Students Examine Current Issues to Understand the Holocaust

As part of our Teacher Appreciation Week series, Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Terry Kuhnreich, Vineland School Educator, to talk about the impact her "Search for Conscience" Holocaust-based class has on students and how they connect with these issues on such personal levels.

5/8/18 #2140






"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. This is One on One. It is my honor and pleasure to introduce one of the great educators in the state and the nation, she is Terry Kuhnreich, and she's at Vineland High School, she teaches an elective course called search for conscience, which is? Which is an incredible course. It's a history elective. We're controversial, we're edgy, we're off the... off the grid in terms of what... how I... how I teach, how the kids respond, how we work together. You created it? No actually, I wish I had created it, it was a survivor's son, and an assistant superintendent, and a fellow teacher who created the course. It's Holocaust based. Holocaust based? Yes, Holocaust and genocide, and it was established in 1976. I was still a student there, and there was nothing for Holocaust education at the time. We were one of the early... Groundbreaking? Exactly, pioneers. And you know, the way we found out about you was with our... through our colleagues at the New Jersey Education Association. Yes. They're great to work with. And you were a part of Classroom Close-up? So let's... Yes. ...take a look at a clip from a Classroom Close-up special about this initiative, and we'll talk after this. Absolutely. Being a man of vast experience, I've never been in a courtroom before. I never even tried a case before, I said, "of course" and so it came about historically that one little 27 year old guy with no experience whatsoever became the Chief Prosecutor in what was certainly the biggest murder trial in open history. Meet Benjamin Ferencz, Harvard Law School graduate, World War II veteran, and Chief Prosecutor for the United States in the Einsatzgruppen case just after the end of the war, when 22 senior leaders of the paramilitary Nazi death squads were charged with murdering over a million people. All of the defendants were convicted. It was Ben's first case. The lesson of the story - be bold, and if you know you're right, do it, even if it's never been done before. And that has always been my attitude, and that's why I'm still working at it at the age of 98. That's right, 70 years after his first trial, Ben continues to work tirelessly toward a more humane and secure world. Today he's a guest in Terry Kuhnreich's search for conscience class here at Vineland high school. We cover a wide variety of topics, but everything, all roads lead back to the Holocaust, we discuss diversity and racism and prejudice and hatred, we connect it to what's going on today. It's one of the most popular electives at the high school..."