Quarter 4 – Blog Quest (40 Points)

 

Task 1:  Oskar Schindler – Righteous Among the Nations?

In 1962, Oskar Schindler was recognized as a man who was “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, an organization who recognizes “non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews in countries under Nazi rule” When the name of a rescuer is submitted for recognition, the Yad Vashem committee carefully investigates evidence of the  rescuer’s actions and motivations. The survivor or group of survivors involved must testify as to the rescuer’s deeds, and the committee gathers corroborative documentation from European historical institutions regarding the course of events in question. After studying each case, they reach a conclusion of whether or not this person should be recognized as a “Righteous Among the Nations”.

For the purpose of this assignment, you will be acting as a Yad Vashem committee member reviewing the testimony in the three documents below.  Two of the documents are testimonies given by Jews describing Schindler’s behavior upon his arrival in Krakow, Poland. The third document is a letter written about Schindler in case that during liberation the Allied army would accuse him of being a Nazi and arrest him.

For this assignment, write a personal evaluation about whether or not Oskar Schindler should be honored by this organization.  Your evaluation should be based on the documents and take into account questions the committee must consider:

  • What risks and dangers did the rescuer face?
  • Did the rescuer’s motivations include friendship, religious belief, etc.?
  • In general, to qualify for the title, a person had to have risked his or her life, safety, or personal freedom to rescue a Jew from deportation without asking for money in exchange.  Is this the case for Schindler?

 

Natan Werzel’s testimony

“In 1939, before the war, I bought some machines from an enamel factory at an auction. Schindler came to my factory like a robber, without any official appointment, and announced that as long as I run the business well, I would not be harmed. High-ranking German officers used to come to Schindler to buy and sell. I worked there for roughly a year or a year and a half. Schindler’s attitude towards me and towards the other Jews was generally good. One day he told me: ‘In Russia they line you up at the wall if you know too much.’ I knew all sorts of things about him. At the end of 1941 he paid discharged me. In the summer of 1942 he sent for me. He explained that he was under police investigation, that it was forbidden for Germans to buy businesses from Jews. He demanded that I sign forged documents indicating that I had sold my machines to a Pole before the war. I refused. He offered a bribe, and still I refused. He went to another room. Half an hour later, some SS men turned up in black uniforms and started beating me. Schindler himself was also beating and cursing me. I just lay there, and then I lost consciousness. After I woke up Schindler said to me: ‘Will you sign now, you cheat?’ I said I would. That night I had to go see a doctor. When I returned to my village, a clerk from the Ministry of Foreign Currencies in Cracow suddenly arrested me. He found Jewelry in my house, and took it. Then he said: ‘you can get this back from Schindler!’ This means that Schindler had told on me.”[1]

Julius Wiener’s Testimony To The Committee 10/10/1956

(The Wiener family used to own a wholesale shop for enamel.)

“On 15/10/1939 Oskar Schindler broke into our shop in a manner reminiscent of gangsters. He put his hand on the cashier, locked the doors, and then announced that as of that moment he will be taking over the running of the business. He attacked my father very rudely, spouting insults at him. He also threatened him with a gun, and when my wife tried to interfere, he shouted at her: “shut up you Jewish pig! Now you will get to know me and Hitler!” He demanded that my father kiss Hitler’s portrait. He forced us to sign some papers handing over ownership of the business. He didn’t let my father come to the shop but I had to continue working there, for a living.” (Mr. Wiener says that two months after this incident, Schindler accused him of cheating. The accusation was over the measurement of enamel. Schindler had arranged a similar false cheating issue in another factory of his. He threw Mr. Weiner out of the shop and ordered him not to return. The next day Mr. Wiener did return and tried to speak with Schindler.) “Around noon, some SS men came into the factory. They wore uniforms. Schindler pointed at me and told one of them: ‘Give him a quick haircut!’ The five SS men took me to the back room, locked the door and brutally began to beat and punch me all over my body. After a while I fell on the floor, wounded and bleeding, and then lost consciousness. After a while, when I woke up, I saw my assailants pouring water on me. The hooligan who had received the orders from Schindler, grabbed me, sat me down on a chair and said to me: ‘You lousy Jew, if you dare to bother the manager (Schindler) again, if you dare to come either here or to his factory ever again, you will go to the place from which no one returns!’ I did not come back. I understood that Schindler’s goal was to learn from me how to run the business. The minute this goal was achieved, he threw me to the streets like a discarded object…”[2]

A Letter Written by Schindler’s Former Workers

Signed: Isaak Stern, former employee Pal. Office in Krakow, Dr. Hilfstein, Chaim Salpeter, Former President of the Zionist Executive in Krakow for Galicia and Silesia

