Monday, October 14, 2013

What does it all mean?

Anne Frank at 12 years old in 1941
(Photo courtsey of

What does The Diary of Anne Frank mean to us today?

Students will analyze primary and secondary sources to understand US history from 1865 to present

Goal:  How do I analyze a primary sources? 

You may have heard of the word analysis and when teachers ask you to do it---do you know what it means?

Historical analysis is a breakdown of the primary source so you can draw a conclusion about what happened. History without any analysis, is just names, dates, places. It's more than that. When you analyze, ask yourself what does it mean for us today?

Just because you are students doesn't mean that you can't be historians and write an historical analysis.  You can learn to make conclusions with historical evidence with practice.

Some questions during analysis are:
1.Do you completely understand the primary source? Primary sources use vocabulary you may not know. Find out.
2. Why did the author write it?
3. What were the circumstances under which it was written? Was it a speech written over several days or a quick note to troops on the frontline?
4. What was the background of the author?
5. Was the source written at the time of the event or years later?

Activity #1

Think about being a teenager. What new experiences are you going through?
Are your relationships changing between your friends and family? What new things have you learned about yourself?Consider these questions in your answers.

Do you think your experiences are unique? Let me give you an example, all teenagers experience what psychologists call "the invisible audience". It's the feeling that everyone is watching you, looking at what you wear and what you say. Everyone goes through this. Trust me.

Activity #2  Quick review of Anne's story

Answer the questions so that the information about Anne is fresh in your mind to do Activity #3. 

Activity #3
This is only a prep for the analysis activity which will be in the next post. (Whew! )       (I heard that!)
Complete the following below about a passage from Anne's diary. Consider all that you've studied about Anne as you write. This is not a test so I want you to write what you think.

Thanks for participating! Love any feedback and please subscribe.
My best,

Monday, July 15, 2013

What is liberation?

Survivors at Bergen-Belsen eat with the dead in the background.
Photo courtsey of:

What happened to the camps once the Allies came? 

 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the major causes and effects of American involvement in World War II by
b) locating and describing the major events and turning points of the war in Europe and the Pacific.

Goals: At the end of this webquest I will be able to:
 1.  Explain what happened when a camp was liberated
 2. Explain the reactions of the Allies, the prisoners, and the Germans

 New history words: liberation, war on two fronts, Yiddish, MPs

Activity #1
Before we begin, write down two to three sentences on what liberty means to you. Or what would your life be like without it?

What is term liberation mean when we're discussing WWII?
The US liberation of Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria
Photo courtsey of www.

Liberation is when the Allies arrived and freed the population from Nazi power.  Liberation can apply to a city, town or to a concentration camp. In the winter and spring of 1945, the Allies (the combined armies of the British, the US, the French, and the Soviets) were closing in on Nazi Germany. The Soviets were gaining terrority in the East and the rest of the Allies were coming in from the West like a sandwich.  For Germany, this meant a war fought on two fronts (one in the east and one in the west).  It was clear to the fighting men that the war Europe would be over soon.  Meanwhile, as the Allies pushed nearer to Germany, they found and freed the concentration camps. 

     Unfortunately, for Anne Frank she died sometime in March or April 1945, just before Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British troops on April 15, 1945.  When Bergen-Belsen was liberated, the camp had no running water, little food and no toliets. Anne probably died from typhus, a infectious disease spread by body lice. It causes a high fever, coughing, nausea, and vomiting. Without any medical assistance, death is possible. Typhus is easily prevented with bathing and access to clean clothes. (Don't worry typhus is rare and only spread by body lice). 

 Activity #2 

Watch a movie on how the Allies discovered the concentration camps here.

Inmates fought the cold everyday with anything they could find. One teenager stuffed newspaper under her camp clothes.
The Soviets liberated Auschwitz on January 27, 1945.
The SS evacuated most prisoners before the Soviets arrived .
  Those too ill or weak were accidently left
 behind including these children

Activity #3

 Watch and read testimonies of inmates, liberators, and perpetrators of the Holocaust. (Don't worry all of these are short!)

Some vocabulary before you start Activity #3:

MPs are military police  (Hint: when on base don't make them mad)

Yiddish is a Jewish language. Offically, Jews use Hebrew, but in Europe Yiddish developed. It's a mix between Hebrew, Russian, and German. Since the Holocaust fewer people speak it, but it is language that was spoken in Jewish communities in Europe. In English,  you might be familiar with several words that are Yiddish:

mishmash: mixed up bunch of something

klutz: a clumsy person

nosh: to eat a snack.  I'd nosh when I came home from school. You know some cookies and milk, crackers and cheese, ya know.

schmooze: to chat,  to make contacts. Hopefully this person might do you a favor in the future.

