New on BrainPOP

New Movie: Elie Wiesel

Posted by jglassman on

Last summer, Elie Wiesel’s grandchildren reached out to BrainPOP to ask for a movie about their grandfather. We were honored by the request, and a little bit daunted. Animation’s strength as a teaching tool lies in its ability to boil down complex subjects in a highly engaging way. But for delicate subjects, these qualities can feel reductive, and even exploitative. We are deeply grateful to Elisha Wiesel, Elie’s son, for guiding us through our script-writing and animation process, and helping us avoid these pitfalls.

Our new movie on Elie Wiesel recounts the dehumanizing impact of death camps like Auschwitz and Buchenwald, as well as the author’s struggles to come to grips with what he endured. Night, Wiesel’s memoir of his wartime experiences, provides few answers to an event as appalling as the Holocaust. But he did find meaning in his postwar life, by bearing witness. The author spent the rest of his life fighting genocide across the globe and giving voice to its innocent victims.

Unfortunately, social upheaval and senseless violence remain a consistent part of kids’ daily news feed. It is easy to see the victims as a faceless group, forgetting that these stories in the news represent the suffering of many individuals. Teaching a unit on Elie Wiesel provides students with a counterpoint to this tendency. Through the lens of one man’s personal history, we can better understand our moral obligations as individuals.

How might you integrate the life and literature of Elie Wiesel into your curriculum?  We’ve provided a few lesson plans, but would like to hear your thoughts and approaches. Please share your lesson ideas in the comments field below.