*************
NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT:
Michele Scherz, Ollendorff Center for Religious and Human Understanding,
212.229.2492, [email protected]

EDUCATORS INVITED TO TEACH TOLERANCE ON
HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY (APRIL 29, 2003)


Ollendorff Center For Religious and Human Understanding
Offers Free School Discussion Guide for New PBS Documentary

NEW YORK ­ This April 29, as millions of Americans mark Holocaust
Remembrance Day, educators are invited to teach lessons of tolerance,
courage and hope by sharing the story of a timeless letter written by a
loving mother just days before she died in a concentration camp.

On August 24, 1942, Valli Ollendorff wrote a farewell letter to her only
surviving son knowing that she would not escape her fate in the
Thereseinstadt camp. Lost for nearly 50 years, the letter mysteriously
arrived in 1985 when her son was 79 years old.

A new PBS documentary narrated by Martin Sheen and Liv Ullman, "Fate Did Not
Let Me Go" (Terra Entertainment) chronicles the true story of Valli¹s letter
and its long journey across continents and generations. More than a mother¹s
goodbye, the letter¹s message of hope and love transcends the tragedy of the
Holocaust and stands as a triumph of the human spirit in history¹s darkest
hour.

The Ollendorff Center for Religious and Human Understanding has created a
free school discussion guide with five classroom activities designed to
assist educators in sharing this extraordinary story with their students.
The documentary and its companion educator guide will help spark poignant
discussions about the personal impact of the Holocaust and inspire students
to promote tolerance in their lives.

"This story teaches us about the values of courage, hope, family and
strength in the face of hardship," said Stephen Ollendorff, Valli¹s grandson
and the President of the Ollendorff Center. "As we approach Holocaust
Remembrance Day, we are reminded of the importance of treating our fellow
human beings with dignity, respect and compassion."

"Valli¹s voice, like Anne Frank¹s voice, will be heard for generations,"
said Emmy Award® winner Martin Sheen, who narrates the 25-minute
documentary.

To view and download the free school guide, educators can visit
http://www.fatedidnotletmego.org/schoolguide or email
[email protected]

To order "Fate Did Not Let Me Go" on VHS or DVD at a special discounted

rate of $10.50 (30 percent off the retail price of $14.95), educators can visit
http://www.fatedidnotletmego.org or call toll free 1-800-723-9479. To
receive the special educator discount, please use the promotional code
"JT30FA" when ordering.

The non-profit Ollendorff Center for Religious and Human Understanding
promotes tolerance and understanding among people of all faiths. For more
information, visit www.fatedidnotletmego.org or email
[email protected]


Fate Did Not Let Me Go:
School Discussion Guide and Classroom Activities
FACT SHEET


The PBS documentary film Fate Did Not Let Me Go tells the extraordinary
story of a mother¹s farewell letter to her son written just days before she
died in the Thereseinstadt concentration camp. Lost for nearly 50 years, the
letter mysteriously arrived in 1985, when her son was 79 years old. More
than a mother¹s farewell, the letter¹s timeless message of hope, courage and
love stands as a triumph of the human spirit in history¹s darkest hour.

The Ollendorff Center for Religious and Human Understanding has created a
special school discussion guide with five classroom activities designed to
assist educators in sharing this extraordinary story with their students.
Teachers are encouraged to use the "Fate Did Not Let Me Go" documentary and
its companion educator guide to help spark poignant discussions about the
impact of the Holocaust and inspire their students to promote tolerance in
their lives.

Discussion Guide

 

The Fate discussion guide is a valuable teaching tool for subject areas such as social

studies, literature, world history and current events. Thought-provoking questions will

spur student discussion about history, family, communication and fate and add impact

and meaning to lessons on the Holocaust, World War II or for Holocaust Remembrance

Day (April 29, 2003).

Activity One - Your Own Letter of Hope

 

Valli Ollendorff¹s letter is a farewell letter to her son. It is full of love, hope,

dignity and wishes of success. In this activity, students are asked to write their

own Letter of Hope that highlights their own values, emotions and hopes for their lives
and their world.

Activity Two - A Modern Day Letter of Hope

 

Combining research and creative writing, students investigate modern day

situations where family members can be separated (war, immigration, illness or death)

and create a fictional Letter of Hope, capturing their subject¹s personal and political

situation.

Activity Three - Voices

Students use the context of the Fate Did Not Let Me
Go film to interview people who lived during the Holocaust (and/or their families)

to gain a deeper perspective as well as factual information about the time period

and events. Students are asked to take notes from their interviews and share these

stories in class, discussing how it impacted them and what they learned.

Activity Four - Time Capsule

 

Using the theme of elapsed time in Valli Ollendorff¹s story ‹ the time between when

the letter was sent and when it was delivered ‹ students are asked to think about what

messages and objects they would like to be remembered by and create a commemorative

time capsule representing their life, family, hopes and dreams.

Activity Five - Candles of Hope

 

This activity challenges students to display actions of honor, courage, and tolerance to

commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 29, 2003). Students discuss the

definitions of honor, courage, and tolerance and how the values relate to the Holocaust

and the documentary film. Students then identify examples of actions that promote these

values and receive candles of hope for each positive action they perform.



Order Information: To view and download the free school guide, educators are
encouraged to visit http://www.fatedidnotletmego.org/schoolguide or email
[email protected] To order "Fate Did Not Let Me Go" on VHS or DVD
at a special discounted rate of $10.50 (30 percent off the retail price of
$14.95), educators can visit http://www.fatedidnotletmego.org or call toll
free 1-800-723-9479. To receive the special educator discount, please use
the promotional code "JT30FA" when ordering.
 


About The Ollendorff Center: The non-profit Ollendorff Center for Religious
and Human Understanding promotes tolerance and understanding among people of
all faiths. For more information, visit http://www.fatedidnotletmego.org or
call (201) 894-0933.

 

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