“Brothers! We, the undersigned Jews from Krakow, inmates of Plaszow concentration camp, have, since 1942, worked in Director Schindler’s business. Since Schindler took over management of the business, it was his exclusive goal to protect us from resettlement, which would have meant our ultimate liquidation. During the entire period in which we worked for Director Schindler he did everything possible to save the lives of the greatest possible number of Jews, in spite of the tremendous difficulties; especially during a time when receiving Jewish workers caused great difficulties with the authorities. Director Schindler took care of our sustenance, and as a result, during the whole period of our employment by him there was not a single case of unnatural death. All in all he employed more than 1,000 Jews in Krakow. As the Russian frontline approached and it became necessary to transfer us to a different concentration camp, Director Schindler relocated his business to Bruennlitz near Zwittau.
There were huge difficulties connected with the implementation of Director Schindler’s business, and he took great pains to introduce this plan. The fact that he attained permission to create a camp, in which not only women and men, but also families could stay together, is unique within the territory of the Reich. Special mention must be given to the fact that our resettlement to Bruennlitz was carried out by way of a list of names, put together in Krakow and approved by the Central Administration of all concentration camps in Oranienburg (a unique case). After the men had been interned in Gross-Rosen concentration camp for no more than a couple of days and the women for 3 weeks in Auschwitz concentration camp, we may claim with assertiveness that with our arrival in Bruennlitz we owe our lives solely to the efforts of Director Schindler and his humane treatment of his workers. Director Schindler took care of the improvement of our living standards by providing us with extra food and clothing. No money was spared and his one and only goal was the humanistic ideal of saving our lives from inevitable death.
It is only thanks to the ceaseless efforts and interventions of Director Schindler with the authorities in question, that we stayed in Bruennlitz, in spite of the existing danger, as, with the approaching frontline we would all have been moved away by the leaders of the camp, which would have meant our ultimate end. This we declare today, on this day of the declaration of the end of the war, as we await our official liberation and the opportunity to return to our destroyed families and homes. Here we are, a gathering of 1100 people, 800 men and 300 women.
All Jewish workers, that were inmates in the Gross-Rosen and Auschwitz concentration camps respectively declare wholeheartedly their gratitude towards Director Schindler, and we herewith state that it is exclusively due to his efforts, that we were permitted to witness this moment, the end of the war. Concerning Director Schindler’s treatment of the Jews, one event that took place during our internment in Bruennlitz in January of this year which deserves special mention was coincidentally a transport of Jewish inmates, that had been evacuated from the Auschwitz concentration camp, Goleschow outpost, and ended up near us. This transport consisted exclusively of more than 100 sick people from a hospital which had been cleared during the liquidation of the camp. These people reached us frozen and almost unable to carry on living after having wandered for weeks. No other camp was willing to accept this transport and it was Director Schindler alone who personally took care of these people, while giving them shelter on his factory premises; even though there was not the slightest chance of them ever being employed. He gave considerable sums out of his own private funds, to enable their recovery as quick as possible. He organized medical aid and established a special hospital room for those people who were bedridden. It was only because of his personal care that it was possible to save 80 of these people from their inevitable death and to restore them to life.
We sincerely plead with you to help Director Schindler in any way possible, and especially to enable him to establish a new life, because of all he did for us both in Krakow and in Bruennlitz he sacrificed his entire fortune. Bruennlitz, May 8th 1945.”
[3]

 

 

Task 2:  Responsibility and the Individual

First they came for the communists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

-Martin Neimoller

1.  What beliefs, values, and/or interests can drive individual decisions according to Neimoller?  Explain.

2.  What point is the poet making about the responsibility of the individual?  How does this relate to our study of a citizens role in a democratic government?

Task 3:  Science, Authority, and Conformity

The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of experiments conducted by Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.  Click on the link below to watch a short clip re-enacting the original Milgram Experiment and answer the questions that follow.

The Milgram Experiment

1.  What role do science and authority play in Milgram’s experiment?  Identify specifics from  the film.

2.  How does this experiment relate to our study of the American Eugenics Movement and to the Holocaust?  Be specific.

Task 4:  Connections to Today

 

Listen to the NPR story about the rise of the Golden Dawn party in Greece.  Identify and explain a major similarity and a major difference between the current situation in Greece and the rise of the Nazi party in Germany.  In addition, apply what you have learned in this class about the role of the individual – what would you do if you were a citizen of Greece?

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/03/151915923/angry-voters-could-change-makeup-of-greeces-parliament

 

 

Individuals, Conscience, and Conflict

“In matters of conscience, the majority has no place.”

