Local teacher brings the movie, its producers and maybe the actual typist to Little Falls
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Brian Hurd, a history and social studies teacher at Mary of Lourdes Middle School (MOLMS), is bringing “The Typist” to Little Falls. The video will be shown Thursday at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public at no charge.
Hurd is showing “The Typist” in conjunction with the Jewish Day of Remembrance, Monday, a special day to remember the victims of the Holocaust. The Days of Remembrance, Holocaust Remembrance Week, established by the U.S. Congress, will be observed Sunday, April 27 – Sunday, May 4.
MOLMS seventh and eighth grade students are taught about the Holocaust by Hurd every other year. The subject is so much a passion of his, he was one of 20 others in the world who were offered a fellowship with the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
In July 2013, Hurd spent five days in workshops at the Holocaust Museum, learning best teaching practices on the subject.
“I learned how to teach, what guidelines were stressed by the museum and about different areas to touch on such as the concentration camps, the Hitler Youth program and more,” said Hurd. “The purpose of the workshops was to help with my teaching of the subject.”
Hurd said he was chosen from about 1,000 applicants for several reasons, mostly because of his e-book on the Holocaust, “The Shoah: 101 Keys to Understanding the Holocaust.”
“I needed to demonstrate my knowledge of the Holocaust, show how I have taught the subject and what I have done to learn more,” said Hurd. “I also took the “Vladka Meed,” trip to Europe with Holocaust survivors and toured the sites of the tragedy. It’s a prestigious event named after the woman who started the tours, and I think that trip also helped me be chosen as a fellow.”
Hurd’s fellowship also required he do an outreach project. He proposed teaming with the language arts department at MOLMS. They would teach the novel “Freidrich” by Hans Peter Richter, a story about a young German Jewish boy during the war, and Hurd would teach his academic e-book, “The Shoah.”
“This reinforces both curricular disciplines and we would be teaching across subject areas,” said Hurd.
This innovative idea of teaching has been presented by Hurd and others at different national teaching conventions across the country. It is also something he and MOLMS have been doing for several years. This year students are reading a novel about the Civil War while Hurd teaches the same subject in his social studies class.
“It is a powerful way to teach,” he said. “Students will become better learners and readers.”
Hurd will make a return trip to the Holocaust Museum Wednesday – Friday, July 23 – 25, where he will present to the newest fellows on the curriculum he set up for his students.
Hurd has published six books. They include “Over There: 101 Keys to Understanding the First World War,” “Axis and Allies: 101 Keys to Understanding the Second World War,” “The Shoah,” “Mutually Assured Destruction: 101 Keys to Understanding the Cold War,” “The Way West: 101 Keys to Understanding the Oregon Trail” and “The Last Full Measure: 101 Keys to Understanding the American Civil War.”
There are several others waiting to be published.
Hurd is passionate about the Holocaust and teaches it even though he is not required to do so.
“I think it’s important to teach what happened,” he said. “It’s important to learn what happens when intolerance and prejudice exist and nobody does anything about it. I want to give my students a moral compass, teach them what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Another of the fellowship’s requirements was to do a project for the “Days of Remembrance.” Hurd chose to show the movie, “The Typist,” a story about Larry Tillemans, a St. Joseph native who was the typist during the Nuremberg Trials. Those trials, held after World War II, prosecuted prominent members of the Nazi regime.
The producers of the movie, Chuck Czech and David Klassen, will be present during the showing of the video at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site. And, even though he is in his 80s, Tillemans is expected to attend.
For more information about the showing, contact the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site at (320) 616-5421.