build on thinking.
LIT 2-02a

Slides 17-18 require pupils to put themselves in Gretl’s place, to see through her eyes, and bear witness to the shocking scene she describes. Returning to the earlier art activity and adding colour might suggest the complexity of her predicament – it would not have been a simple or easy decision on the part of her parents to send her away, and having witnessed events like the one she describes may have strengthened her resilience and ability to cope with leaving her parents and the life which lay ahead.

I can share my developing views about values such as fairness and equality and love, caring, sharing and human rights.
RME 2-02b

Slides 19-23 provide an opportunity for pupils to see the correlation between bystanders, perpetrators and victims; this can be related to anti-bullying/anti-sectarian education: the first of the eight stages of genocide begins with name calling.

As I explore the rights to which I and others are entitled, I am able to exercise these rights appropriately and accept the responsibilities that go with them. I show respect for the rights of others.
HWB 0-09a / HWB 1-09a / HWB 2-09a / HWB 3-09a / HWB 4-

Slide 24 is an opportunity to discuss the reliability of historical evidence. Even eye witnesses can claim to see different versions of what they have seen, never mind people who filter what others have seen through their own prejudices. Consider how friends in the playground will initially defend each other even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. These situations are usually remedied when the individual is faced with the undeniable testimony of the many. Different versions of a news story will be easily reconstructed in the classroom by asking individuals (primary sources) to write down what they witnessed in any given situation – then asking others who only heard about what happened (secondary sources) to write do their version of events. This can be easily upscaled to media news programmes; why do we believe what we read in newspapers and see on television? What critical questions should we be asking?

To help me develop an informed view, I can identify and explain the difference between fact and opinion, recognise when I am being influenced, and have assessed how useful and believable my sources are.
LIT 2-18a

I can use primary and secondary sources selectively to research events in the past.
SOC 2-01a

Slides 25-26 allow pupils to reflect on the qualities they might themselves might need to stand up to what they know is right and help equip them with the qualities they may need to stand up against injustice. The second part of this activity encourages pupils to engage with current news stories and to identify situations where the courage shown by the ‘good people’ Gretl mentions is needed today.

When I engage with others, I can respond in ways appropriate to my role, show that I value others’ contributions and use these to build on thinking.
LIT 2-02a

I recognise that each individual has a unique blend of abilities and needs. I contribute to making my school community one which values individuals equally and is a welcoming place for all.
HWB 0-10a / HWB 1-10a / HWB 2-10a / HWB 3-10a / HWB 4-10a

Slides 27-28 brings all of the difficult themes in this unit of work back to the pupils own experience. What is it in their own lives that matters most? Discussing what they might bring on a holiday for example should elicit a different response from what they might bring on a journey from which they might never return and contrast the relatively inconsequential with the more profound.

I can share my developing views about values such as fairness and equality and love, caring, sharing and human rights.
RME 2-05b

Slides 29-32 allow students to reflect on the nature of history and historical evidence and the importance of eye witness testimony. Pupils should be encouraged to ‘gather a voice’ of their own, recording in written form or with audio or on video the testimony of maybe a parent or grandparent who has a vivid memory of an event in their own lives. It might be an important occasion in the interviewee’s own lives – a birth, or a wedding or a funeral, or a football match or a holiday. These stories will provide an invaluable and irreplaceable social history of the families and friends of particular class of pupils, a history which was denied to Gretl’s young friends who were not so fortunate as to escape 1939 Vienna. This could form the basis of a school exhibition to which all participants and contributors could be invited to explore the work undertaken by pupils.

When I engage with others, I can respond in ways appropriate to my role, show that I value others’ contributions and use these to build on thinking.
LIT 2-02a

Through contributing my views, time and talents, I play a part in bringing about positive change in my school and wider community.
HWB 0-13a / HWB 1-13a / HWB 2-13a / HWB 3-13a / HWB 4-13a

I am developing my knowledge and use of safe and acceptable conduct as I use different technologies to interact and share experiences, ideas and information with others.
TCH 1-08a / TCH 2-08a

Click to read and listen to Gretl Shapiro - Life Before the War

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