Summer Virtual Institute for Teachers: Holocaust Testimony and Historical Comparisons

By Christy Bailey-Tomecek - February 16, 2022

July 11-13, 2022, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM EST

Historical comparisons are vitally important. But they are also very difficult to make. They require careful analysis and deep historical understanding.

How do we help students grapple with historical comparisons? And what role can testimonies play in this process?

Join us for an online professional learning institute for history teachers in grades 6-12, Holocaust Testimony and Historical Comparisons: Race and Citizenship in Nazi Germany and Jim Crow United States.

In this practice-oriented online institute, we will study three Fortunoff Archive testimonies to examine citizenship and the construct of race in a comparative perspective. We will learn from Leon Bass, a Black soldier who arrived in Buchenwald with the segregated US Army in April 1945; Martin Schiller, a Jewish survivor and child prisoner in Buchenwald; and John W., a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, who was a teenager when the Nazis implemented the Nuremberg laws.

We will study their stories, other primary sources, and historical scholarship to develop strategies for engaging students in historical inquiry and careful comparative analysis. The institute will combine conversations with historians, exploration of testimony-based curricular materials, and work with instructional strategies that engage students in historical thinking.

Institute Schedule

The institute will meet on three consecutive mornings, Monday, July 11th, through Wednesday, July 13th, from 9AM-12PM EST. In these interactive zoom sessions, participants will meet with scholars, explore curriculum-related pedagogy, and engage in small-group conversations with other teachers.

We invite you to join us in one of two ways:

  1. Join the live zoom sessions, for a total of 9 hours of study, or
  2. Join the live zoom sessions and engage in optional self-paced learning in Canvas, for a total of up to 15 hours of study

Upon completion, participants will receive Yale’s Fortunoff Video Archive Certificate of Participation for up to 15 hours of professional learning. They will be invited to teach with curricular materials from the institute during the 2022/23 school year and share their insights with us.

What you will gain:

  • Deepen your understanding of the comparative study of racial regimes
  • Practice effective ways of teaching with testimonies and other complex primary sources
  • Learn instructional strategies that help bring historical scholarship into the classroom
  • Become part of a growing community of teachers and scholars who work with the Fortunoff Video Archive's testimonies and exchange ideas, resources, and teaching strategies

The institute will feature live and recorded contributions from scholars and teachers, including:

Registration deadline: June 30, 2022. If you would like to join us, please register early– last year’s institute had a waiting list.
There is no cost for participating teachers.

The institute is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies.


For more more information, please contact Aya Marczyk at