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Volume 17, No.1 / Spring 2003            
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust
Writings of Nechama Tec - Questions and Activities

About Testimonies

Importance of Testimonies in Holocaust Education

Using Testimony in the Classroom

Recorded Testimonies of Survivors (1946)
Nechama Tec


Historical Background: Jews in Poland

Writings of Nechama Tec
  • Intro
  • Dry Tears (6th Grade - College)
      • Overview
      • Questions & Activities
Identity Chart:

Questions for Discussion:

1. Nechama Tec remembers her tutor, Hela Trachtenberg, as a person who had an immense impact on her moral values. Think of a teacher in your life who has had an influence. Describe the influence.

2. Describe other influential people in Nechama's life: her father, her mother, the Homars the helpers in Kielce, Tosiek, the helper in Otwock, Magda (the blackmarket woman).

3. What does trauma mean? Would you describe Nechama Tec's childhood experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland as traumatic?

4. Describe a memorable event in your life. Do you have vivid memories of the event? Do you remember as many details as you find Nechama remembers of her Holocaust years?

5. What does Dry Tears tell us about being an outsider? In particular discuss what it was like for Nechama to grow up Jewish in a Catholic society.

6. There were several Poles who helped the Bawnik family during the Holocaust. Describe these Poles: their variety of motivations for helping, their treatment of the Bawniks, and their attitudes towards Jews. From Dry Tears, can you make any generalizations about "helpers" or is each helper so different from another that there are no general characteristics you can find?

7. Discuss why you think Nechama Tec decided to open her memoir with events in 1942 rather than with the events of 1939 at the start of the war.

Classroom Activites:

1. Create an identity chart for yourself.
2. Interview each other, focusing on what you see as key moments in your own life.
3. Find a family photo that best illustrates how you would describe your family and caption it.

The next issue of Dimensions On Line, the third issue, looks at Nechama Tec's subsequest publications, including her forthcoming work, Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust (Yale UP, April 2003).

Dimensions Online
Volume 18, No. 1, Fall 2004
Yehuda Bauer

Volume 17, No. 2, Fall 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust--Part II

Volume 17, No.1, Spring 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust-- Part I

Volume 16, No. 1, Fall 2002
Remembrance and Commemoration of Two Catastrophes: September 11th and the Holocaust

Articles from the Print Editions of Dimensions
Dimensions continues to be the leading journal in Holocaust studies -- appealing to both serious scholars and the mainstream audience.
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