Storyteller and author Marty Brounstein, a one-time history teacher, has been on an unexpected journey of sharing an inspirational story of two Dutch rescuers in the Holocaust named Frans and Mien Wijnakker. Their true story of heroism is conveyed through his book The Righteous Few: Two Who Made a Difference. As his journey has evolved, he has now added engaging presentations about Jewish heroes and Righteous heroes of the Holocaust. The Course: Heroes of the Holocaust explores the least known and least recognized aspect of Holocaust publications and education, resistance and rescue. Amidst the horrific tragedy of the Holocaust comes remarkable stories of heroism and compassion.
Yes, despite insurmountable odds, there were Jews who fought back against the tyranny of Nazi Germany throughout Europe and even rescued Jews out of the Nazi clutches, and there were non-Jews willing to risk their lives to try and help save the lives of Jews from certain death throughout Nazi-occupied Europe -- those Righteous heroes.
Among the key aspects this engaging multi-session course explores are the following:
The historical picture of resistance and rescue in the Holocaust, from understanding what Righteous Among the Nations means to recognizing how any Jewish resistance and rescue was an amazing feat.
A sampling of Righteous rescuers and the real story behind the heroics of Oskar Schindler.
A sampling of Jewish rescuers and some of their non-Jewish partners.
Some key Jewish partisan leaders in the forests of Eastern Europe, including the Bielski brothers and Eta Chait.
The major rescue efforts that saved Jews in Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Denmark plus the American brothers who got Jews out of Europe into the Philippines.
The qualities of character that many of these Righteous individuals had, which teach lessons for our lives today.
This course has been well received by educators for professional development and by the general public as an enrichment course.
Testimonial: Heroes of the Holocaust
The Heroes of the Holocaust course that Marty delivered to a group of teachers from the East Valley region (Phoenix area) proved to be a very valuable experience. The participants involved greatly enjoyed the learning they gained from this experience.
In my school district, teachers do a lot with students about the Holocaust and other genocides. But this course Marty delivered went beyond focusing on the tragedy and atrocities. It had a very different purpose with a very positive focus. It focused on the individuals involved in resistance and rescue. These were people of diverse backgrounds yet with special characteristics that made a positive difference. Participants in the course often commented that they had not known this information before about these heroes and greatly appreciated learning about them for the positive lessons they provide.
In addition, what made this course so worthwhile was the intimate setting and atmosphere of it. We had 20 or so people around a table together who felt comfortable to ask questions and offer comments. Marty’s engaging storytelling style and his openness to questions helped make this happen. There was such good interaction throughout each session. Participants commented how the time just flew by.
So for professional development and just valuable and enjoyable learning, Marty Brounstein and his Heroes of the Holocaust course is well worth the time and investment.
Terri Welsh Secondary Social Studies Specialist Mesa, AZ Public Schools