Read about Hans Friedrich and Oskar Groning here.

Watch and listen to Fela Warschau here  and Alan  Zimm here.

Watch and listen to James Rose here and Ross Snowden here

Then complete the following IN COMPLETE SENTENCES!

Thanks for reading! I hope you learned something new! Amy

Works Cited
Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State. Public Broadcasting Service, 2004-2005.
        Web. July 8, 2013.

CDC gov. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013.
       Web. July 26, 2013.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States
        Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2013. Web. July 11, 2013.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What was Auschwitz-Birkenau?

  Find out what happened to Anne and her family

  VA USII.7b  Locate and describe the major events and turning points of the war in Europe


The main gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau. These tracks
reached directly in front of the gas chambers.
Photo courtesy of C. Puisney public domain
   Goals: Students will explain and describe:
      --a concentration camp
New words: synthetic, euphemism

   New history words: concentration camp, labor camp, extermination camp, death camp

View of a cattle car on display 
 at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Photo courtesy of United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum #n00090

        On September 4, 1944, the Frank family boarded a train to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Deportees taken to the east were crowded into cattle cars (see picture on right) which have no seats, restrooms, windows, or toilets.  
 First, what is a concentration camp?
     A concentration camp is a place where people are taken illegally because they are considered dangerous to the rest of the population. It's not a prison where people are held because they have broken the law and were convicted of a crime by a court. People who are in a concentration camp sometimes do not know why they have been sent there. The term concentration means to bring together to a central point. Therefore, the Nazis concentrated their enemies in camps so they could not endanger other Germans.
(As a student, when I heard the word concentration camp, I thought people were sitting around thinking really hard. Go ahead and laugh.)

Activity #1

What happened to Anne?

Watch a movie here to find out what happend to all of the people in the Secret Annex. 

Where was Auschwitz-Birkenau and what did it look like?

 Activity #2

Watch an animated map about Auschwitz-Birkenau here.

         Auschwitz was the largest concentration camp run by the Nazi state. In additon, it was an extermination camp or death camp where arrivals were murdered on a huge scale.

Newly arrived Hungarians on the
railroad platform at Auschwitz II
photo courtesy:
    There were many other camps throughout Europe, but Auschwitz-Birkenau (Auschwitz II) was different because it was a very large labor camp and a death camp. 
    Labor camps were places where people were worked doing anything to help the war effort. They worked in factories, railroads, farms, underground ammunition or weapons factories. Conditions were harsh as in other camps; very little food and long working hours. 
      Auschwitz was designed so that the trains stopped onto a ramp close to the gas chambers (see upper left). Next, the  Germans divided  everyone into two large lines: one for women and children and the other for men. From these lines, the Germans then chose a small number of people (men and women) to work as slave labor.  
      Everyone else were told that they would take a shower. The Germans said that everyone would be united with their families later. In reality, the people who were too young, too old, too sick for slave labor were killed shortly after their arrival in gas chambers located at the edge of the camp away from view. Most slave laborers found out much later that their families were killed shortly after their arrival.    
Photo: Auschwitz-Birkenau
 State Museum Archives
    At Auschwitz, slave laborers had many varied taskes. They  worked to build and maintain the camp, but the Germans were interested in the area because of large deposits of coal and other resources for a German company called IG Farben. The company worked to produce synthetic (artificial) rubber and gasoline. 

     On arrival, Anne, Margot, and Edith Frank were selected for work in Auschwitz-Birkenau. They made friends with another Dutch woman,  Lenie de Jong-van Naarden. She survived and her account was later published. (I've added extra information in parenthesis to help you with special vocabulary.)

      "The work that we did consisted of dragging stones from one end of the camp to the other. Why it was necessary, heaven knows? But there was another group who brought the stones back...Later,when we worked in a factory in Libau (another subcamp), making tire chains, we always did something to make the machines break down. Nothing was said; it just happened spontaneously...We were dying of thirst. Each day our food was a piece of bread, sourdough bread; sometimes we got a small dab of butter as well, sometimes also a teaspoon of honey in your hand. Annie and I always shared our portions in the mornings and the evenings. At most it was a slice and a half of bread. It was minimal, and later there was even less...I remember that Anne Frank got a rash and ended up in the Kratzeblock (medical barracks). She had scabies (body mites). Margot voluntarily went with her. Those two sisters stayed with each other, and the mother was in total despair.".

