Voices of the Liberators
“Voices of the Liberators”, an Tikvah Association project, contains Holocaust primarily addressed to teachers as support in their activities carried out around and on January 27 (International Holocaust Remembrance Day). However, they can also be used during regular History classes throughout the year.
The resources are structured in six modules:
Module 1 – Concentration camps and Extermination centres/camps
This module gives teachers and pupils an introduction to the concept of concentration camps and their extension into places of execution. It gives an impression of the extent of the camps across German-occupied territory and the types of inmates that were targeted. The main groups of people that the Third Reich regarded as inferior, or a threat, are identified and examined in more detail.
Module 2 – Concentration/Extermination Camp Timeline
This factual pdf is prepared primarily for teachers to provide accounts of the development of three concentration/extermination camps: Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Mauthausen. Each of which was eventually liberated by armies from three different Allied forces: Soviet, British and American. The timeline sets the development of the individual camps in the overall context of World War II through providing a general timeline which shows Nazi history from 1933 to 1945.
Module 3 – Auschwitz
This powerpoint has been prepared for teachers and pupils to allow them to understand the development of Auschwitz, close to the largely Jewish town of Oświęcim in occupied-Poland, as a concentration camp for prisoners-of-war and then an extermination centre. The main focus is upon the testimonies of the ordinary liberating Soviet soldiers who provide an independent witness of the atrocities committed within the camp.
Module 4: Bergen-Belsen
This powerpoint has been prepared for teachers and pupils to allow them to understand the development of Bergen-Belsen in Germany from a prisoner-of-war camp, to an exchange camp and finally to a typhus-ridden place of death. The main focus is upon the testimonies of the ordinary liberating British soldiers who provide an independent witness of the atrocities committed within the camp.
Module 5: Mauthausen
This powerpoint has been prepared for teachers and pupils to allow them to understand the development of Mauthausen in annexed-Austria as a slave labour camp for political opponents to a command centre of many sub-camps, such as Gunskirchen. The main focus is upon the testimonies of the ordinary liberating American soldiers who provide an independent witness of the atrocities committed within the camps.
Module 6: The Black Messiah
This pdf tells the story of the 761st Tank Regiment which was the first Black (African-American) tank unit to be sent into a war zone at a time when there was still significant race discrimination within the US military. The 761st had a distinguished war record, including assisting in the liberation of Gunskirchen, a sub-camp of Mauthausen. Their story is briefly told, including their struggle for recognition after the end of the World War II. The title of the Module comes from a poem written by a young Polish Jewess liberated by a Black soldier at Mauthausen.
The Module can be used as a narrative to be discussed with pupils prompting a debate about the nature of prejudice and discrimination and where it can lead.
The basic materials contain PDF and PowerPoint presentations, as well as video materials containing testimonies of some of the Soviet (for the Auschwitz camp), British (for the Bergen-Belsen camp), and American (for the Mauthausen camp) liberators, in order to provide their independent perspective on the horrors of the Holocaust. We have subtitled these video materials into Romanian.
This project was launched on January 27, 2015 in a commemoration event held on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The “Voices of the Liberators” project was produced with the financial support of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Bernard Charitable Trust, and of The British Embassy in Bucharest. An extension of this project was achieved with the financial support of the US Embassy in Bucharest.