The Willesden Project

The Willesden Project

With extraordinary support from the Koret Foundation, USC Shoah Foundation has partnered with the Hold On to Your Music Foundation to launch The Willesden Project.

This global initiative expands the reach of Lisa Jura’s story of survival, resilience, and triumph as she struggles to come of age separated from her family during World War II, as originally shared by her daughter, author and concert pianist Mona Golabek, in The Children of Willesden Lane books and musical performances.

Newly developed and innovative assets scale and extend the impact of a powerful narrative and captivate and engage audiences with the message that we hold within ourselves the power to overcome hatred.

Explore family and classroom activities below.

Learn more at The Willesden Project.

Educator and Family Activities

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Testimony and Artistic Expression

In this lesson, students will develop a greater understanding of the link between testimony and artistic expression. By analyzing excerpts from The Children of Willesden Lane and pieces of artistic expression from genocide survivors, students will build upon their sense of empathy, historical understanding, and discipline-specific literacies. Throughout the lesson, students will analyze clips of testimony and different forms of artistic expression through the lens of perseverance and resilience.

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The Jewish Refugee Crisis of the 1930s

Through this activity students will analyze accounts of Jewish refugees who attempted to flee Nazi territories between 1933 and the beginning of World War II. Students engage in discussion to understand challenges that may have been presented to refugees. After brainstorming policies and programs that could have minimized these challenges, students will analyze international agreements written after World War II to protect refugees and how these efforts affected their lives.

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Confronting Refugee Challenges

Designed for middle and high school students, this classroom activity guides students through why some people are forced to flee from their homes to seek safety from persecution and genocide. They will analyze a variety of sources to document challenges confronted by refugees and dive deeper into what assistance and support was made available to refugees.

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The Sound of Willesden Lane

In this activity, families will explore the story of Lisa Jura, a talented young musician who dreams of becoming a concert pianist. Through her story, families will build on their understanding of the Kindertransport and work with their students to dive into the concepts of perseverance and resilience. Together families will deepen the connection between music and testimony.

Listen to Mona play the piano

Related Topic Activities

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Conflict and Refugees

What does it mean to be a refugee – and what challenges do refugees, displaced persons, and asylum seekers face? Explore topics related to human rights with activities that open up the lines of communication and empower students to take action.

Supporting Testimony Clips

About The Partners

USC Shoah Foundation

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USC Shoah Foundation - The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute's current collection of 55,000 eyewitness testimonies contained within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes. 

Discovery Education

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Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Through its award-winning multimedia content, instructional supports, and innovative classroom tools, Discovery Education helps educators deliver equitable learning experiences engaging all students and supporting higher academic achievement on a global scale. Discovery Education serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and trusted organizations to empower teachers with leading edtech solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at www.DiscoveryEducation.com.