Since 2020, Julie Winter has been working on an English-language edition of the biography of Abba Naor. Relating to this translation work, the question has arisen concerning the extent to which learners of German as a foreign language should have a better knowledge of historical events surrounding the Holocaust. The lack of education on the topic in language courses in the U.S. is all the more pronounced, given the fact that many states have built Holocaust museums, which provide information about this part of German history. In Germany, teaching about the Holocaust is mandated by the Ministry of Education; various school subjects, including German, provide information about this difficult chapter in history.
Beginning in the spring of 2021, Julie Winter and Anja Ballis have been examining the question of what role survivors’ biographies can play in the learning or teaching of German. As the learning conditions in the U.S. and Germany are so different, their investigation becomes a comparative study. In both environments, they make use of the innovative technology of interactive testimonies and test the online version of Abba Naor’s narrative with their students. In this way, they are able to explore the similarities and differences in students’ reactions, opening up possibilities for a transcultural exchange on the question "What does the Holocaust have to do with me?"
Project start: March of 2021
Funding: Own resources