The website "Learning from History" is a publication platform
for educational projects (realized in schools
and in out-of-school, youth education)
dedicated to the history of Poland and its neighbors in the 20th century and human rights
Never again – why we need children’s rights!
Location / Region: Hamburg
Institution: Simone Anker
Patron / Project supervision: Simone Anker
Project authors: Simone Anker
Age group: High school
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Simone Anker

Introductory remarks

In the learning module, the concept of “learning for Human Rights”, or in this case “Children’s Rights” is brought into focus. The students get to know the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of a Child and the UNCRC. As Eckmann states in her article, it is difficult to learn how to prevent the violation of human rights within Holocaust Education, but the author hopes this learning module will lead towards an attitude of taking actions against the violations of children’s rights. Therefore it is also necessary to teach “within Human Rights”, so the learning module combines the visit of a memorial, active methods and group work.

This learning module enables to get a different perspective on historical events like National Socialism. Since there had been children’s rights written down in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of a Child in 1924 and were nevertheless extremely violated during National Socialism, the students learn that these rights are insecure and have to be fought for (especially since these rights were not and are not today laws but only guidelines). So this learning module shows children’s rights in different historical periods: the violation of the Geneva Declaration during National Socialism and the violation of the UNCRC today. By combining both fields, historical learning and education for human rights, the author hopes the students find this new approach motivating and inspiring.

Target group: students grade 10.

The learning module can be downloaded here soon.

STRUCTURE:

Especially before visiting a memorial site like the “Bullenhuser Damm”, it is important to prepare the students for this. In the case of the author, the students are not taught in their usual class. They have a special comfort zone. In this comfort zone they can talk about their feelings and problems. In the typical, course system, they are taught together with other students they might not even know. So it could be a problem that the students don’t want to talk about their feelings and emotions during the visit or the learning module. 

In the opinion of the author, it is necessary to implement a lesson containing exercises for confidence building before the learning module starts. For the reflection of each topic, it is important to have simple rules, like “everybody has the right to finish speaking”, “everybody has the right to have his or her opinion” or “everybody has the right to be listened to”. This is also a social skill the students must learn.

In this case, the destiny of the children of the Bullenhuser Damm is dreadful, the children were used for experiments and all their rights were taken away. There is no possibility to give them their rights back, no turning point, total hopelessness. So as I mentioned before, it’s impossible to teach the students how to prevent the violation of children’s rights in a case like this or to take actions and help other children to get their rights back. But the destiny of these children builds up empathy within the students and therefore leads to an attitude towards the violation of children’s rights.  

It’s always possible, that something unexpected happens, so that the timeframe is not realistic. Some groups or students want to speak a lot about their experiences, feelings, opinions… In this case the teacher should decide, if it is more important to stop the discussion so he/she can continue with the learning module, or not, because this discussion is very efficient for the learning process.

CONTENTS:

It’s important to learn that specific rights can’t be taken for granted and that people have to fight for them. The violation of the Geneva Declaration of the Right of a Child from 1924 especially shows this. A lot of children nowadays don’t even know that the UNCRC exists, or if they know of it, they don’t realize that this convention is violated in almost every country, even in their own country. They find out, that children’s rights aren’t laws but only guidelines. This awareness hopefully leads to the attitude that it’s important to take action and to fight for the rights.

The students visited the memorial site of Neuengamme in Hamburg and found out about the children of the Bullenhuser Damm. They were very interested in this topic and asked me to tell them more about it. Thus I started preparing my learning module with the visit of this memorial site. By preparing this visit, I came across the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of a Child from 1924 and decided to connect the violation of these rights with the violation of the UNCRC today.

METHODS:

In the table the author presents a lot of methods, where the students have to work with each other, listen to each other or express their own opinion. I think this is very important for an atmosphere of “learning within Human Rights”.

It would get boring for the students only to do group work, or only to prepare posters, or only to discuss, I tried to implement different methods in each lesson.

MATERIALS:

The facilitator should mention the time available before each part. If possible, he/she should write the time on the board so that it’s visible for the students during their work. Then they know how much time they have left for their work.

It’s important to use current articles or texts related to the news. So if there are some violations ongoing in a country, it’s necessary to use these for the group work. Here, it doesn’t make sense to use articles, which are one or two years old and are not related to the environment of the students. Then they wouldn’t be interested in the texts. But if these texts are current, they will find it useful to learn about these violations. 

It’s very easy to find these texts on the internet or in newspapers. It’s also possible to let the students find articles on the internet or in newspapers as homework after the 2nd lesson.

If you are looking for the UNCRC in a child friendly language in English, please go to http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/files/uncrcchilldfriendlylanguage.pdf

FURTHER COMMENTS:

It’s also possible to visit any other memorial site in the 1st module. If you want to visit the memorial site at the Bullenhuser Damm, you have to book a tour via the “Museumsdienst Hamburg”. They coordinate different kinds of visits for groups. The website is www.museumsdienst-hamburg.de. The memorial site at the Bullenhuser Damm has got a website, too. It is http://www.kinder-vom-bullenhuser-damm.de/die_gedenkstaette.html.

(On this website, you can find pictures which you can use for the 2nd module (“pictures in my mind”). You can also take a camera with you and ask at the memorial site if it’s possible to take pictures.)

Furthermore, an implementation without any knowledge about the Holocaust could be difficult. In my case, the students have already learned about the Holocaust before and have visited the memorial site in Neuengamme.

Photo: 'Platz der Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm' - Großmannstraße in Hamburg Rothenburgsort.

Didactic text

Very important are the self-sustaining skills concerning “developing an own opinion” and the social skills concerning “listening to other’s opinion and respecting it”.

This learning module should lead to awareness within the students, that it’s important to take action. The self-sustaining and social skills will lead to an environment of ...

Methodologhy
Interpreting historical documents
Interpreting photographs
Concluding a discussion
Field trip to a memorial site
Creating local historical references
Subjects
Human rights
Knowledge of the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924
Violations to UNCRC
Disfranchisement during National Socialism