Wednesday, November 10, 2010

History - How the Story is Told

Recalling History on a Day of Light and Darkness - An article appeared in today's NY Times that explores the tension inherent in deciding what to commemorate, and who does the remembering.  It refers specifically to the fact that Kristallnacht occurred on the same date as the fall of the Berlin Wall many years later.  Both happened in Germany, both are commemorated by the people of Germany, both are significant events for Germany and her people.
When preparing to celebrate my own mother's 100th birthday several years ago, I came upon a number of sites on the internet that enumerate the events that happened on every day of the calendar year.  It was amazing how many things had happened over the years on her exact birthday - how few of them I knew about - and how even fewer did I realize shared the date of her birth.  What does that mean for how we learn, teach and understand history?

Ideas to think about:

  • We are more likely to remember that which has personal meaning for us
  • Time often diminishes memory
  • Some things seem to be remembered no matter how long ago they occurred
  • Every individual and every group chooses its memories according to their own criteria
  • Events that are publicly commemorated tend to be remembered longer than those which are not
Questions to think about:
  • Which events in Jewish history do we as a Jewish community commemorate publicly?
  • Which events in Jewish history do non-Jews know about?  Why? 
  • How do we choose which events to remember publicly?  Why?
  • In your opinion, what events in Jewish history should be commemorated forever?  Why?
  • In your opinion, which events in Jewish history will be commemorated forever?  Why?
  • Which historical big ideas do you want your students to remember?  Why?

No comments:

Post a Comment