In this challenging time, many parents and guardians are looking online for meaningful activities for their children that don’t require too much prep or too many materials. Throughout this time, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will post learning activities geared to a range of ages that guide children how to explore heritage, history, and learning through artifacts.
|Note to parents/guardians: This activity refers to the Holocaust but does not go into detail about it. Please use your judgment to decide if this activity is right for your student.|
This activity builds on the skills of making observations and using the observations to draw inferences. Our educational approach is grounded in the idea that every object tells a story, and we encourage students to observe and infer to try to determine what story each object is telling.
Have your student list objective observations (what they can see, without making any guesses or inferences). Encourage them to deepen their observations and record things they may not have noticed upon first viewing the artifact.
Next, ask your student to make inferences: what do you think this drawing shows? Who might it have made it? What story is it telling?
This drawing was created in the Terezin Ghetto by Helga Weissova, a teenage artist. After she drew a snowman for her father, he encouraged her to instead draw what she saw.
It shows a group of Jews secretly lighting a Hanukkah menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum which is used to celebrate the festival of Hanukkah each winter.
- Describe the scene captured in this drawing – what is happening? Who do you think is pictured in this drawing?
- A group of people is lighting candles. These are Jews who are prisoners in Terezin.
- How are the people depicted? What do you notice about the style of the drawing? What does this tell us about the conditions in which this drawing was made?
- There are many people crowded into a small space. It looks like it might have been drawn quickly – the people aren’t shown in a lot of detail, and the lines look like they were drawn in a way that might have been hasty without going slowly to capture a lot of detail. This helps us learn that it was probably made in secret.
- How is the act of lighting candles for a religious holiday a form of defiance?
- Observing religious holidays wasn’t allowed. It would also give people hope and maintain humanity in the face of circumstances that tried to take away people’s humanity.
- Based on your prior knowledge, do you think that this artist would have been allowed to create this drawing? Why or why not?
- No, it wouldn’t have been allowed, because it wasn’t approved by the Nazis and showed the truth of what was happening.
- Why do you think the artist chose to create this drawing? How is art a form of resistance?
- The artist might have chosen to create this drawing to show others what life was like in Terezin. It is a form of resistance because it is showing the truth of what was going on.
We encourage you to share a photo of your student’s work with us! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may feature it on our Museum blog.