Lego and Monopoly: What's history got to do with it?

A few links that have been hanging around in my bookmarks and Twitter feed… a lot of video, a little bit of Lego, a little bit of Monopoly…

History via Lego

Up above, we have the complete history of Soviet-Russia for children, told through Lego. Need I say more? (If you liked that, you should also check out this video of Soviet history set to the music of Tetris: “Soviet! History! Music! Video! Tetris!“)

History via Monopoly

A Monopoly game created for children in the Ghetto, as a means of both distracting them and engaging with the reality of their lives: Monopoly in the Ghetto. The CNN video explains the game a little better than the article. The writer seems to think this type of “novelistic details” are what will keep the memory of the Holocaust alive in the future.

But after all the survivors are gone, I am betting that it is going to be things like a Theresienstadt-specific Monopoly board—little, almost novelistic details that are so idiosyncratic and unlikely they simply could not have been imagined—that we are going to turn to teach unsuspecting younger generations abut what really did happen to the Jews of Europe.” Is this really what we want for the future?

I’m not convinced—obviously, teaching history always relies on a creative bag of tricks to bolster more traditional methods like, oh, reading a book, but reducing the Holocaust, or any other period of history, to a board game, or assuming that children in the future will only respond to such things, is short-sighted. (On a somewhat related note, Holocaust meets social media)

Just plain old history

From the Jewish Daily Forward, of a photographer and filmmaker who both left Czechoslovakia in 1968 as Soviet tanks rolled in: What Remains. They’ve recently returned to seek out what remains of Jewish life there. Lovely and moving, with an unexpected discovery at the end involving an abandoned stash of Jewish books and a family connection.

Another one from the Forward, a Jewish cemetery is rescued in Belarus: With Student Help, Belarus Rescues Its Shtetl Graves.

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