Texas Liberator Project
"US Soldiers Viewing Bodies of Victims in a Hut"
Photo courtesy of Sgt. Arthur Goldstein
To access the NEW project app and website, click here.
Please visit the Texas Tech University Press website for the opportunity to purchase a copy of The Texas Liberators: Veteran Narratives from World War II.
Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission: Educational Materials for Teaching European Liberation Period of WWII
In 2014 THGC attended a US Holocaust Museum discussion where we inquired why advance placement (AP) students did not study the Holocaust in their US History, European History and World History curriculums. The response was that the USHMM was unable to have the AP curriculums changed by the College Boards for all US, Canada and worldwide schools using the AP programs. USHMM encouraged THGC to begin discussions with the College Boards in New York and ask that the Holocaust and genocide be included in their History curriculums. In 2015 the College Boards agreed to include the Holocaust and Genocide in their European and World History curriculums. Continued work with the College Boards resulted in the Liberation Period of WWII being included in their US History curriculum for 2016.
USHMM developed Holocaust material for AP World and European History. THGC took the responsibility to develop the AP US History Holocaust information as it related to the European Liberation Period of WWII. Before the end of WWII, the European liberation operations of April and May 1945 exposed the horrors committed by Nazi Germany: its deliberate dehumanization and destruction of entire populations--mostly Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and others whose lives were deemed worthless. The testimonies of the survivors and the gut-wrenching depictions by US Army liberators revealed unimaginable acts of previously concealed Nazi savagery. The liberation ended the sadistic treatment, including physical and psychological torture, of the prisoners.
Texas Tech University was contracted to prepare the classroom material, develop an interactive app, and write a book to honor Texas Veteran Liberators. The AP Core Educational goals were developed for use in all states using AP US History curriculums:
Learning Outcomes (in line with TEKS and AP exam):
--- Students will understand the context of the Second World War and be able to place the Holocaust within that historical framework.
--- Students will travel through Dachau concentration camp to grasp the significance of
- the profundity of calculated, systematic genocide during the WWII
- the role of the death camps and concentration camps in the Final Solution
- the significance of American soldiers’ experiences as they came upon sub camps and concentration camps in Europe
- the role of the American military in the final stages of WWII
- the role of the American military in the liberation of the camps
- the psychological and emotional effects of witnessing these atrocities on U.S. soldiers
- the importance of remembering the Holocaust, survivors and victims, and of honoring the U.S. Liberators
--- Students will be exposed to historical work, the use of primary documents, texts, oral interviews, videos, artifacts, etc., and the ways in which they tell a narrative about the human past and condition.
--- Students will be able to think critically, to analyze evidence, and to communicate the historical narrative of the Liberation, the Holocaust, its context, and its legacy.
--- Students will be able to evaluate the different “texts” of the digital book/app – testimonial, letters, objects, artwork, and literature.
--- Students will be able to explain the complexities of war, the duties and responsibilities of soldiers, and the consequences of war on all populations.
Texas WWII Veteran Liberators Honor Roll and Book:
THGC is collecting the names of Texas Veteran Liberators that constitute a Texas Veteran Liberator Honor Roll. To date we have gathered 93 veteran testimonies from Texas Holocaust museums, THGC veteran interviews plus veteran testimonies obtained from veterans, the Shoah Foundation, World War II Memorial Museum and Texas University Voices project. These names along with expected additional veterans will be cataloged into a Texas Veteran’s Honor Roll database. The Honor Roll information will include; their branch of service, years of service, home town or place of residence, camp(s) liberated and date(s) of liberation as a part of the ’The Texas Liberators: Veteran Narratives from WWII’ published in a book to be distributed to all and private and public high schools in Texas (3,709). THGC has acquired the names of 333 Texas Veteran Liberators who participated in 43 different camp liberations. In particular the following Texas units are cited as official liberators of different camps and sub camps:
- 36th Infantry Division
- 42nd Infantry Division (Oklahoma & Texas)
- 45th Infantry Division
- 103rd Infantry Division
- 12th Armored Division
- (152nd Armored Signal Company & 134th Harvester Battalion)
Since every high school will have access to the lesson plans, via the THGC’s and Texas Tech University websites, up to 700,000 Texas students and more than 515,000 AP students, nationwide, are expected to be exposed to this material during the next biennium.
The emphasis of this effort is on acknowledging the horrors suffered by the survivors and honoring those veterans who witnessed the aftermath of their traumatic experience. We educate about the past with hope that future generations will not repeat the human failures that occurred in WWII.