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Memory of the Camps

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Film Notes

Fact Sheet

Using "Memory of the Camps"

Discussion Prompts

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» Using "Memory of the Camps"

» Preparing for a Screening

The footage in "Memory of the Camps" is beyond graphic. It is gruesome and disturbing. To ensure that a screening is productive, and to honor the victims, you might consider extending your normal preparation routine:

  • View the film ahead of time to give yourself an opportunity to reflect. That way you won't be dealing with your own raw emotions and trying to lead a discussion at the same time. It might also help to familiarize yourself with the resources in this guide and with those available to you and your students at FRONTLINE's "Memory of the Camps" Web site.

  • Carefully think through your reasons for choosing to show such a graphic film and be prepared to clearly articulate those reasons to your students prior to the screening. Without telling people what their reaction should be, explain why you think the film is important.

  • Caution students that what they are about to see is shocking. Engage students in a brief conversation about how different people react when they see things that make them uncomfortable and as a class, determine what would constitute respectful and disrespectful behavior during the screening. You might frame the portion of the discussion about respect by asking students how they would behave if a child or grandchild of one of the prisoners were sitting next to them. You might also offer students who are upset the opportunity to leave class and make available a loaner tape that they can screen in private later.

  • The film does not provide historical background, but it is very important that students have enough knowledge of geography and history to be able to place the images in context. To provide some of that background, you might review with students the reproducible map and film notes included in this guide. You may also want to assign students to read selected materials available on the Web sites listed in the links section of the FRONTLINE Web site.

  • If showing the film in its entirety seems like too much for your students to take in, or if time is a concern, you may want to simply screen the first part of the film, which shows footage from Bergen-Belsen. If you stop the film at this point, you might want to read to students the narration that concludes the film. A transcript is available on the FRONTLINE Web site.

  • Immediately after the film ends, pause for a few moments of silence to allow students to reflect and to respectfully transition into discussion. You might even invite everyone to take a deep breath. If you typically assign students to keep a journal, it would be appropriate to let them write some of their own thoughts privately before being asked to share publicly.

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