Victory in Europe Day – Wednesday 8th May

Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) commemorates Tuesday, 8 May 1945, the date when the Allies of World War II formally accepted the Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. (The formal surrender of the German forces occupying the Channel Islands did not occur until the following day, 9 May 1945). It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.

Many schools choose to commemorate the day through assemblies or by undertaking research in class. We hope this blog will support you to explore how people reacted at the end of the war in Europe and how the British celebrated on the Home Front with your pupils.

To introduce the day perhaps you could use the BBC Sound Effects resource. You could explore which sounds your pupils recognise from the “mystery sounds” you play. There are many sounds to pick from including: Doodle Bugs, gunfire, air raids and tanks.

Then to explore and learn more about WWII, the Widgit resource has WWII ‘Books’ and ‘Activities’. The titles in the books include: World War 2, The Blitz, War in the East, Life at Home and Life for Children. These short books contain simple sentences and pictures, with each covering a separate topic. Each book is available at 5 different levels and has relevant vocabulary cards at the back and has an activity pack (with six activities – matching activity, missing vowel, quiz, sentence matching, spelling and wordsearch) to download also. 

Busy Things has a ‘World War 2 warfare’ resource which explores the question, “What was it like for soldiers to fight in the war?” In addition, you could use the new Comic Strip resource in BusyThings with your pupils. They could storyboard the announcement that the war was over, the way people celebrated VE Day or even the causes of WWII by choosing from the preprepared templates for comic strips. The example was completed in BusyThings in English>composition>storytelling and poetry.

Should you want to explore the work of women as code breakers during WWII then our resource ‘Women in Computing’ aims to recognise and promote the achievements of women in British computing within the social context of the time. The pupils can learn about the important role they played in the eventual victory of WWII.

To explore the Holocaust and Nazi era in greater depth, you could use the Documenting the Holocaust resource. LGfL has been given unique access to the Wiener Library’s collection (a world leading and extensive archive on the Holocaust and Nazi era). This powerful resource is aimed at Key Stages 2-5 PSHE, Citizenship, History and R.E.

The M Room resource from LGfL gives exclusive access to secret World War II listening sites where the British Secret Service bugged high-ranking German Military prisoners. The resource features an interview with one of the original secret listeners and extensive primary-source material from the Ministry of Defence, relatives of those involved, and The National Archives.

Further resources not hosted on LGfL which are free to access can be found below: 

The War and Peace Shed from the Literacy Shed, has a range of short films that could be used when looking at the theme of World War II (including ‘German in the Woods’, ‘The Piano’ and ‘Beyond the Lines’.)

Visit the Imperial War Museum site for “What you need to know about VE Day” and the “10-photos of VE Day Celebrations”.

In addition, you could play Winston Churchill’s announcement below:

We hope this blog proves useful, should you be exploring VE Day with your pupils. If you complete any of the activities why not share what you did on our Twitter or Facebook accounts?

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) (27th January) is a national commemoration day in UK dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in The Holocaust under Nazi Persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration camp in 1945

It is as important in 2018 as in any year to remember the events of the Holocaust on the International Memorial Day, and there are a number of quality LGfL resources available for use in assemblies, Citizenship, Art and History lessons for teachers at Primary and Secondary level.

Each year, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust chooses a different theme to enable audiences on Holocaust Memorial Day to learn something new about the past. This year’s theme is ‘The Power of Words’ Words can make a difference – both for good and evil.

Spoken and written words from individuals, corporations, community organisations or the state, can have a huge impact, whether good or bad. This theme explores how language has been used in the past, and how it is used in the present day. HMD activities can focus on the impact that words had in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, through propaganda used to incite, through slogans written in resistance, and through memoirs written to record and respond to what was going on.

HMD offers an Activity Pack for activity organisers to help facilitate activities. It contains a set of posters, an example of our free handout materials, a sample About HMD booklet, information for educators, a set of stickers, a metal HMD badge, guidance for putting on your activity, as well as a guide to the theme for HMD 2018: The power of words.

Scope of the theme:

  • The power of words, written during the Holocaust and during the subsequent genocides, by perpetrators, by people who wanted to criticise perpetrator regimes, or stand up against them or by people who wrote to survive, or to record their experiences for the future
  • Words written as a response to the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and the subsequent genocides
  • Words today
  • How we respond to words
  • The power of definitions
  • Free speech and censorship

 

LGfL offers a range of resources that can support your HMD activities and all have been carefully created with experts to ensure accuracy, appropriateness and sensitivity towards teaching about the Holocaust:

Documenting the Holocaust: A unique resource which gives access to carefully curated artefacts from the the Wiener Library, one of the world’s most extensive archives. The collection of over one million items includes press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony. The videos within the resource offers unique stimulus to be used as valuable as starters, plenaries and main lesson stimuli and support discussion in and out of lesson time.

The Holocaust Explained: Produced originally in partnership with the London Jewish Cultural Centre, but now managed by the Wiener Library, this website features a large range of media resources, historical documents and graphical representations of a wide-range of aspects of the Holocaust; the site has over 500 webpages, 1000 media assets, a glossary of 720 terms and 11 oral testimonies.

Holocaust Education though the Ben Uri Art Collection: A resource designed to support GCSE History and Art and Design research into Holocaust art, the resources help to ‘deconstruct’ art works from the Ben Uri Gallery and the London Jewish Cultural Centre. The expert teacher support is some of the finest available from LGfL.

The M Room: The M Room resource gives unique access to secret World War II listening sites where the British Secret Service bugged high-ranking German Military prisoners to secure key intelligence to help win the war. The resources feature an in interview with one of the original secret listeners and extensive primary-source material form the Ministry of Defence, relatives of those involved, and the National Archives.

The Cold War: The resources span borders, ideologies and even realities; interviewing spies, journalists and dissidents; visiting prisons, concentration camps, and museums; filming underground, above ground and from air; and uncovering documents, images and secrets never before revealed. Although the resource focuses on post second world war tensions between the Superpowers, there are sections that link to the topic and influence of the Holocaust on subsequent post war events.

There are also many other resources that the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust produces that may assist in your planning – They have materials for educators, with resources and an activity planning section

Also Michael Rosen has recorded a series of powerful poems about the experiences of his family in the Holocaust which you can use to inspire your students.

As Teachers, it is vital that we continue to pay our respect to the victims of the Holocaust by continuing to sensitively pass on the memories of the past and we at LGfL hope that our resources will support you with this important endeavour.