Follow Abram Korn's Journey on the Interactive Map
encourage online learning about Abe's Story.
Please get in touch with me (JWKorn@aol.com) if you
would like to discuss using Abe's Story in your school or for information on special book prices for classroom sets.
program was created by Rebecca Crumrine, Jennifer Berger, and Joseph Korn to help teach and learn about the Holocaust using my father's story.
Rebecca teaches at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in
Augusta, Georgia and Jennifer is working on her Masters Degree in education.
Abe's Story: A Holocaust Memoir by Abram Korn
Introduction Abe's Story: A Holocaust Memoir is the incredible story of
one man's journey through the Holocaust. My father, Abram Korn, was only 16 years old when
Hitler's air force, the Luftwaffe, attacked his home town of Lipno, Poland, on
the first day of World War II, September 1, 1939. He survived the entire war as
a Jewish prisoner, enduring the ghettos, the horrific concentration camps, and
the 150-mile Death March from Auschwitz in the middle of the bitterly cold Polish
winter. Astoundingly, my father kept his sense of human dignity, helping others to
survive while he helped himself. He always believed he could live one more day,
and on April 11, 1945, when Buchenwald Concentration Camp was liberated, he was
Abe's Story continues with the rebuilding of my father's life with several
other survivors in post-war Germany, his marriage to Ellie, a German Lutheran who later converted to Judaism, and Dad's emigration to America in 1949. I continue the story in the Epilogue,
telling of my mother's delayed emigration, how my parents built a remarkably
successful business and proudly raised their family in the Jewish tradition. In
the Afterward, I share the emotional story of Dad's last days on earth. I tell how the original manuscript came to be written, and
I tell of my involvement in preparing Abe's Story for publication.
I also share a remarkable story of an American Liberator who grew to be
friends with my parents years later in America.
Dad died in 1972, when I
was only 19 years old. I have been speaking in schools and teaching about
the Holocaust since 1981. I know how to get students excited and involved. Abe's Story will touch you and your students hearts in unexpected ways.
Everyone who reads it seems to apply it in their own lives today. Abe's Story
inspires its readers to realize that they can achieve the high goals they set for themselves, despite any obstacles in their path. Reading Abe's Story will change your life.
Purpose The purpose of this cross-curricular guide is to suggest
activities that will help you use Abe's Story more effectively in teaching and understanding about the
Holocaust. Abe's Story will help students learn more about the world they live in today by inspiring them to realize the importance of tolerance and acceptance of all people. It stresses ethical and moral values. Just by reading and discussing the story, your students will gain more appreciation for family and for the freedoms and priveleges they have in their lives today. It will help them realize
that we all have the potential for good and evil in any circumstances; the choice
is ours to make.
- Create an "I Search" that will describe the life of one person in your
family, just as Joseph Korn researched his father's life. Use personal
interviews of the person and/or of people who know this person.
- If your
doesn't have a family tree, create one by interviewing members of your family,
going as far back in your ancestry as possible. If your family does have a
family tree, make sure it is up-to-date and learn as much as you can about your
- Write a news article based on one chapter in Abe's Story.
Remember to pull facts directly from the chapter to include in your article.
- In the Holocaust, the Nazis condemned people to death for no reason other
than their religion, their beliefs, or their heritage. Write an essay on
prejudice you see in America today and how it affects people's lives.
and discuss a poem about the Holocaust. Then write a
response to the poem or create a poem based on Abe's Story or on the Holocaust.
(Poems in Cybrary)
- Compare and contrast Abe's Story, a
account of the Holocaust, to a fictional account that you have read, such as
Number the Stars (Lois Lowry) or The Devil's
Arithmetic (Jane Yolen).
- Using your knowledge of life in a concentration camp, write a letter from a
concentration camp to a family member left in the ghettos, as Abe did while in
- Compare a current event to the Holocaust, such as the current situation
in the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Herzgovenia.
- Using pre- and post-World War
II maps, discuss the changes in country boundaries. (Maps in supporting material)
- Show the students Abe's journey throughout the Holocaust using the map found
in the introduction of the book or the Interactive Map in the Cybrary. Give students a copy of a map and let each
individual plot his/her own map.
- Think about Abe's experience of loss (his
dog, his friends, his family, his home, his family's business, his rights as a
citizen). Then, in small groups or individually, have students reflect upon
losses they have experienced in their own lives. Think about Abe's ability to
move on and survive in the face of such loss.
