Museum of Jewish Heritage Curriculum Guide: “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry
If you are teaching Number the Stars, we recommend using the following lessons from the Museum’s Holocaust Curriculum:
Lesson One – Introduction to Jewish Life During the Holocaust
Use this lesson in order to give students a background on life before, during, and after the Holocaust. We recommend that you omit artifact images as appropriate, depending on the age of your students.
Lesson Six – Experiences of Jewish Children and Teens
Use this lesson to teach about the varied experiences and options available to Jewish children living under the Nazis during the Holocaust. We recommend that you include the standard artifacts in this lesson, as it highlights how unique the rescue of Danish Jews was in the larger context of the Holocaust.
Additional Artifacts for Lesson Six
To further examine the experience of Danish Jews, add the following artifacts to the lesson (or use the same methodology on a separate day, depending on how much time you can spend on this lesson):
- Danish Resistance Armband of Jorgen Werner
This armband was issued to Jorgen Werner as a member of Group 7 of the national resistance organization Frit Danmark (A Free Denmark) on the evening of May 4, 1945, the date of the German surrender in Denmark. Founded in early 1943 by a group of junior college students, Group 7 was incorporated into Frit Danmark in summer 1943 as a newspaper group, gathering information and creating a weekly news sheet and monthly newspaper.
- Gerda III and blueprint of the Gerda III
The Gerda III was built in 1926 as a lighthouse tender (a boat primarily used to support a larger boat by transporting goods or people to or from another ship or the shore). In October 1943, the boat was used by the 22-year-old daughter of the boat’s manager, along with a four man crew, to rescue Jews from Nazi-occupied Denmark. After being brought to a warehouse along Copenhagen’s waterfront, the refugees were smuggled aboard the Gerda III and hidden in the cargo hold. The little vessel then set out on her official lighthouse supply duties but detoured to the coast of neutral Sweden and put her “cargo” ashore. The vessel was regularly boarded and checked by German soldiers, but the refugees were never discovered. The Gerda III rescued approximately 300 Jews in groups of ten to fifteen at a time. To learn more about the Gerda III, visit the Mystic Seaport Museum’s website.
- Photo of Eugen and Leo Goldberger at air-raid shelter in 1940
Leo (Lavoslav) Goldberger was born in 1930 in Vukovar, Yugoslavia to parents Eugen and Helene. He had one older brother named Milan (born October 1928). The family moved to Opava, Czechoslovakia in 1932 and then to Copenhagen, Denmark in early 1935, where Eugen Goldberger was cantor in the main synagogue. His name was changed from Lavoslav to Leo in Denmark. In this photo from 1940, Eugen Goldberger and his son Leo are standing in front of freshly dug air raid shelter in Copenhagen. The family fled to Sweden in 1943 and returned to Denmark in 1945. Eugen and Milan went to the US in 1946; Eugen’s wife Helene and Leo joined them in 1947. Leo became a professor of psychology at NYU and has researched the altruistic behavior of those who rescued Danish Jews.
Lesson Eight – Jewish Teens in Hiding
Use this lesson to have students further examine the experiences of Jews in hiding, in their own words. For 6th grade and younger, we recommend using the excerpt from Hidden: A True Story of the Holocaust by Fanya Gottesfeld Heller.