Krof, Hedda. Understanding Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl: A Student Casebook to
          Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Greenwood Press, 1997. Print. p.81.

       By January 1945,  Anne and Margot were moved from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen, a labor camp in Germany.  Their mother, Edith, was left behind at Auschwitz.  (If you're getting confused with all of the dates and places, click here for help.)  

       At Bergen-Belsen, Anne met a friend of hers from school in Amsterdam,  Hannah Gosler.  Click to hear Hannah's meeting with Anne below. 

Anne Frank Remembered. Dir. John Blair. Perf. Kenneth Branagh, Glenn Close, Karl    
Kraines and Anne Frank. Sony Pictures Home Entetainment, 2004. DVD.
(courtsey of Anne Frank House YouTube Channel)

     Hannah was a German Jew like Anne. Hannah speaks English but has a thick accent, so I have provided a transcript of her account below. If you're having trouble understanding what Hannah is saying, you're welcome to print it out and follow along. The words in the [    ] are my additions to help you. 

Activity #3 Complete the following questions

Thanks for participating! I hope you have learned something beyond your textbook. Please leave me constructive feedback to make each post better. Amy
Works cited

Anne Frank Remembered. Dir. John Blair. Perf. Kenneth Branagh, Glenn Close, Karl    
              Kraines and Anne Frank. Sony Pictures Home Entetainment, 2004. DVD.
Auschwitz: Inside The Nazi State. Writer and Dir. Laurence Rees. Perf. Samuel  West,                                                 Linda Ellerbee, Gert Heidenreich, Linda Hunt, and Horst-Gunter Marx.     
             Home Entertainment.  2005. DVD.

"concentrate." Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 20 Jul. 2013.
Krof, Hedda. Understanding Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl: A Student Casebook to
            Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997.
            Print. p. 81.

Nyiszli, Miklos. Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account. New York: Arcade Publishing,
            1960. Print.                        

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Betrayed and discovered!
Amsterdam's Jews were taken
to camps from the steps of this
theater in the Jewish district.
Amy Schwalb Photography

 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the major causes and effects of American involvement in World War II by
b) locating and describing the major events and turning points of the war in Europe and the Pacific.

Goals: At the end of this webquest I will be able to:

1. Explain the segregation of Jews
2. Role of local people in the Holocaust

      New history words: Gestapo (Nazi police),               collaborators, segratation, ghetto

       On August 4, 1944, the Gestapo (Nazi police) arrested all of the members of the Secret Annex. To this day, no one knows who tipped off the authorities that Jews were hiding in the Secret Annex.
     One of the German war aims was to get rid of European Jews. Considering that before the war there were 11 million Jews in Europe, how did they attempt to accomplish it?

Activity #1

First, read this web page here to avoid any confusion over who is who in the Secret Annex

Watch a movie about what happened that day here.

Westerbork transit camp
Photo:UK army photograph public domain
   Anne and her family were sent to Westerbork, a transit camp, in Holland. Transit camps were where people were segregated (separated) from the public. At Westerbork, food was scarce and everyone had to work, but families could stay together and even receive mail.
     Jews who did not go into hiding were rounded up and segregated into ghettos. Ghettos were  special areas of a city where Jews were housed.  In the ghettos, the Jews could be watched closely. The biggest Jewish ghettos were in Polish cities such as Warsaw, Lodz and Lublin. Unknown to the Jews, people held in transit camps or ghettos were waiting to be transported to other camps in Nazi territory to be gassed or used for slave labor.

Activity #2
     Consider how much territory that Germany conquered and how many people came under their control.  Germans needed help from the locals to eliminate the Jews. The Nazi relied on civilians to tell them where the Jews were and encouraged violence against them. People who cooperated with the Nazis were known as collaborators. 

      Click on this link: here to find out more about collaborators.

Activity #3
     Then click here to add a tag on an interactive photo called Watching Neighbors. When y0u open the link, click on the all the green buttons on the left to complete the activity.

             Then answer the questions:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Good friends are on the way...

Go on a tour of  The Secret Annex where the Frank family lived in hiding for over two years

      VA USII.7b The student will demonstrate knowledge of the major causes and effects of American involvement in World War II by:
      b) locating and describing the major events and turning points of the war in Europe and the Pacific.

At the end of this webquest, I will be able to: 
                      --explain D-Day                              
Westerkerk church near the annex
photo: Amy Schwalb Photography

Activity #1  Go on a tour of the Secret Annex 

    Anne wrote most of her diary while she was in hiding and addressed her entries to a fictional friend named Kitty, who was a character from a series children's books that were popular at the time.  Anne states at the beginning of her diary that her writings were to be a secret and she would be honest about her experiences.