- Compare and contrast the
Holocaust to the struggle of other groups, such as Native Americans, African
Americans, and Asian Americans. Remember that you can't compare suffering. The purpose here is to consider how other groups of people have been persecuted because of their religion or their heritage.
- Discuss the systematic and intentional loss
of identity and self-esteem that Hitler inflicted on the prisoners. How does
this lead to the loss of the will to live?
- Define the word "holocaust" using
the dictionary? Using the supporting material, define the Holocaust of World War
II and discuss how it fits the dictionary definition.
- Using the population size of your town or community, compute how many times
the town or community would have to be multiplied to equal the number of innocent
people who were murdered in the Holocaust (approximately 12 million.)
people are unable to grasp numbers as large as one
million. Have students calculate how long it would take them to count to one
million if they counted one number for each second. Inform them that about 12
million innocent people were murdered during the Holocaust, and then ask them to
compute how long it would take to count to 12 million. Tell them to imagine that
one person is being murdered for each second they count.
- Using the estimated
population of various ethnic and religious groups in the United States, calculate
the percentage of those groups that would be represented by the 6,000,000 Jews
that were murdered in the Holocaust. (Use supporting material.)
- Compute the
percentage of the Jewish population of World War II Europe that perished in the
Holocaust and then use this percentage to see how many members of the class this
- Compute the number of days in
the war, from the day Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, to the day
Germany surrendered, May 8, 1945. How many people were killed outside of combat
each day, on an average, if 12 million innocent people were murdered during the
- Using the map of Abe's journey given to students in Social
Studies, figure out the distance, in miles and kilometers, between each location
in Abe's journey.
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- In small groups, have students compile a list of
ten things they can do to keep themselves healthy. Using this list, have
students examine the possibility of using their knowledge of these ten things to
create an unhealthy environment. Explain to students that Hitler used his
knowledge of health to deprive prisoners of the essentials of healthy living,
thus causing illness and death.
- Discuss different ways that Hitler could
create an environment that would promote death? Why would he do this when he
could have murdered people more easily and efficiently?
- What is frostbite?
What sort of conditions are necessary to cause frostbite and what are its short-
and long-term effects? What is gangrene and how does frostbite lead to gangrene?
What are the possible short- and long-term effects of gangrene?
- Look up and define cause and symptoms of the disease called Typhus. Discuss the connection
between lice infestation and the spread of the disease known as typhus. What
conditions create an atmosphere for lice infestation? Discuss how Hitler could purposefully create a typhus
- Discuss the number of calories a body needs to sustain an active
lifestyle. Have students keep a food journal for a day and calculate the number
of calories they consume. Then compare this to the average calories consumed by
a prisoner in
a concentration camp. (Use supporting material.) Remember to discuss the
differences between the amount of calories a student might burn in one day to the
amount a prisoner might burn while forced to do hard, physical labor for over
half of a day.
- Discuss the footnote on page 54 about how the prisoners were
subjected to conditions that caused dysentery. What other diseases could be
caused in this manner?
- View photos of Europe and of concentration camps before,
during, and after the war and write responses and impressions.
- Read a passage
from Abe's Story and illustrate the scene (draw, paint, sculpt, etc.).
- Illustrate an alternative book jacket for Abe's Story .
- Draw a picture of
your entire family. Show students the book jacket and explain that Abe was the
only survivor of the Holocaust in that picture. Then tell students that two out
of every three Jews in Europe were murdered in the Holocaust and have them
illustrate this ratio in their own drawings by shading or some other manner.
- Create a diorama of a scene from Abe's Story.
- Illustrate the different
colors of triangles on the camp uniforms that signify the different types of
people, referring to page 79 in the book. Draw prisoners, identifying them by
the different color triangles and the Star of David.
- Pick a scene and act it out.
- In the section of
Abe's Story about Auschwitz, Abe discusses the use of music in the camps.
Why would Hitler desire that music be performed in the death camps?
- Watch and
discuss the Prejudice and Hate video available in your media center (Georgia
Public Schools only).
- Learn Hatikva, the Jewish Song of Hope, including the
Hebrew phonetic and English translations. (Words and music to be included)
- Hitler viewed Germany as the cultural center of Europe, if not the world.
How could he have used that to incite prejudice?
encourage online learning about Abe's Story.
This preliminary cross-curricular guide is currently being formalized into
five- and ten-day lesson plans.
Significant discounts are available for quantity orders. I hope you will choose to order your own copy of
Abe's Story today.
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