The average German citizens interviewed for the film A New Germany gave different reasons as to why many Germans believed what the Nazis were doing was wrong did not make an effort to stop them.  Read the brief summary of the reasons below and answer the questions that follow:

  • Some people believed it was only a small minority of the Nazi party that was extremist.  When the Nazis began their persecution of Jews by calling for a boycott of Jewish businesses, may thought it would be brought under control by moderates in the Nazi party.
  • Some people argued that it was too dangerous for people to resist.  As one interviewee said, “Everyone likes his own life.”
  • Some people said that the Nazis and their program came on gradually.  Only when a specific thing hit you personally did you really fully realize what was going on and by then it was too late to act.
  1. Do you think any of these reasons are compelling?  Explain.
  2. How do the stories of Martin Neimoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer fit with these reasons?  What made them compelled to act and not the population as a whole?
  3. What lesson can be learned from this?

The Rise of the Nazi Party

In your opinion, which one of the following had the greatest effect on the downfall of democracy in Germany and the rise to power of the Nazi Party?  Be sure that your answer refers back to specific evidence from the readings, and/or the film.

  • national pride
  • economic hardship
  • charismatic leadership
  • propaganda

Science and Public Policy Blog – Reflection

After listening to the podcasts on science and public policy, choose one of the podcasts that was of a different topic than your own.  Answer the reflection questions:

  • Where do you stand on the issue?  Which argument presented did you find the most effective in convincing you of its merits?
  • What can be done to ensure the ideas of this issue will not be abused?
  • What connections can be made between this issue and your own?  Explain.

Rabbit Proof Fence – The Stolen Generation

The story of the aboriginal children taken from their families (often refered to as the “stolen generation”) was detailed in the government report entitled “ Bringing Them Home: The ‘Stolen Children’ Report (1997.)”  In order to complete this blog, you must go to the website below, and read and reflect upon the effects of this period in Australian history on the indigenous aboriginal culture.

http://www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/bth_report/about/personal_stories.html

-Read some of the individual’s personal experiences about this period of time and answer the following onyour blog page:

-Reflect on your own personal reaction to these accounts -state your opinion clearly and refer specifically to the stories in support.

-What appears to be the effect across generations of the actions in these accounts. Reflect on its effects in three of the areas listed below.  How did it affect the ability of the indigenous people to

  • Develop their full intellectual potential
  • Develop mentally and physically
  • Learn good parenting and coping skills
  • Maintain strong families
  • Deal with issues of racism
  • Develop a sense of self-reliance

Be sure to use information from the stories to show your reasoning for your conclusions.

Issues of Identity Quest – A Review

The purpose of the quest is to provide a review of the different aspects of identity that we have already discussed as a class.  Answer the following questions using the appropriate sources as well as your reflection on your own identity.  Answer should be made on your blog page.

This Quest is worth 60 Points

 

 

Source I:  “Incident”

 

Once riding in old Baltimore,

Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,

I saw a Baltimorean

Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,

And he was no whit bigger,

And so I smiled, but he poked out

His tongue, and called me, “Nigger.”

I saw the whole of Baltimore

From May until December;

Of all the things that happened there

That’s all that I remember.

– Countee Cullen

 

  1. Is this really just an incident to the boy?  Explain.
  2. What external influence might lead an eight year old boy to
    insult another child in the way described here?
  3. In what ways might a child’s prejudice be more disturbing
    than an adult’s?
  4. The speaker never directly states his emotional response to the experience.  How does the last stanza indirectly make clear the impression the event had on him?

 

 

Source II:  “The House on Mango Street”

“  Those who don’t know any better come into our neighborhood scared.  They think we’re dangerous.  They think we will attack them with shiny knives.  They are stupid people who are lost and got here by mistake.

But we aren’t afraid.  We know the guy with the crooked eye is Davey the Baby’s brother:  and the tall one next to him in the straw brim, Rosa’s Eddie V and the big one that looks like a dumb grown man, he’s Fat Boy, though he’s not fat anymore, nor a boy.

All brown all round, we are safe.  But watch us drive into a neighborhood of another color and our knees go shakity shake and our car windows get rolled up tight and our eyes look straight.   Yeah, that is how it goes and goes.”

                                                                                                                By Sandra Cisneros

1.   Point out examples of discrimination and stereotypes  are used in the story.

2.  Why is belonging to a group so important to us and to our identity?

3.  Who are the outsiders in this story?  Who or what determines who the “outsider” will be?

4.  In The House on Mango Street.,  Sandra Cisneros writes of “ those who don’t know better.”   What is she saying about how people create the “us” vs. “them” perceptions in our world.

