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.
Educator and Family Activities
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Adbul recalls the beginning of violence against Rohingya in Rakhine.
A survivor of the South Sudan civil war describes her life working for a non-governmental organization before the outbreak of war, explains why she was fled to Uganda during the war, and describes life in a refugee camp.
Elise emphasizes the importance of writing about genocide based on her experience as a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.
Hansu recalls anti-Rohingya attitudes prior to the mass violence of 2017.
Jamela explains her multiple displacements and how events have impacted her and her family.
Judith recounts songs she learned while living in the ghetto during the Holocaust.
Nurusseher describes the journey to the refugee camp.
Shafike describes life in the refugee camp and the possibility of return to Myanmar.
Shirin describes challenges faced by her internally displaced family.
Wasy describes his family’s decision to flee Kurdistan in response to air attacks on his hometown.
Yehudah draws on reflections from his time in the concentration camps during the Holocaust.