by George J Elbaum
Open WindowSchool (OWS) is an independent school for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade who have been formally identified as intellectually gifted. The school’s mission is to nurture and inspire students of high intellectual ability. Its current enrollment is 355 students, of which 140 students are in grades 5 thru 8.
My presentation was organized by humanities teacher Arren Ellingson, for 43 7th graders. This study unit is designed for students to understand the causes of the Holocaust and explain the horrific events that occurred. Beginning with a study of the history of anti-Semitism in Europe, students come to understand how racism fueled the events to come. The students were provided a history of Germany after WWI, including how the Nazis came to power, the Nuremburg laws, Kristallnacht, life and death in ghettos, concentration camps, and Jewish life after liberation.
Arrangements for my participation were made by Julia Thompson, Education Program Manager, Holocaust Center for Humanity, who informed me that “OWS students in my experience are unfailingly bright, polite, and well-versed on the Holocaust beyond their years. We have worked with the school for at least 5 years now.”