Following in the Footsteps of the Fallen: Virtual Content Preserves the Heroism of Jews who Resisted
Online presentations organized by Dror Israel about the resistance of women and youth during the Holocaust resonate with Israelis in the lead up to Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
By: Amit Hameiri Maariv
In the Footsteps of the Fallen is the name of a series of online lectures about the Holocaust created by Dror Israel educators to insist on marking Yom HaShoah in spite of the country’s stringent social distancing measures. Dror Israel, which ordinarily plays a major role in Holocaust education in Israel’s public schools, received hundreds of requests from teachers for access to the virtual content in order to keep the ethos of remembering alive for the younger generation.
Online content included lectures about the role of doctors and nurses during the Holocaust, women who resisted, and the rebellion of the youth movements. Additionally, schools and educational organizations were offered a virtual tour of the “Path of Heroism” in the Warsaw Ghetto. This first-of-its-kind virtual tour follows in the footsteps of the famed ghetto fighters who did battle with the Nazis and fought to preserve Jewish pride and dignity amid the horror.
The project also included an array of school lessons for teachers to use in online distance-learning classes with their students. Programming included a special lesson for student councils, a set of materials for running an online ceremony for the local community, as well as opportunities to volunteer with Holocaust survivors.
All content ran through a special portal on Dror Israel’s website, where lesson plans helped thousands of teachers mark Yom HaShoah in a meaningful way with their students despite the current limitations.
In the Footsteps of the Fallen was given an added layer of significance on the eve of Yom HaShoah when movement members heard of the passing of Eliezer “Lolek” Grynfeld, a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto. After the war, Lolek found a notebook of poems written by his stepbrother Avramek, whom he never met. Avramek’s poems describe the experience of life in the ghetto through the eyes of a child. Lolek took this story with him all around the world. Members of Dror Israel became close with Lolek, setting his brother’s poems to music and producing an album that is regularly performed throughout Israel.