Current Amherst Media Building. Photo: Art Keene

Source: Amherst Media

Mass Humanities, the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities,  announced recently that they have funded  a project proposed by Amherst Media, centered on the 2019 documentary,  A House Built by Hope: A Story of Compassion, Resilience and Religious Freedom, with a grant for $11,250.

The proposal was spearheaded by Amherst resident Dr. Elsie Fetterman, who will serve as Program Director.  The project proposes to develop a teacher’s guide for middle and high schools to accompany Amherst Media’s finalized thirty-five minute video documentary, previously funded by the Daughter’s of the American Revolution (DAR).  

Simon Leutz, Social Studies Head at the Amherst Pelham Regional High School, has agreed to develop the curriculum. Leutz brings his extensive teaching experience on the issues of the Holocaust as well as on International Relations and Global Issues.  He is recognized for his ability in developing high quality inquiry-based Social Studies courses and curriculum. 

The 2019 documentary recorded through the stories from children of Holocaust survivors, tells how their immigrant parents relocated to Danielson, CT., many aided by The Jewish Agriculture Society, and started farming the land.  Dr. Fetterman’s family was the only Jewish family in the area at that time.

These 80 families were welcomed by the Christian residents who aided in their integration into the wider society.  The documentary shares individual family stories on how the survivors regained their humanity and strove to give back to their new community.  

The grant also includes funding for a 15 minute video documentary that further develops the stories of the Danielson Holocaust survivors who fought as partisans during World War II.  

Local Humanities scholars participating in advising on the curriculum guide and participating in four scholar-led discussions following the documentary’s community showing include, Dr. James Wald, Associate Professor of History at Hampshire College, and Dr. Jonathan Skolnik, Associate Professor of German at UMass, Amherst. 
Upon completion of the teacher’s curriculum guide and 15 minute video, all material will be made available to schools state-wide free of charge.

Area schools already agreeing to use the teacher’s guide and videos upon completion include, Amherst Regional Public Schools, Holyoke High School, Frontier Regional High School and Attelboro High School.

Mass Humanities, receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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