STORIES
Lifesavers

Teacher Introduction

by Paula from Bellevue, WA

To the Reader

Those Who Were Gifted in Humanity: People Who Saved Lives During World War II is a compilation of biographical rescue stories researched and written by fourth and fifth grade students in the PRISM Program at Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Washington. A month-long unit on the Holocaust, that was part of a larger study of World War II history, provided background for the stories in this publication. Students learned about the historical roots of the rise of the Nazis under Adolph Hitler in Germany in the early 1930s, as well as, the Holocaust itself.

Our overarching, year-long social studies inquiry this year sought to help us better understand both the rights and the responsibilities of a citizen within a democratic society. As citizens we learned through our study of the Holocaust that, in addition to academic competence, it is critically important to strive for the ethical and critical thinking dispositions of heart and mind.

We learned that there were a very few individuals during this brutal and fearful time in history who recognized injustice and decided to act positively and courageously to counteract it. This book, written by students at the beginning of the 21st Century, is a testament to human beings who we have come to call “those who were gifted in humanity.”

Through reading these biographical stories, it is hoped that each of us might question and answer within our own hearts what it truly means to be a human being. We hope that it will help each of us gain insight into the attributes of moral courage which were displayed by those who saw injustice and did not stand by and allow it to happen, often-times at great risk to themselves or to their own loved-ones. We seek to affirm those attributes within each of us. These individuals have risen above the inhumanity of the Holocaust with their precious humanity; they are our moral exemplars and represent our hope for the future.

Paula Fraser
4th and 5th Grade PRISM Teacher
Stevenson Elementary
Bellevue, Washington
Spring 2007

* We are indebted to the book and video interviews by Gay Block and Malka Drucker entitled Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust.

Page created on 6/22/2007 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/22/2007 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.