Hatikvah: This is what victory looks like
This activity was designed to facilitate discussion on hope, even in the darkest times. It may seem strange to speak about victory in regard to the Holocaust but this is exactly the context that makes Jewish victory such a powerful example. What does victory look like to the Holocaust survivor? This is about being a survivor rather than a victim, about determining your own destiny, even when everything has been stolen from you.
This is an individual activity that can be done with any age group and any amount of participants.
Paper - optimal size would be 11x17, but anything works for this personal reflection activity.
Pencils for drawing your sketches.
For the completed artwork, you can use markers, crayons, pastels or paint, whatever you feel is fitting for your final memory piece.
Imagine a Jew, a survivor who has endured horrendous suffering and pain. You have lost almost all of your family and have nothing left of the life you once lived with such joy.
- The liberators have declared "victory" and announce that you are "free". What does that victory look like? Feel like?
Try to draw the victory as it was experienced by the survivors at liberation.
- "Freedom" meant something different to the Jews who had nothing, and nowhere to go after the liberation. Freedom meant release from slave labor, no more torture by the Nazi overlords, no more selections and living in the shadow of gas chambers.
Using words or art, try to depict "freedom" as Jews at that time might have felt it and add to your artwork.
- "Hope" during the Holocaust took the shape of small details: an extra piece of bread or potato, an extra minute of rest during work, finding a lost friend or family member after so many had been lost in the abyss. After liberation, hope took on new meaning - the hope of building a new life, of overcoming the pain and suffering, and of forever remembering the lessons and memories for the next generation to learn from.
Add your representation of the hope as you think it was felt by the survivors.
- For many, victory, freedom and hope meant finding their way to the Land of Israel, where they could finally live free as Jews in their own land. For some, it was hearing "Hatikvah" being sung in Bergen-Belsen, broadcast over the radio for all the world to hear.
How would you add the hope inspired by this song and the connection to Israel into your artwork?
We hope this activity serves as a meaningful way to explore the experience of Jews surviving survival by reflecting on both the challenges and the hope that burned within them having outlasted the Nazi reign of terror.