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Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State:

Educational Outreach Elements


The Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State poster was distributed to 77,000 educators. The poster announced the airdate, promoted the Web site, and provided teachers with a range of resources (on the back), including guidelines for teaching about the Holocaust, background on the series, discussion prompts for using the series in the classroom, and related online resources. The poster was distributed to the following:

  • Social Education, the journal for the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), as an insert
  • High school teachers on the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) membership list
  • Catholic school administrators
  • Partners
  • General public (by request)

This customizable, reproducible project fact sheet provided information on the series and outreach.

Person-to-Person Activities

The majority of face-to-face activities for the project were conducted through conferences, outreach presentations, and teacher-training workshops. Early in the project, Toby Levine Communications, Inc. (TLCI), met individually with all outreach partners to determine their interest in the project and to discuss how the partnership might proceed. Once the Educational and Outreach Advisory Committee was appointed, it convened in Los Angeles for a one-day meeting to discuss the major themes and content of the series, audiences, educational and outreach activities, potential uses of new media, and ways in which the project could create additional partnerships and further those that had already been established.

Teacher-Training Workshops
KCET and Facing History and Ourselves sponsored eight teacher-training workshops led by historian Mary Johnson, with stations selected through a competitive grants process. The workshops were held between March 2005 and June 2005 at the following stations:

  • WTVS in Detroit, in collaboration with the Macomb Intermediate School District (March 4-5)
  • KETC in St. Louis, in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of St. Louis (March 16)
  • KUSD in Vermillion, S.D., in collaboration with a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) Fellow (March 18)
  • WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., in cooperation with the Rochester Area Council for the Social Studies (April 2)
  • KCET in Los Angeles, in cooperation with the L.A. office of Facing History and Ourselves (April 16)
  • WGBY in Springfield, Mass., in cooperation with the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center (April 18)
  • WFWA in Fort Wayne, Ind., in cooperation with the Fort Wayne Jewish Federation and the USHMM Fellows (April 21)
  • KERA in Dallas, in collaboration with the Dallas Holocaust Museum (May 31)

National Center for Outreach (NCO)
Toby Levine, director of education and outreach for the project, presented the series to public television outreach professionals as part of a PBS Pipeline session. (March 2004, San Diego)

National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)
Judy Bartel, a social studies teacher at Hill-Murray School in Minneapolis, spoke on "Teaching Respect for Holocaust Education" and screened a three-minute clip from the series for approximately 55 high school educators from Catholic schools. One-sheets and press releases were distributed, and Toby Levine answered questions. (April 2004, Boston)

Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO)
Robert Jan van Pelt, professor of cultural history at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Canada, discussed his role as a series scholar. Toby Levine introduced the three-minute preview and discussed opportunities for Holocaust organizations to work with their local public television stations on public programs around the series premieres. The one-sheet and press release were distributed. (June 2004, New York City)

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
Toby Levine, KCET's vice president of new media Jackie Kain, and English teacher and educational and outreach advisor Carol Danks presented on the series. (November 2004, Indianapolis)

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
Toby Levine, senior associate for Facing History and Ourselves Mary Johnson, and Robert Jan van Pelt presented on the series. (November 2004, Baltimore)

Each partner offered the Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State project unique assistance according to its mission and goals: Some partners served on the Educational and Outreach Advisory Committee; some reviewed the project's educational materials; some helped publicize the series and/or distributed educational materials to their members; some did all of the above. Selected examples follow:

Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO)
The Association provided the project with its member mailing list. The Auschwitz project also made a major presentation about the series at the Association's annual meeting and sent e-mail announcements to Association members regarding broadcast dates and poster availability. A number of individual members were instrumental in developing and facilitating outreach efforts for the series in their local communities.

Facing History and Ourselves
As a nationally known teacher-training organization on issues relating to the Holocaust, Facing History helped develop and facilitate the project's teacher-training workshops. Facing History staff also reviewed scripts and educational materials, and the organization co-sponsored a Boston-based screening and discussion with local public television station WGBH during the series' premiere week. Facing History trained their regional office personnel to conduct workshops using the series' resources and will continue to use these materials in their workshops in perpetuity. In addition, their staff consulted on the development of the educational DVD-ROM. (See details below.)

