Educational method “Who is to blame for the death of Edith Winkler?” Genocide as social responsibility
ERINNERN:AT, Holocaust Education-program by the OeAD, Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalization
Educational method for students from the 8th grade, based on biographical cards, which stimulate the discussion of questions of (co-)perpetration. The central goal is to understand mass murder as a social act in which responsibility cannot be reduced to a few direct murderers. With the educational material “Who is to blame for the death of Edith Winkler?” we turn our attention to the perpetrators (in the broadest sense) and ask specifically who bears guilt and responsibility for the death of Jehudith Hübner’s sister Edith Winkler.
The starting point of the learning material is the life story of Edith Winkler, who was born in Vienna in 1930 and murdered in the Holocaust. The focus is on the question of who was responsible for her death: How could it happen that a twelve-year-old girl was suffocated in the gas van? Based on information about life stories and decisions of different actors at the time of the Holocaust, the pupils discuss the concrete responsibility of individual persons and groups of persons. By engaging with specific individuals, their actions and inactions, widespread and largely false ideas about how mass murder could occur are questioned. Students challenge their preconceived notions and they gain an understanding of how ordinary people contributed to mass murder – or even to saving people.
In this way, the pupils deal with the question of societal co-responsibility for the genocide:
Without the complicity, support and participation or even the turning a blind eye of large parts of the population, the crimes of National Socialism would not have been possible in this way.
This nuanced understanding of the mechanisms that made the Holocaust possible can also be applied to the analysis of other genocides – and thus contributes to the prevention of genocide and mass violence.
Students from the 8th grade (age of 13/14).
Method / Format:
Educational method, teaching unit.
Language(s) of the project: