"How will that be when we take our 135 9th-grade Augsburg pupils to the cinema on a "culture day", obligatory for Bavarian gymnasiums, so that they can improve their knowledge of the time of National Socialism? This is a fearful question that teachers ask themselves when they get involved in this project.
The answer: It becomes calm and concentrated, intense in the follow-up discussion and moving in the lesson's evaluation when you lead them to the film "Die Stille schreit" by director Josef Pröll. The documentary film shows how the Jewish members of the Augsburg entrepreneur families Friedmann and Oberdorfer were gradually materially expropriated by the tyranny of the National Socialists and then driven into exile, if not suicide. The locations of the events are well known to all. They are visited daily. The presence of Miriam Friedmann, the granddaughter of the former entrepreneurial family in Maximilianstrasse, further intensifies the concentrated atmosphere. History becomes concrete and tangible.
It is best for the pupils to express for themselves what they experienced in the cinema this morning.
For example, a 15-year-old writes: "Books never really tell us that everyone had a life with friends, family and feelings during the National Socialist era. Books only talk about numbers. Unexpectedly, a lot of bad things happened in Augsburg, also."
And another: "In historylesson you always think that was a long time ago, I have nothing to do with that. But in the film you saw that all that wasn't so long ago and that it happened here in places where you walk past every day."
And a third pupil finally concluded for himself: "I take away from the film how terrible it was for the Jews during the National Socialist era and that one should fight against the discrimination of different groups".
More can truly not be achieved on a "Culture Day" at the Bavarian Gymnasium.
So we can only encourage and recommend that other schools also visit this film. After its performance Miriam Friedmann and Josef Pröll respectively invite the pupils to a discussion, both of whom
formulate their intentions with the film as follows:
"The documentary warns for constant vigilance of the conscience and self-responsible questioning of always abuse-prone governmental rules and their implementation on compatibility with human dignity, freedom and equality."
Nothing can be added to this.
Peter Biet, teacher for Protestant religious teaching at the Holbein-Gymnasium Augsburg