The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR)
In addition to publicizing the premiere of the program in two issues of its newsletter, JFR did the following:

  • Hosted a screening and discussion on the series with series scholar Robert Jan van Pelt as part of an intensive weekend seminar for its Lerner Fellows
  • Co-sponsored a one-day workshop with the New York City Department of Education for 59 high school social studies and English teachers. Held at the New York Tolerance Center on January 18, 2005, the workshop featured Robert Jan van Pelt and Wojtek Smólen, the senior English-speaking guide at Auschwitz.
  • Arranged for Mr. Smólen to speak about the series at six synagogues and community locations in New Jersey and Georgia
  • Continues to conduct workshops about the series upon request and encourages Holocaust organizations that are part of its Holocaust Centers of Excellence to do the same

Museum of Jewish Heritage -- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum's executive director, David Marwell, served as a scholar in the series' epilogue. Museum staff, in addition to reviewing scripts and educational outreach materials, also did the following:

  • Permitted the production team to tape the epilogue of the series in its building, which overlooks Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
  • Co-sponsored a public program with Thirteen/WNET which was attended by more than 300 individuals. An hour of the series was screened, and key issues were discussed by scholars Raul Hilberg, Harry Reicher, and Robert Jay Lifton.
  • Provided space for a New York screening and reception the night before the series premiere

The Web site provides a wide range of resources, including teaching materials, maps and other archival documents, background on the Holocaust, and information about the series.

Building Big Web site
View Auschwitz Web site

  • Learning Resources
    In addition to the teaching guide and community guide described below, this section includes a range of educational resources for the classroom or community, such as a glossary, timeline (described below), bibliography, Web resources, and a list of related organizations.
    • Teaching Guides: Developed for high school teachers of social studies, English, and the humanities, the six teaching guides (one for each of the programs) contain a segment-by-segment synopsis, before-viewing and post-viewing discussion ideas, curriculum connections, and selected readings.
    • Community Guide: This guide helps a variety of community-based organizations and groups lead discussions exploring lessons from the Holocaust, including those about power, politics, personal responsibility, violence, racism, prejudice, and diversity. The guide includes guidelines for teaching about the Holocaust, viewing strategies, discussion prompts, and related links.
    • Biographies: This section provides numerous biographies on individuals from the period, including prisoners, politicians and high-ranking German officials, SS officers, and other army personnel.

Building Big Web site

Building Challenges
View plans and maps on the site.

  • Auschwitz 1940-1945
    Presents a history of Auschwitz, including personal stories and essays

  • Dachau 1974
    A groundbreaking installation of video art by Beryl Korot, presenting a powerful personal and artistic reflection on the Holocaust. Installation can be viewed online.

  • Understanding Auschwitz Today
    An edited collection of interviews conducted by Linda Ellerbee with scholars, writers, and students on the meaning of Auschwitz today

  • Timeline
    Presents major events in the history of Auschwitz

  • Maps & Plans
    Includes archival maps, plans, and photographs of Auschwitz; an interactive map that explores the evolution of Auschwitz and its three camps; and a guide to Nazi concentration camps and ghettos

  • About the Series
    Includes segment-by-segment program descriptions, an interview with Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State writer/producer Laurence Rees, transcripts, and other information about the series

Preview Cassette

The seven-minute preview clip was fed to all stations as part of the PBS Annual Meeting Teleconference in May 2004. The three-minute preview (without the introduction by series executive producer Mary Mazur) was distributed as part of the 2004 National Center for Outreach Pipeline Clip Reel at its 2004 Annual Conference in March and also was sent to stations hosting outreach activities prior to the series premiere.

Outreach Grants

KCET/Hollywood made available eight general outreach grants of $5,000 to each of the following stations:

  • Georgia Public Television
  • KCPT, Kansas City, Mo.
  • KCTS, Seattle
  • KUHT, Houston
  • UNC-TV, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
  • WFYI, Indianapolis
  • WJCT, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • WNET, New York City

Although each local outreach project was unique, each station had to complete the following:

  • Preview the series for local religious, civic, and educational organizations
  • Arrange opportunities for adult viewers to learn more from experts
  • Involve viewers in informed discussions following broadcast of the series
  • Provide opportunities for high school teachers in both secular and faith-based schools to learn how to use the series effectively to achieve curriculum standards
  • Introduce high school students to Holocaust history
  • Engage youth in discussions about power, politics, personal responsibility, violence, racism, prejudice, and diversity

Station Toolkit

The toolkit was distributed to stations to assist their local outreach efforts surrounding Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State. The toolkit included information about the series, an interview with executive producer Laurence Rees, outreach ideas, description of outreach tools available to stations (e.g., one-sheets, program clips, posters, press release template) and information about and the application for the outreach grants.

DVD for Schools

KCET is in the process of developing an educational DVD-ROM version of the series that will contain five teaching units about the Holocaust, using roughly 120 minutes of the series that best correlate to curriculum standards and frameworks. Additional readings, images, maps, and other resources will be included on the DVD.

Next > Outcomes

In this section:

    Auschwitz: Inside the
    Nazi State

        Goals & Audience

>      Educational
        Outreach Elements


        Challenges &
        Lessons Learned

    Building Big

    Culture Shock



    In Search of Shakespeare

    Lewis & Clark:
    The Journey of the
    Corps of Discovery

    My Journey Home

    The New Americans

    Poetic License


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