Winter 2011: Of Note

Class watching grandfather on screens

Courtesy Laurabeth Goldsmith

Techno-History

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By Mary J. Loftus

Laurabeth Goldsmith 14C talks to her grandfather all the time, but not usually at Emory’s Center for Interactive Technologies (ECIT) using Skype, along with her entire freshman seminar class.

As part of the class Film and the Holocaust, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies Deborah Lipstadt showed students Deborah Oppenheimer’s 2000 documentary, Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport, about the rescue operation that ferried children from Germany to England to escape the Nazis before World War II.

When Goldsmith mentioned that her grandfather had been one of the approximately ten thousand Jewish children saved by Kindertransport, Lipstadt arranged for the class to talk with Henry Goldsmith, who escaped along with his brother and now lives in Florida. “The German storm troopers knocked on the door where we lived and they demanded entrance,” he told students during the call. “It was a scary night and after that night my parents decided we had to get out of Germany.”

“It was incredible to be able to connect the concepts and emotions in the film to a specific person, my grandpa, and it was great that the whole class was able to ask specific questions,” said Goldsmith, a double major in religion and international studies. “This was the first time that I have had Skype used in a classroom, and it really added to our discussion.”

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