When you enter the death camp at Auschwitz-Bierkenau, one of the first things you notice is the sign across the entrance to the barracks area that reads: Arbeit Macht Frei (Work will make you free). It mocked the prisoners who entered this gate since most were destined to die from overwork, hunger, illness, or just because a Nazi doctor or military officer selected them for the gas chambers.
In Ms. Corkum’s classroom, Ms. Noemi Santana stands under a sign that reads: We work hard; we do hard work, as she shares with Class 802 her personal experiences as a pilgrim to the death camp at Auschwitz. I was teaching a unit on the Holocaust in my Social Studies class when I learned that Ms. Santana had visited the camp four times with the Zen Peacemakers who have been going there for the past 20 years as part of their mission to bring attention to places where there has been genocide. I was so happy that she accepted my invitation to speak to my Class 802 students.
Ms. Santana brought to life the words students had read in pages in her description and through the photos she displayed about her journey.
credit : Roberto Payano