General Information

An International Book-Sharing Project dealing with the question of morals and faith during the Holocaust and issues of human dignity and tolerance in the present.

The Ghetto Fighters' Museum invites you to take part in a unique educational program, based on shared learning and discussion about the Holocaust between Israeli students and students from other countries.

The project has been carried out with great success in several Israeli and American schools. Students read a literary work that deals with the human experience during the Holocaust, then share their opinions, ideas and thoughts about the book and about themselves. While working together, the students examine their attitudes towards the Holocaust and its influence on them as Israelis, Americans and human beings.

The project has been most successful when implemented in literature or history lessons, but can be introduced in other subjects according to your school's preference.

At present two books have been selected for the project: Night, by Elie Wiesel and The Sunflower, by Simon Wiesenthal.

Elie Wiesel, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born in Transylvania and survived the horrors of the Holocaust as a youth. His complex struggle to survive, and his incarceration in the camps with his father, raised questions of identity, morals and faith in his mind, as well as existential questions about the essence of the human being and his/her belonging to a nation and a place.

Simon Wiesenthal, who lived through the Holocaust as a young adult, presents the reader with a significant, life-changing experience that raised the question of whether or not a Jew could forgive a German. This question affected his life after the Holocaust, compelling him to become a hunter of Nazi war criminals. Dealing with the question of "limits of forgiveness" also leads us to examine our own attitudes towards Germans as a result of the Holocaust, as well as on our attitudes towards our present enemies and the other nations of the world. The book also leads us to question the Holocaust's influence on our cultural and moral world.

The Aims of the Book-Sharing Project:
To expand students' knowledge of the Holocaust, including history as well as cultural and philosophical issues arising from it.
For students to clarify their own values and positions as they deal with the questions of morality and faith found in the books they read.
To foster students' ability to make judgments, and express their own opinions.
To develop the ability to listen empathetically to people we are communicating with, as well as the ability to accept a variety of different opinions , positions and emotions.
To learn the importance of cultural pluralism, tolerance and democracy while recognizing the dangers of extreme nationalism and racism.
To engage students in study through a new pedagogy: using advanced technology with class discussions.
The project has three principal stages:
During the first stage the students participating in the project become acquainted with one another via the students' forum on the project website. The students tell about themselves, their school and their community. Simultaneously, they research the historical and biographical background of the book they are reading, as well as the aims of the Book-Sharing Project. They share the results of their research and initial learning experiences with their partner school.

The second stage of the program is to read and study the selected book, and to discuss its literary impact and its personal effect on the reader. Discussion of the book takes place simultaneously in each class and in the expanded learning environment - the internet forum. The forum becomes a meeting place for each pair of schools, and "an international learning community". Communication in the forum will also include stories and experiences from the students' day-to-day life. The forum discussions are a way for students to give expression to their emotions; to relate their thoughts and opinions; and a place to bring up new ideas. This on-going discussion helps to strengthen the personal relationships the students are forming with one another.

In the third stage of the project the students prepare the final project. This final project can be academic or creative. In recent years projects have included research papers, interviews with a Holocaust survivor, a computer presentation (can be based on the forum discussion as a "map of knowledge"), a group journal, works of music or drama, and the preparation of an exhibition and/or ceremony for Yom Hashoa (Holocaust Memorial Day).

The project concludes in the spring with a culminating activity such as an exhibition of the students' final projects. Many schools incorporate this event into a school or community Yom HaShoa (Holocaust Memorial Day) commemoration. Often schools invite parents and/or community officials to this program.

The Project Components
Tentative Timeline for the Project
Essential Needs for the Success of the Project in the Participating Schools

Additional Information
For general information about the Ghetto Fighters' Museum and its educational programs for schools - please call The American Friends of the Ghetto Fighters' Museum at: 201-833-5040, or e-mail: