Eighth-grade students from Barker Road Middle School recently participated in a live virtual tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, presented by Dr. Jerzy Wojcik from Oświęcim, Poland. Offered for the first time to Barker Road students, the virtual tour was part of the Social Studies World War II unit of study as well as the eighth grade English unit, Courage in Life & Literature: Diary of Anne Frank.
In written reflections, students of BRMS social studies department leader/teacher Karen Grace expressed how the virtual tour impacted them: “I feel very grateful for everything I have and that I was not around in that time to experience it,” “Future generations need to always see this,” “I was heartbroken about the conditions the prisoners endured and the millions of people who died,” “I do not have good enough words to explain how I feel. Awful is an understatement. I know we must see this information in order to prevent another Holocaust,” “I found it interesting that the presenter was able to teach us about Auschwitz using multiple methods: videos, virtual 3D and videos,” and “I liked how the presenter lives in Poland but was able to connect with us as if it was an assembly right here.”
In order to streamline the program and maximize time with Dr. Wojcik, students were able to submit their questions in writing. Each tour is two hours long, and the content can be adjusted to fit the considerations of the audience, such as age and background knowledge. The Auschwitz Virtual Live Tour provides a unique learning experience about the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp using historical footage, Holocaust survivor testimonies, panorama pictures and modern animation combined with virtual reality tools to teach about the horrors that happened in the world’s most infamous concentration camp. The tour was provided by The Center for Holocaust Education of the East Valley JCC in Arizona, in partnership with Dr. Wojcik.
The virtual tour can be viewed at https://holocausteducation.center/auschwitzvirtualtour/.