     Today, The Anne Frank House is now a museum, the most popular in Amsterdam.  Their website allows visitors to go on a virtual tour of the annex. Remember the furniture that you see in the tour is not currently on display at the museum. The furniture was part of a special temporary exhibit and gives the online tour a feel of realism.

    You could spend as long as an hour or two on this website! It's a great experience! In the interests of time, this webquest requires you to:

The front door of the Annex that faces the canal
Amy Schwalb Photography 

1. Visit the following rooms during the online tour:

The Franks' Room
Anne's Room
The Van Pels' Room

To get directions on how to navigate in the virtual tour: click here

Remember to listen to the narration about each room.

Hint: read the questions first then try to find the answers. 

          The following questions are like a scavenger hunt.
Thank you for participating! Next post...what happens to the Frank family.
Please leave me helpful feedback and please subscribe. --Amy

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dear Kitty, an Anne Frank Webquest

Learn about Anne Frank, Jews in hiding, and the Nuremberg Laws

VA USII.1F  Analyze and interpret maps that include major physical features.
VA USII.7b  Locate and describe the major events and turning points of the war in Europe 

New history words: Anti-Semitic, Nuremberg Laws
New words: persecution

What will I know at the end of this webquest?

Goals:  1. I will be able to identify major countries in Europe on a map
            2. I will be able to explain and/or describe:
                 -- Anti-Semetic laws or the Nuremberg Laws
                 --why some Jews chose to go into hiding  

Who was Anne Frank?

    Anne Frank was a Jewish girl living in the Netherlands when the Nazis invaded in 1940. Her father, Otto Frank, was a businessman who owned a company, Opekta, that produced pectin, a type of wax that is used to make jams.
  In 1947, Mr. Frank published his daughter's diary that she wrote while they were living secretly in the attic at the Opekta warehouse.

Activity #1  1. Watch a movie here to get to know the Franks.

An advertisement for Otto Frank's
 company (photo: wikicommons)
Activity #2 Where is Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands or Holland.

 Directions: Identify the nearby countries and the city of Amsterdam on the map below. Look in a textbook, globe, or atlas to find the answers. Note: that this is a modern map of Western Europe. Label all of these countries in blue and then place a dot on where Amsterdam is located.

The canal house on the left is 263
 Prinsengracht,  the Secret Annex
 (photo: wikicommons)
    Persecution is harrassing someone unjustly because they are different.  Many different people have been persecuted throughout history because of religion, nationality, race, and gender.
 Activity #3  What type restrictions did the Nazis place on Jews that forced the Franks into hiding?

By 1942, it was clear to many Dutch Jews that they could no longer live as free citizens. Going into hiding meant that people found shelter (in attics, basements, behind walls) where they could disappear and wait until the war ended.     

1. Read what Anne Frank wrote about living in Amsterdam once the Nazis arrived here

2. Found out what happened that made the Franks go into hiding here.

Then complete the questions:


    Thanks for participating! Please subscribe and give me feedback! I want to make every post fun and informative. --Amy

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Butterfly

The Butterfly-- I love this poem and I'm not into poetry, really.
Read it slowly and then read it again.... 

This post is going to feel like an literature lesson. Too bad, historians look to literature to look for clues into the past. Remember that primary sources can be any form of communication that date from the time period.
 It was written by a teenager, Pavel, while living in a ghetto in what is now the Czech Republic. Remember while you read it that he was a teenager and not much older than you are now.
I designed this poster because I love the imagery. The poster is 12x24 and when I showed it to my husband, he wanted me to order a copy for ourselves to display. I was flattered. Below, I've presented as
a ppt slide.


Some reflection questions:
(Do your teacher a favor and write neatly and in COMPLETE sentences!!!)
1. Do you know what a ghetto is?  How did the Nazi use them differently than what we would refer to as a ghetto in the US? (Try to answer the questions, without help, but if you must click here.)
2. What imagery you visualize as you read the  poem?
3. What parts of the poem did the artist (that's me) used to design the poster?
4. What adverbs and adjectives does the author use? What do these words add to the poem?
4. What does the butterfly symbolize? Are there anymore literary devices and what do they mean?
5. Why did the author write this poem? What is he trying to tell us?
6. Why do you think the author chose to write a poem rather than in prose?
7. What can we infer about ghetto life from Pavel's poem?
I hope you enjoyed this piece as much as I do!!