On January 27, 1945 Soviet troops entered the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, and liberated the 7,000 remaining prisoners. This large camp complex comprised of three areas including a concentration camp, extermination camp, and forced labor camp. The 7, 000 released were just a fraction of the lives lost at Auschwitz. In the five years before the liberation 1.3 million prisoners were deported to Auschwitz while over 1.1 million were murdered.
Today marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and was named International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the Untied Nations in 2005. It is an important day to share with our students. The subject of the Holocaust, though, isn't one that should be introduced lightly to our students.
Before starting any lesson on the subject please check out the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum online resources for lesson plans. An especially important tool is their suggested educational guidelines which are very helpful.
To honor this day locally take a trip to the New England Holocaust Memorial. This tremendous piece of art and architecture is located on the Freedom Trail near Faneuil Hall on Congress Street. Dedicated in 1995, it was begun by a group of survivors who now call Boston home. Information on the symbolism of the structure and the history of The Holocaust can be found at their site www.nehm.org.
And in a quote from Victor Frankl, himself a Holocaust survivor, "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."