I ran across the Jewish Partisans group last fall while browsing through the vendor area at NCSS last November and walked away impressed with their resources and materials. It’s a group I hadn’t heard of but their stuff seemed to fit perfectly into a lesson I’ve been using to focus on historical thinking skills. So I spent some time at their booth and came away impressed. I’m waiting on some of their free goodies and, while I’m not a World War II / Holocaust expert, what I’ve seen so far is pretty impressive.
What is the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation?
Most people have never heard of the 20,000-30,000 Jews who fought back against the Nazis as Jewish partisans. These Jews were responsible for thwarting the Nazi war machine in countless ways. This information has the power to transform people’s perception of the Jewish experience during the Holocaust.
The mission of the JPEF is to develop and distribute effective educational materials about the Jewish partisans and their life lessons, bringing the celebration of heroic resistance against tyranny into educational and cultural organizations.
JPEF’s goal is to engage and educate teens about the Jewish partisans. Recognizing that this learning can take place in a variety of settings, they’ve put together a variety of resources and materials.
I think we fail to tell the entire story if we don’t include these sorts of accounts into our World War II and Holocaust lessons. Many of our students have a perception that all Jews (and other groups persecuted during World War II) passively submitted to German orders. The story of the Partisans can be an eye-opening tale that highlights one of the many ways that Jews resisted the efforts of Germans and their allies.
What are their resources?
Start here to get the basics. You’ll find articles, photo galleries, maps, a virtual bunker, free article and poster downloads, FAQs, and an amazing Ask a Partisan section.
The JPEF has produced a comprehensive and thought-provoking new curriculum called RESIST, designed to transmit the enduring understandings arising from the stories of the Jewish partisans. With layers of interactivity unprecedented in most any curriculum, RESIST is designed for 6th – 12th grade students in formal and informal settings, and is divided into four main subject areas: History, Values, Leadership, and Heroes.
- Lesson Plans: Designed for formal settings, RESIST Lesson Plans provide educators with ready-to-use 45-60 minute lessons, complete with step-by-step procedures, teacher guides, and illustrations.
- Activities: Geared primarily for informal settings, RESIST Activities use fun and exciting experiential programs to educate teens about the Jewish partisans.
- Study Guides: RESIST Study Guides cover subjects ranging from how partisans lived and survived to how they dealt with antisemitism within their own partisan groups.
- Twitter Book Studies: Uou can use social media to engage your students by connecting them with classes across the country to analyze and explore the new Jewish partisan memoir, If, By Miracle, by Michael Kutz. The Twitter Book Club, a real-time online conversation – hosted and moderated by the Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program (HSMP) – brings the reading alive through social media.
With 12 videos available, you and your kids can witness the Jewish partisans’ stories of endurance, victory, and struggle during WWII. Each 3-20 minute film tells a true tale of survival and courage from actual partisans and can be streamed directly via the website. Films are also available on DVD.
Use the online courses to learn more about the Partisans. Designed specifically for teachers to become more familiar with the topic, the 11 courses can also be used as direct instruction or small group exercises with your students. The courses range from 20 to 90 minutes, perfect length as part of your unit design. One of the 11 courses includes one that focuses on using the Daniel Craig movie Defiance.
An on-going site with articles, Q & A, and additional resources.