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The Hangman

DVD

12 minutes, color
Source: Out of print

A poem written by Maurice Ogden and narrated by Herschel Bernardi provides the script for this short film. It is a parable in which the people of a town are hanged, one by one, by a mysterious stranger who erects a gallows in the center of the town. For each hanging, the remaining townspeople find a rationale until the hangman comes for the last survivor, who finds no one left to speak up for him. Superb animation provides a visual accompaniment to the poem. This film works particularly well with discussions of the role of bystanders and the question of individual responsibility.

This poem is also available as a reading.

Related lessons:
Exploring Obedience: Germany Under the Nazis
Obedience and Traditional Jewish Texts: The Milgram Experiment

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