Chronology of Destruction
Our Lives, Their Lives
“�most of all, I am impressed with how you present the history of Holocaust in such a well-organized, understandable way. This is why I find your method of presentation to the teachers and to their students, the faces of survivors, their voices, their stories and through them, the pulsating life of that time, so important.”
The Southern Institute for Education and Research is a non-profit tolerance education center based at Tulane University. It evolved from The Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism, which was the multi-racial coalition that led the opposition to neo-Nazi and former Klansman David Duke. The Southern Institute was founded in 1993 by Dr. Lance Hill, Dr. Lawrence Powell, Saul Mintz, Fletcher Thorn-Thompson, and Tulane President Eamon Kelly.
The generosity and altruism of Bill Goldring and Liselotte Levy Weil have made this website possible. We are grateful beyond words.
Since 1993 the Southern Institute has conducted teacher education workshops throughout the Deep South on the history of the Second World War and the Holocaust. In doing so we are exploring the events of that time as well as the fragility of civilization and the wiles of human nature. In a region of the country that is haunted by its own tortured past, we have found that it easier to talk about human nature when it is someone else’s human nature.
We offer two sets of workshops. The first set falls under the title Destruction and Resistance. These are one-day workshops that address the major events and themes from the First World War until the capitulation of Nazi Germany.
The workshops are based on research that we conducted in Central and Eastern Europe. Beginning in 1980 we traveled to places scarred by the Holocaust and interviewed those who had been bystanders, collaborators, rescuers, and victims. Their experiences were infused into our curriculum.
Teachers are presented with case-studies. They listen to the recorded voices of the individuals we interviewed and view images of the places marked by the torment of that time. Our study guides allow the teachers to follow the presentations point by point. We take them on a journey to a vanished world. Teachers leave the workshop with a thin volume of priceless knowledge, ready to be applied to the classroom.
A teacher in Birmingham, Alabama, attended our workshop, “A Small Town in Poland,” and called it “a perfectly orchestrated symphony.”
We also conduct a five-day workshop every summer, Teaching the Holocaust One Person at a Time. This workshop, funded by the Goldring Family Foundation, focuses on ten survivors who found their way to New Orleans after the war, and who are the subjects of our documentary series, Ten Holocaust Survivors in New Orleans. They called themselves the New Americans. We call them our survivors, and each one has a workshop devoted to his or her life.
We explore in detail those lives before the war, the decisive (and teachable) moments during the war, and the journey afterwards during the years we call “surviving survival.” We equip the teachers to be couriers of memory, recognizing that we cannot tell the story of six million but can tell the story of one times six million.
A teacher in Slidell, Louisiana, described the Goldring workshop this way: “I learned to see the Holocaust not through the numbers of victims but through the eyes of individuals. I feel like I know not only their story but them as well.”
We have culled the New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune for articles about the Nazi persecution of the Jews in the 1930s and their extermination during the war, and created a chronology that juxtaposes these articles with the experiences of our survivors at that same time.
We include here a biography of Liselotte Levy Weil, a Jewish refugee who escaped Nazi Germany in 1939 and settled in Eunice, Louisiana. Her experience, based on letters and documents, allows us to analyze U. S. policy on refugees before and during the war. Liselotte’s mother and sister were unable to get out of Nazi Germany and deported to a ghetto in occupied Poland in March 1942, never to be heard from again. Our workshop on Liselotte is titled “No Escaping Regret.”
For information about scheduling a workshop, contact our Education Director, Plater Robinson, at firstname.lastname@example.org
What did we know? When did we know it? We explore how the local newspaper in New Orleans, The Times-Picayune, covered the rise of Hitler and the Jewish tragedy.
This provides students with an opportunity to exercise their powers of critical thinking, to separate truth from fiction, to read between the lines, to reach their own conclusions, to recognize a falsehood.
To know what was being said at the time and what was happening at the time. And to compare that with what we know today, or what we learned subsequently.