 

 

Source III:  “Street Calculus”

street calculus

  1. Which words or phrases in the cartoon appear to be the most significant?  Why do you think so?
  2. Describe the action  taking place in the cartoon.
  3. Explain the message of the cartoon.
  4. What special interest groups would agree with the cartoon’s message?  Why?

 

 

Source IV:  “The Lunch Date”

 

1. What is the setting for the film?

2.  Describe the major character and her point of view throughout the film.

3.    What is the action of the story — what happens?

4.  What is the demeanor of the major character at the end of the film?

5.  Interpret the story for us –how does it fit in with what we have studied to date?

 

 

 

V:  Your Personal Identity

Write two paragraphs about yourself.  In the first paragraph describe all the influences on your life that have  helped to shape your identity:   Recall where we began and how we examined the identity of  the “Part-time Indian” .  Describe your personal identity in a similar manner.

In the second paragraph describe 3 major events in your life which you think have helped to shape your identity.  Some of these may be institutional – i.e. where you go to school and when – and others might pertain personally just to you.  Make sure you show how they helped to shape who you are.

 

 

VI:  Sum It Up!

Show how each of the five  exercises in the quest  illustrate how our identity as individuals, community members and citizens is formed.   Which influences do these exercises show about our  identity?

 


 

The Implicit Association Test

You will be taking an on-line test to see what associations you implicitly make about race.  The test requires you enter some demographic information first and then take the test.  You should set aside 20-30 minutes to take the test and fully read and analyze your results.  Be sure to read the descriptive information about the test carefully.  Follow all test instructions exactly and read fully about your results.

1.  Go to https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/

2.  Click on ‘demonstration’, read the overview and click on ‘Go to Demonstration Tests’

3.  Read the Preliminary Information and click on “I wish to proceed”

4.  Click on ONE of the tests having to do with race (Native American IAT, Skin-tone IAT, Asian IAT, Race IAT)

5.  If you see a green check mark, click “Click Here to Begin”  Follow the directions carefully while taking the test.

6.  Answer the following questions about the experience:

  • Describe the implicit association test you were asked to take.
  • What does this test indicate about what shapes how we see and act towards others?  Be specific.
  • How reliable do you think the test was?  Explain.
  • To what extent are our biases unconscious?
  • How can people overcome unconscious biases?

Eye of the Storm – Film Reflection Questions

 Looking at the structures that nurture bias and discrimination:

  • How did Elliott’s discrimination create no-win situations for those placed in the inferior group?  Provide a specific example.
  • It’s easy to understand why third-graders might not refuse to obey their teacher, but when the exercise is done with the prison staff, why don’t any of the adults object?  Explain.
  • Given the effects of this experiment on the participants (children and adults) over a day or two, what do you suppose the effects of discrimination would be over the long term for both the group on the ‘bottom’ and the group on the ‘top’?
  • Elliot’s exercise was designed to respond to the children’s question, “Why would anyone want to murder Martin Luther King?”  How might her students answer this question after the exercise?  How would you answer the question?

Stereotyping – Reading Response

Directions:  Choose ONE of the readings below and answer the questions that follow. 

 

Reading #1Joseph H. Suina, a professor of education and a member of the Cochiti Pueblo, recalls the effects stereotyping had on his behavior in the Marines.

From the moment my comrades in the military discovered I was an Indian, I was treated differently. My name disappeared. I was no longer Suina, Joseph, or Joe. Suddenly, I was Chief, Indian, or Tonto. Occasionally, I was referred to as Geronimo, Crazy Horse or some other well-known warrior from the past. It was almost always with an affection that develops in a family, but clearly, I was seen in the light of stereotypes that my fellow Marines from around the country had about Native Americans.

Natives were few in the Marine Corps. Occasionally, I’d run across one from another battalion. Sure enough, just like me, each of them was “Chief” or “Indian.” Machismo is very important in the Corps and names such as Chief and Crazy Horse were affirmations of very desirable qualities for those entering combat situations. Good warriors, good fighting men, we were to be skilled in reading the land, notable for our physical prowess, renowned for our bravery. In addition, we were to drink to the point of total inebriation or to be in the midst of a barroom brawl before the night was over. Never permitted to assume leadership, but always in the role of supportive and faithful companion, just like the Lone Ranger’s Tonto.

Personally, I was anything but combatant, and my experiences with alcohol had been limited to two or three beers prior to my enlistment. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that I would be accorded the characteristics of a noble and reckless warrior. Since these traits were held in such high esteem, I enjoyed the status and acceptance they afforded me among the men. My own platoon commander singled me out to compete in a rope-climbing event at a regimental field meet. After I easily won that contest (my Pueblo life had included a great deal of wood chopping), my stature as chief increased.

