grown from one semestered course to three for the 2006 / 2007 school year at Mount Boucherie Secondary. The Holocaust is studied as an example to further understand other genocides such as the rape of Nanking (Japanese Imperial Army), Cambodia (Pol Pot), Rwanda (Hutu Perpetrators), Yugoslavia (Slobodan Milosevic), and modern Darfur. Thus students are able to draw comparisons and contrast these events.
A key aspect of my course is hope and selfless action. It is examined in the lives of heroes who have acted in the face of danger and tyranny. Such heroes are presented as examples for students to follow in their daily lives. They have acted on their learned knowledge by writing provincially recognized award winning essays such as “Genocide: The Paroxysm Of Human Hatred” by Jen Rekis, and “The Relevance of Night Today”, by Tanya Armes. Students also write letters to survivors, as well as to various media publications in order to inform the public. This way their knowledge can make a difference in places like Sudan and Rwanda. My students have warned of hate, fundraised for women’s shelters and Sudanese refugees with, for example the sale of t- shirts, one titled, “Give Hate a Break” another “Stop Genocide in Sudan”. These “mini- activists” are making a difference. Like Iris Chang, I share a “… pride in breaking the silence … comparing [the Holocaust and] the rape of Nanking to more recent brutality in Bosnia, Rwanda …” (Siegel, p.2).
Beyond hope and selfless action in the face of hate I have my students focus on the four basic groups of individuals associated with the Holocaust and other genocides: bystanders, victims, perpetrators, and heroes / saviors. Students study these four types throughout Holocaust 12 and are able to identify each. Students understand and are aware of the concept of hate and its impact at a personal and societal level. At the conclusion of this course, students are able to identify these concepts and relate them to events both historic and contemporary, while gaining awareness and assessing critical problems in our society. This empowers students to make a difference. In the words of one of my students at the conclusion of taking Holocaust 12: A Blueprint for Modern Societal Tragedies, “I have learned about the darkest times in human civilization. I have come to see the darkness of the human heart, but not just because of the atrocities we have committed but because of the lack of action taken … because of this class we will never be bystanders, we will be saviors”. At the conclusion of this course, a greater number of