CCHS French students visit the International WWII Museum
submitted by Caitlin Smith and Katie Rye
CCHS French teachers
|At the International WWII Museum (left to right) Naima Joachim, chaperone Mrs. Svrcek, Maggie Besthoff, Lisle Allen and Sydney Brown take notes on personal stories from the French Resistance. (Courtesy photo)|
Thirty French 4 Honors students spent three hours poring over personal artifacts and stories during their recent field trip to the International World War II Museum in Natick. Focusing primarily on the Munich agreement, the French Resistance movement and the D-Day invasions in Normandy, students studied political propaganda, spy tactics and anti-Semitism throughout Europe as well as testimonials of individuals whose llives were transformed by the war. According to CCHS junior Lucas Wilbur, “The trip made World War II feel far more real to me by connecting me to the stories of actual individuals who lived (and died) for countries across the world, including French resistance members.”
The museum, which is little known but packed with a remarkable collection of memorabilia, offers an up-close experience of what it was like to live through the conflict in Europe. As junior Elise Dohoney put it, “I really enjoyed how personal the items in the museum were. There were heartfelt love letters, family photographs, wedding dresses made out of parachutes, and jewelry. We learn a lot about the important historical events in the war at school so it was really interesting to instead focus in on the people who lived out the war.” Students will apply what they learned as they read the WWII novel The Silence of the Sea, while creating presentations based on artifacts from the museum and recitations of French speeches from the period.
The International World War II museum is open to visitors by appointment and will relocate to Washington D.C. in five years. CC junior Ella White said, “I found it interesting looking at the different artifacts. There was an impressive variety. I often found myself wondering how on earth the collector had found such items! A mustache trainer, Hitler’s toothbrush, water desalination kits, etc. I especially enjoyed looking at the different posters and clothing at the time.” ∆
(Carlisle students in bold.)