General Information

The story of the Jewish children during the Holocaust

An International Book-Sharing Project
Yad Layeled at the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum, the educational commemoration site for the Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust, invites you to take part in a unique study program, based on a communal project for students in Israel and other countries.

The project is being successfully run for grades 7-8 in quite a number of Israeli and American schools. The students read a book about children of their own age who lived during the Holocaust and share their feelings, opinions, ideas and thoughts about the book with each other. Working together, the children examine their attitude to the Holocaust and its influence on them as Jews, Israelis, Americans or human beings in general.

Project Aims:
Getting to know the world of the children who lived during the Holocaust.
Expanding knowledge of the Holocaust through literature and activity, with learning in small groups and creative activities.
Creating a dialogue between students from Israel and other countries about values, cultural pluralism and educating for democracy and tolerance.
Meeting the author Uri Orlev and getting to know his books, which deal with the Jewish child in the Holocaust. (Orlev is the recipient of the prestigious Andersen Prize for Children's Literature for 1996).
Teaching research methods that combine humanistic subjects and advanced technology, group work and the preparation of personal papers.
The Course of the Program:
During the first stage of the program the students participating in the project get to know each other. The students send each other personal and group identity papers in which they tell about themselves, their schools and the community in which they live.

The second stage of the project is the joint reading of one of the books by the author Uri Orlev, The Sandgame or The Island on Bird Street. We have chosen Uri Orlev, who went through the Holocaust as a child in Poland, because we greatly esteem his books, as do many people. Uri Orlev has received many prizes for his writing, the most important of which is the Andersen Prize for Children's Literature for 1996. It is of course possible to choose a different book.

After reading the book in class there is a learning process in small groups, which includes the selection and discussion of relevant excerpts and discussing them. A similar process is taking place simultaneously overseas. At this stage, when the two classes have finished choosing their excerpts, learning groups comprised of students from the two schools are formed and they discuss the excerpts via the Internet or other means of communication (fax, mail). The discussion between the students creates a common international study group. Learning together is an important tool for creating a meaningful multi-cultural encounter. A joint reading and discussion of the book can provide a bridge for children from different cultures. By discussing the book together they reveal the similarities and differences between the groups and a fruitful dialogue ensues.

The final project for the groups is the preparation of a group Reading Journal that summarizes the e-mail discussions between the groups in Israel and overseas. Each group prepares a title page or computer display for its project. The groups can expand their projects and include research on the subject, interviews with survivors and the viewing of pictures and documents from the Ghetto Fighters' House archives.

The final project is displayed in the school on Holocaust Memorial Day to teachers, parents and invited dignitaries from the community. Students from other countries visiting Israel privately are invited to visit Yad Layeled with their parents to get to know the exhibitions. Classes from schools in other countries who visit Israel with their school are invited to meet with their Israeli counterparts at Yad Layeled.

The program is coordinated by members of the Yad Layeled staff, and is accompanied by a teacher's guide that was written especially for this project. The success of the project requires suitable funding, manpower and equipment (see details).

Program Components
Essential Needs for the Success of the Project in the Participating Schools