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Video: A Lesson in Humanity From Children's Holocaust Diaries

Alexandra Zapruder, author of the book Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust, discusses how children's accounts of the genocide during WWII serve as a powerful reminder of the dehumanizing effects of racism, bias, and prejudice.

Video: A Lesson in Humanity From Children's Holocaust Diaries

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In the early 1990s, while working as a young researcher at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Alexandra Zapruder came across children's diary entries written during the Holocaust. Ten years later she would publish a collection of those entries titled Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust (Yale University Press).

The recent publication of the book's second edition follows decades of Zapruder's travels across the United States and around the world, speaking with students and educators about the diaries. Of this period, she notes, "I found myself in the thick of [an] emerging and changing [education] field" awash with "generalities," "vague lessons about 'tolerance,' " and "misguided and punitive methods to teach history."

For its yearlong bias series, Education Week sat down with Zapruder to discuss how these children's accounts of genocide resonate today as a powerful counterweight to dehumanizing stereotypes. In an edweek.org video interview, Zapruder noted: "Racism, and bias, and prejudice and stereotyping are ways of reducing people. Jews are this way. Blacks are this. Irish are this. It's reductive. You ignore their humanity. And that's what's dangerous about it ... that you don't see another person for the human being that they are."

Special Collection: Beyond Bias: Countering Stereotypes in School

Filmed By: Deanna Del Ciello and Swikar Patel | Edited By: Doyle Maurer | Interview By: Ariel Mond | Story Editor: Elizabeth Rich
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A version of this article appeared in the October 28, 2015 edition of Education Week as Unearthing the Humanity Beneath Stereotypes