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Story of a Shoe

In History, Year 9C students have just finished their studies on the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. They are now beginning their studies on what is perhaps the most significant and important History topic taught in Key Stage 3, the Holocaust.

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This module is about understanding human behaviour, not merely historical facts. Looking at the why, at what caused the greatest crime in human history. Empathising with people’s positions and not judging or condemning one’s actions. Interpreting what made different groups of people behave the way they did. These skills and emotional understanding could not be more important in our current global political climate.

The photos you can see are from our first lesson on the topic, the story of a shoe. We are learning about the past from everyday items. It is the story of one child’s shoe, an anonymous Eastern European Jewish victim of the Holocaust. We trace the history and tale of this shoe, and interpret what we can learn from everyday objects. From this story as it unfolds, students are introduced to the Holocaust and some of the historical context. They are asked questions such as: ‘How can one shoe represent the story of seven million victims?’ From this, students will start to investigate the horrors and impact of the Holocaust before they study the topic in greater depth.