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Redbank Valley Civics Teacher Brings Holocaust Tour Experience to Franklin High School
Harmon was one of 23 educators from across the United States who were chosen to take part in an all-expense paid journey through Poland last July. The five-day trip called “Echoes & Reflections’ Educational Journey Through Poland” was an expansive in-depth journey through multiple locations related to the Holocaust throughout Poland.
Locations that Harmon visited, recounted, and explained during the assembly include:
- Warsaw, the site of the largest ghetto in Europe where one of the major Jewish uprisings occurred.
- Treblinka, the most lethal extermination camp created during the Holocaust.
- Lodz, the longest-lasting of the ghettos created by the Germans, which was also known for the number of individuals who died through starvation.
- Chelmno, the very first extermination camp, where the Nazis first experimented extermination of groups of people.
- Krakow, which is now best known as where Oskar Schindler and others rescued Jews at a great risk to their lives.
- Auschwitz One and Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the extermination camps of the Holocaust.
The mood in the auditorium was solemn as Harmon shared stories of his experiences in Poland that range from taking a smiling photo in a street before finding it was a location where the blood had actually been known to run in the street to stopping at the entrance to one of the camps where one of the other teachers broke down in tears.
The photos he presented brought both the contemporary experience and the history together, often even showing side-by-side versions of the same location with historical photos and images from his own experience.
Harmon also shared photos of various Holocaust victims who lost their lives in the locations he visited, like Janusz Korczak, the director of an orphanage in Warsaw who gave up his own chance to escape in order to stay with the children as they were herded to their death.
The presentation, which was open to the public, brought the horrifying reality of the history of the Holocaust to life.
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