The project consists of the design and development of an interactive CD-ROM based on a variety of materials: original audiotaped interviews with German Holocaust survivors, who have become well-known writers, (excerpts of) their published works, i.e. memoirs, novels, and chronicles; historical texts, audiovisual material, photographs, maps (see attached list).
The disk attempts to fulfill a two-fold goal: to impart knowledge of a historically important period and to strengthen language skills. Making these materials written in a foreign language accessible to fourth semester students and more advanced students (for example by excerpting and providing glosses and activities) has the purpose of acquainting the students with a part of German history which is difficult to understand and difficult to teach.
The CD-ROM fulfills multiple goals: to impart knowledge of a historically important period, to engage students in interpretation and analysis, and, last but not least, to strengthen and refine language skills.
There are very few (if any) materials available, which are historically important, interesting to students, and easy to use for teaching and learning purposes. Making fascinating materials available to students in this electronic form should facilitate the task of acquainting them with a period in German history which is difficult to understand and equally difficult to teach. The processes of understanding the foreign language, as well as learning about the Holocaust, are aided by the mutually reinforcing effects of reading, seeing, listening, and doing.
The disk contains a variety of materials using different media:
- original, extensive audiotaped and transcribed interviews with
five Holocaust survivors, who have become well-known writers:
Katja Behrens, Inge Deutschkron, Ingeborg Hecht, Ruth Klčger,
- excerpts of their work, mostly from their autobiographies
- background material, such as historical texts, maps,
photographs, bibliographical, and biographical information
- an electronic notebook
Den Holocaust überleben: Gespräche mit deutsch-jüdischen Schriftstellerinnen.
Surviving the Holocaust: Conversations with German-Jewish Women Writers
- Monika Totten,
- Project Director
- Ruth Trometer,
- Project Coordinator
- Catherine White,
- Kurt Fendt,
- Consultant on Concept/Interface
- Matthew Mattingly,
- Screen Designer
The Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching (based at Yale University) has provided seed money and continuing support. The department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at M.I.T. has also provided support for this project.
My very special thanks to the five women who were willing to talk to me about their difficult past, their writing, their present projects, and their analyses of current events. They have granted the copyright to text, sound, and photographs.
Direct all inquiries to
The disk is being beta-tested.
The material is targeted for, but not restricted to, American college students with a good working knowledge of German (i.e., 4-6 semesters) and could fit into an advanced conversation and composition course, German studies course, a general culture course, a women's studies course, or a literature course.
Currently, it is being beta-tested in a fifth-semester language course and a course entitled "Introduction to Literature."
It is designed for use outside and inside the classroom.
CD-ROM for Macintosh (with 68020 processor or above).
The project has been under development for approximately 2 years. We have used it in different contexts for 3 semesters. We hope to complete the pedagogical apparatus (explanatory notes, historical materials, bibliographical references, etc.) by the end of August 1996. Future development will depend on funding. Possible development would point in different directions: extension of the pedagogical apparatus by creating activities, expanding the corpus by archival materials, and adding original video footage.
We have created a computer interface which, through multiple links for example, facilitates users' navigation through the hypermedia environment. It not only makes selecting, ordering and categorizing the abundance of material easier, but it also serves to stimulate the students' creative thinking; by ever-changing juxtapositions and contexts students will be forced to re-examine their assumptions and analyses.