After Vilna’s liberation in the summer of 1944, a group of local partisans returned to the ruins of the ghetto. In mounds of garbage and various hiding places, they found and extracted precious documentary evidence of life in the ghetto, including more than 200 posters inviting the public to participate in a wide variety of events and activities. How was it possible to hold these events in the midst of the mass suffering of the ghetto?  What can these posters teach us about the residents of the ghetto?  In this lesson, learners will examine eight of these posters to better understand the nature of life in the Vilna Ghetto. In addition, students will study a song and artwork from the ghetto, as well as testimonies of both survivors and victims. In small groups, learners will discuss the significance and meaning of the primary sources they have reviewed as well as the complex issues that emerge.

The learner will:

  1. Understand how survival in the ghetto manifested itself beyond one’s physical needs

  2. know the kinds of cultural and social activities which were held in the Vilna Ghetto 

be able to choose one of the posters or testimonies that holds special meaning for them and explain why

When you click on the Yad Vashem resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. A rationale that articulates why this is an important resource to study

  2. An introduction that incorporates survivor testimony and historical background

  3. A teacher’s guide for how to use the materials

  4. Thought provoking questions that will stimulate classroom discussion

  5. A summary with guidelines for a closing discussion 

  6. A historical appendix

Computer, projector, personal computers for each student (optional), student handouts

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