When the students visit the Museum of Tolerance, which focuses on the historical consequences of intolerance and prejudice, each student receives a child’s passport and can discover, throughout the museum, what happened to that child over the course of World War II. The visit is emotional for the class, leaving many in tears.
The museum uses a teaching technique similar to Ms. Gruwell’s methods, as each student is encouraged to see history through other individuals’ real lives, not as a series of abstract facts, events, and places.
After the museum, they went to a fancy restaurant, where the upscale decorations and food leave a deep impression on the student. After this, they go see Schindler’s List, a movie that makes the various books they have read about the Holocaust come to life. It made the student’s friend have a flashback of his own experience of seeing one of his friends die, leading them to conclude that such violence also happens in real life. Finally, the students had dinner at the Marriott Hotel, where they met Holocaust survivors who shared their stories with them. The student feels a renewed responsibility to honor and learn from these people’s experiences.
This entire day is aimed at relating events that happened in the past with the students’ real lives, leading them to develop feelings of compassion, anger, and grief toward people who lived at a different time than them. In this way, they are able to adopt important issues, such as the need to fight against injustice and violence, as their own. It also allows them to realize that they are not alone in their difficult experiences, for many people have lived through painful times before them.