"Names, Not Numbers© ": A Lasting Way to Teach the Lessons of the Holocaust.
It is copyrighted oral history film project and curriculum which
Tova Fish-Rosenberg created four years ago that takes the teaching of the Holocaust and its lessons well beyond many previous efforts. In a traditional Middle/High School classroom, students learn about the Holocaust through reading books, listening to lectures, or watching documentary footage of individuals they will never meet. But the “Names, Not Numbers” curriculum, transforms traditional history lessons into a lively, interactive, nontraditional program that involves individuals who have actually lived through the history being taught.
Unique features of the project include the academic, integrated, multidisciplinary curriculum, combining research through Internet web sites, video production, interviewing techniques, documentary film tools, and editing. Throughout the project, the students work with professional adults--a local newspaper editor, a filmmaker, and Jewish studies teachers.
After the training and research, the students gain first hand knowledge through being paired with and given the opportunity to interview and videotape Holocaust survivors, World War II veterans who liberated camps, survivors who later immigrated to pre-1948 Israel, and second generation, who are now living in the same communities as the students. This too is another unique feature of the program. Oral histories of this era depict either survivors or veterans. The students are preserving on videotape and DVD, a small segment of the history of World War II and its aftermath with the connections to Israel. At the same time the participants form intergenerational friendships with their interview subjects.
The crux of the curriculum is the one-hour videotaped interview that each group of students conduct with the survivor, veteran, or survivor and their child These interviews are then edited down to 15-minute segments and combined into the documentary film, "Names, Not Numbers."
In addition to the student-created documentary, the documentary maker/film director and instructor films the students, teachers, and interviewees throughout the process in a mini-documentary entitled "Names, Not Numbers: A Movie in the Making."© At a culminating event which honors the interviewees and showcases the students’ work, this mini documentary including 3 minute samplers of each interview, is shown. This film has also been shown at Yom Hashoah and Tisha B’Av programs in various communities.
To date, two hundred (200) students in grades 8 and 12 in five (5) cities have successfully interviewed and videotaped eighty five (85) survivors and WWII veterans. The curriculum and project have received accolades in the press and Tova Rosenberg was awarded the prestigious Baumel Award for Excellence in Jewish Studies from Yeshiva University Chancellor Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm. Among the schools participating in this project for three years, are Yeshiva University High School for Boys and for Girls.
Names, Not Numbers is a one in a kind curriculum which bequeaths the memories, stories and lessons of the Holocaust to students and inspires future generations to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred and intolerance.