There’s No Life in a Cemetery
Students will hear the story of one survivor, Raye David, and discuss topics surrounding the concept of home, how survivors rebuilt their lives after the war, the kinds of things that they deemed most important in rebuilding their lives, and why they chose not to return to the countries where they were born.
Often, Jewish survivors made the decision to settle in countries besides their native ones after the war because their families, communities, and lives back home had been destroyed and they faced continued violence and antisemitism there.
- 1Is "home" something that we build ourselves, or something we are born with? Is it a combination of both, or neither of these?
Explain to the students that after WWII ended and liberation from the camps a very difficult period of recovery began for around 6 million refugees and displaced persons. Jewish refugees in particular faced much discrimination from authorities, and had a difficult time re-building their lives. Discuss how complex the process was for emigrating, but even though it took years, many Jewish survivors were determined to do it.
Watch the source video with the class (suggested start time at 23:30). Tell students that the woman is named Raye David, a Holocaust survivor that ended up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after the war.
As a class, lead a discussion based around the following questions:
- Why did Mrs David insist that they could not return to Vilnius?
- Why do you think Mrs David’s family thought getting married and starting a family was one of the most important things that she should do once they arrived in their new home in America?
- Besides starting a family, what were some other important things that she focused on as she settled into her new life, such as the education of her husband David?
- What is the reason that Mrs David says she does not hate the Germans/Nazis, and what does she say about the difference between forgiveness and hatred?
- How did Mrs David cope with her experiences, and how has it shaped her outlook on how she wants to/has lived her life?
Wisconsin Academic Standards
This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.