November 14, 2022
Leon Bass was 20 years old in April 1945 when his army unit helped liberate Buchenwald, a sprawling concentration camp outside Weimar, Germany. Martin Schiller, who lost most of his family in the Holocaust, was 12 years old on the day he watched the American soldiers roll through the camp’s gates in jeeps.
Decades later, both men recounted their experiences in recorded interviews with the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies. Those interviews, taped in the 1980s, help form the backbone of a new testimony-based high-school curriculum the Fortunoff Archive, a part of the Yale University Library, has developed in partnership with Yale scholars and teachers from public schools in New Haven and across Connecticut.
The curriculum, which officially launched this month, engages students in historical inquiry and close listening through 14 lessons that combine primary and secondary source documents, historical scholarship, and individual testimonies from the archive. While designed for high school students, it can be adapted for students in grades six to eight.