Poetry in Holocaust Education Part 1/4: Introduction

“The historical, by its nature, tends to accent
the unfolding of events while indicating social and political trends. Art, on the other hand,
has always sought out the individual and his inner [world], and from that, it tries to
understand the [outside] world. Art, perhaps only art, is the last defense against the
banal, the commonplace and the irrelevant, and, to take it even further, the last defense
against simplicity.” Aharon Appelfeld is the internationally acclaimed
author of many novels and books about the Holocaust, in which he describes what I had
experienced in my 25 years of teaching, and that is that through short stories and art
and especially through poetry one can achieve a connection between pupils and the subject
matter of the Holocaust much more easily than a dry history lesson. On the website of Yad Vashem, under the heading
of “Education”, you can find many lesson plans that use poetry to teach the Holocaust and
help you convey ideas in the classroom.

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