Stones from the River

by Ursula Hegi

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Topics for Further Study

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Investigate online the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum and read Elie Wiesel’s Night. Give a presentation to your class, showing pictures of the museum and describing what happened at Auschwitz and other concentration camps during World War II, relying on Wiesel’s eyewitness report in his book.

A few Burgdorf women help Renate Eberhardt pack for her arrest and anticipated deportation. Do some research on what Jews were allowed to take in their suitcases and what happened to their possessions. Then choose a small suitcase or backpack and put in it the valuables you would choose to take with you if you were being deported. Unpack the bag in front of your class, explaining your choices and telling about what happened to the things the Jews packed.

The medical term for Trudi Montag’s genetic condition is achondroplastic dwarfism. Write a paper in which you explain the symptoms of her condition and its effects on Trudi as shown in the novel.

Read Hegi’s collection of short stories, Floating in My Mother’s Palm, and write a paper on what you learn about Burgdorf and its residents that adds to your understanding of Stones from the River.

Do some library research on Nazi propaganda films, and then write a paper on the subject, using the description Hegi gives of a film Ingrid Baum and Trudi Montag see in Düsseldorf as a starting point. How does the film they see communicate beliefs and values that convey anti-Semitism and support Nazi treatment of Jews? You might like to include in your discussion a Hollywood film that also incorporates propagandistic messages and explain those messages, too.

Write a short story from the point of view of Eva Rosen Sturm, Renate Eberhardt, or Ilse Abramowitz, telling about the person’s arrest and what happened to her after she was removed from Burgdorf.

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