I actually began to believe that I had those qualities and started behaving in accord with the stereotypes. Later during my two tours of duty in Vietnam, I played out my expected role quite well. I went on twice as many search and destroy missions as others; I took “the point” more often than anyone else. After all, couldn’t I hear, see, smell, and react to signs of the enemy better than any of my comrades? On shore leave, I learned to drink with the best of them and always managed to find trouble.

Almost a full year beyond my four years of enlistment, I was recovered from my second set of wounds and finally discharged. I had earned two purple hearts, a bronze star, the Gallantry Cross (Vietnam’s highest military award at the time), and numerous other combat expedition medals. I also had, on my record, time in jails in Japan, the Philippines, and Mexico.

Reading #2 – Over twenty years later, Jeanne Park, a student at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, describes her experience with stereotypes.

Who am I?

For Asian-American students, the answer is a diligent, hardworking and intelligent young person. But living up to this reputation has secretly haunted me.

The labeling starts in elementary school. It’s not uncommon for a teacher to remark, “You’re Asian, you’re supposed to do well in math.” The underlying message is, “You’re Asian and you’re supposed to be smarter.”

Not to say being labeled intelligent isn’t flattering, because it is, or not to deny that basking in the limelight of being top of my class isn’t ego-boosting, because frankly it is. But at a certain point, the pressure became crushing. I felt as if doing poorly on my next spelling quiz would stain the exalted reputation of all Asian students forever.

So I continued to be an academic overachiever, as were my friends. By junior high school I started to believe I was indeed smarter. I became condescending toward non-Asians. I was a bigot; all my friends were Asians. The thought of intermingling occurred rarely if ever.

My elitist opinion of Asian students changed, however, in high school. As a student at what is considered one of the nation’s most competitive science and math schools, I found that being on top is no longer an easy feat.

I quickly learned that Asian students were not smarter. How could I ever have believed such a thing? All around me are intelligent, ambitious people who are not only Asian but white, black and Hispanic.

Superiority complexes aside, the problem of social segregation still exists in the schools. With few exceptions, each race socializes only with its “own kind.”

Students see one another in the classroom, but outside the classroom there remains distinct segregation.

Racist lingo abounds. An Asian student who socializes only with other Asians is believed to be an Asian Supremacist or, at the very least, arrogant and closed off. Yet an Asian student who socializes only with whites is called a “twinkie,” one who is yellow on the outside but white on the inside.

A white teenager who socializes only with whites is thought of as prejudiced, yet one who socializes with Asians is considered an “egg,” white on the outside and yellow on the inside.

These culinary classifications go on endlessly, needless to say, leaving many confused, and leaving many more fearful than ever of social experimentation. Because the stereotypes are accepted almost unanimously, they are rarely challenged. Many develop harmful stereotypes of entire races. We label people before we even know them.

Labels learned at a young age later metamorphose into more visible acts of racism. For example, my parents once accused and ultimately fired a Puerto Rican cashier, believing she had stolen $200 from the register at their grocery store. They later learned it was a mistake. An Asian shopkeeper nearby once beat a young Hispanic youth who worked there with a baseball bat because he believed the boy to be lazy and dishonest.

We all hold misleading stereotypes of people that limit us as individuals in that we cheat ourselves out of the benefits different cultures can contribute. We can grow and learn from each culture whether it be Chinese, Korean or African-American.

Just recently some Asian boys in my neighborhood were attacked by a group of young white boys who have christened themselves the Master Race. Rather than being angered by this act, I feel pity for this generation that lives in a state of bigotry.

It may be too late for our parents’ generation to accept that each person can only be judged for the characteristics that set him or her apart as an individual. We, however, can do better.

 

Questions: 

  • What did Suina/Park learn from his/her experiences with stereotyping?  How did these experiences shape their identity?
  • How does Suina’s/Park’s story identify a ‘positive’ stereotype?  Explain.  How can this be just as harmful as a negative one?
  • Consider the film “A Class Divided” and the lesson the experiment in Jane Elliot’s classroom teaches.  What connection is there with either Suina’s or Park’s experiences? What does it suggest about the way stereotypes shape our view of ourselves and others?

StoryCorps Identity Podcast – Reflections

Click on any link to the right to go to one of your peer’s (NOT your partners) blog page.  Listen to their identity podcast and reflect upon their story…

  • Briefly describe their podcast, explaining why it was significant to the formation of their identity.
  • What similarities and/or differences exists between this person’s story and your own?
  • Using your peer’s story as well as your own, what do you think is more significant in the formation of identity – external influences or internal qualities?  Explain.

 

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