Our project

Theme of our project:
The history of the Jewish families and their homes in Gunzenhausen in the 20th Century.

Goal of our project:
Researching the history of the houses and businesses, and the fates of their Jewish owners/inhabitants, who had to surrender them in the Third Reich.
Contacting the descendants all over the world. Setting up a collection of materials for the local history curriculum.

Project Leader:
Emmi Hetzner, teacher

Project Plan and Contents:
Start: May 2000
Participating Students: Annual about 20 students of grades 8 to 10 (middle school)

Didactic and Method:
Concept and Description of the Project:

  • Gathering of materials.
  • Interviews with surviving eye witnesses for possible additional materials and information, and addresses of other living witnesses of that historic period.
  • Internet contact with former Jewish residents and/or their descendants.
  • Creating a chronology.
  • Finding original/historic photos of the houses.
  • Creating current photos of the houses for comparison.
  • Publishing the histories of the houses and their owners/inhabitants.
  • Publishing a call to Jews all over the world with a request to send anything that would supplement the information already on file.

Contents of Project:

Proposed Subject Matter:

  • Religious wars.
  • Wars for business/economic reasons.
  • Prejudices toward people of other religions or races.
  • Inhumane actions/behavior.
  • Humaneness/ Humanity.
  • Civilian courage.
  • Tolerance.
  • Love of humanity.
  • International communication and understanding.

Project Development and Planning:

  • Gathering information.
  • Viewing and Sorting the information.
  • Setting timeframes for specific searches for house/property addresses and names by way of the city's registers.
  • Clarification of legal standing of properties.
  • Find contact persons and arrange for interviews.
  • Establish a chronological order.
  • Find and take photos to publish on our web-site.

The Rolls of the Teachers and Students:

Create an awareness of problems and motivate students to get interested and involved in local history.


  • Research, inform themselves, recognize and judge appropriate materials, and be aware of the consequences of one's behavior.
  • Use classic and modern methods to search for, find, and pass on information.

Description of a Typical lesson:

  • Name possible ways to research information.
  • Students set up teams of archivists, interviewers, internet surfers, photographers etc.
  • Practice techniques for the various assignments.

Source Materials:

  • Name lists of all Jewish citizens in Gunzenhausen, made available by the city's archivist Mr. Werner Muehlhaeusser.
  • City's register of houses and properties.
  • Photographs.
  • Internet addresses.
  • Local documents.
  • Research Methods:
  • Surfing the internet.
  • Using search engines.
  • Study source materials.
  • View and sort materials.
  • Conduct interviews.
  • Teamwork.

Experiences with New Media:

  • Project Group:
    Word processing:Microsoft Word. In 7   grade all students are required to learn computer basics and Microsoft Word. In grades 8-10 half the students will elect to study office and business subjects and become proficient in word processing. They will not need to study these subjects anywhere else.
    Presentation: Microsoft PowerPoint
    Two hours a week are set aside for the Project group in which they are introduced to, among other things, the use of Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • Informatic Groups:
    Informatic is taught two hours a week in grades 8 - 10 as an elective. 20 % of our students take part. They learn to master browsing the internet with Microsoft internet explorer. Then they apply their new knowledge to investigate and verify information they have gathered on the internet.
  • Internet Connection:
    • All computers are set up in two Informatic rooms.
    • DFU- network access:
    • T-online (no cost access for schools)
    • Internet browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • HTML-Editor: Microsoft Front Page
    To teach HTML, a two hour study group was established. As long as we have only a single license to operate Microsoft Frontpage, and students cannot Work with it by themselves, teachers will enter the pages.
  • Photo Group:
    Twelve students are involved with the photography study group. They now also learn to use digital photographic equipment and create the Photos needed for the project digitally.
  • Equipment:
    • Digital still cameras.
    • Digital video cameras.
    • Analog still- and video cameras.
  • Digital Photo Processing:
    • Ulead PhotoImpact.
    • Black & white photo lab.

Other Usage of the Documentation:

  • Educational materials for local history curriculum.
  • Internet pages/website.

Overview and Conclusion:
Results we expect:

  • A refence book
  • Contact via the internet or personal contact with former Jewish citizens of Gunzenhausen.

The Project as an Example for Similar Projects in the Future.

  • A model for a collection of assorted consequences of the last war in Germany (WW II). For example destroyed monuments and art works, and former KZ (concentration camp) inmates and their histories, for art- and history education.
  • The history of, and the technical changes in large local manufacturing companies and how they effect the apprenticeships programs.

Links to school projects with similar objective

  • Maria-Theresia-Gymnasium, Augsburg: "Looking for clues –  Female Jewish students at the Maria-Theresia-Gymnasium during the Third Reich” www.spurensuche.hdbg.de