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The Children of Willesden Lane is the powerful true story of Lisa Jura, who fled Nazi-occupied Vienna on the Kindertransport as a child. Jura was one of 10,000 young refugees who were separated from her parents and brought to England for safety before World War II. Our online companion to the book features musical selections to accompany the text, a study guide for middle and high school classrooms, and short videos.
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Ebert began his professional life as a saddle maker, and became active in his labor union before joining the Social Democratic Party. While an elected member of the Reichstag (German legislature), Ebert became a leader of the SPD. He supported the war effort during World War One, although he opposed the expansionist war aims and lost three sons. Following the abdication of the Kaiser at the end of the war, Ebert was given the unenviable task of leading the transitional government. One of Ebert’s first challenges was a rebellion from the radical left, which he put down in alliance with the conservative generals. The National Assembly chose Ebert to serve as President of the Republic. Committed to democracy and to the Republic, Ebert struggled to represent all of the people of Germany.
George Grosz was a "German American expressionist painter and illustrator. Born in Berlin, he studied art at the Royal Academy, Dresden, the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin, and the Academie Colarossi, Paris, and served in the army in World War I (1914-1918)."
During the Weimar years, Stresemann became the leader of the German People’s Party . Stresemann struggled to maintain party support for the Republic despite the anti-democratic forces within the German People's Party.
Reading Sholem Aleichem’s writing serves a dual purpose. First, it exposes us to the life and culture of Jews in a particular time and place—eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. Second, it allows us to connect history to our own lives, as any encounter with great literature does. Of course, recognizing connections between oneself and the life of someone who lived a century ago is a difficult task, especially considering that the particular world Sholem Aleichem wrote about is gone—transformed by modernization, and then eventually destroyed by the Holocaust. However, literature—because of its suggestive power—can serve as a bridge to the past.
These three lessons are centered on excerpts from the documentary film Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness by Joseph Dorman. The film looks at Sholem Aleichem’s life and the culture of the shtetl through several of his short stories, among them "On Account of a
Listen to music recordings and narration paired with The Children of Willesden Lane book and accompanying teacher's guide.