Discussion Questions and Activities for Teachers
1. Work in small groups to develop a working definition of "terrorism."
2. What kinds of lessons have you learned from Holocaust survivors?
3. What lessons have you learned from survivors of September 11th?
4. How do Holocaust survivors' memories of the Nazi era shape their responses to events such as
5. Using books on the Holocaust in your school library, select images of events mentioned in the survivors' reflections. How do these images compare with the photographs of September 11th?
6. The Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel reflected on September 11th in the October 28, 2001 issue of Parade:
Even when faced with the murderous madness of criminals, and in the presence of the silent agony of their victims, it is incumbent upon us to choose between escape and solidarity, shame and honor. The terrorists have chosen shame. We choose honor.
Why do you think Wiesel felt it was so important to comment on the terrorists'
attacks? What does he mean by "We choose honor."
7. On the Oprah Winfrey Show, Elie Wiesel reflected on why remembering atrocities is essential:
"I believe in memory. To me memory is a dimension without which I could not go on living. I believe that memory must serve as a shield. Because I remember there are certain things I will not tolerate..."
8. Sam S., a Holocaust survivor from St. Petersburg, Florida, has expressed his sympathy for survivors of September 11th. He explained that Holocaust survivors have suffered decades of dealing with the loss of their loved ones and that this grieving process was just beginning for survivors of September 11th. Have you grieved for September 11th? How have you grieved? Is this similar to other occasions when you have grieved?
9. Invite one or more Holocaust survivors to your school to participate in a roundtable discussion about ways to respond to September 11th. Use the discussion as a basis for planning a school memorial or program commemorating the terrorist attacks.
10. Write your Congressman arguing for or against making September 11th a national holiday.
11. Discuss the similarities and differences of terror on September 11th and during the Nazi era. Consider the observations of Yehuda Bauer, one of the preeminent scholars of the Holocaust, Making Connections: September 11th and the Holocaust.