Critical Thinking/Discussion Questions - Erika Sigel

1. Please watch the historical film clip embedded below and read the description of the film:

After viewing, discuss the following:

A. Erika lives in Czechoslovakia when the Nazis annex her country into the Third Reich. Czechoslovakia is an independent nation. Why does the international community allow Hitler to first take the Sudetenland (the part of Czechoslovakia that bordered Germany), and eventually the rest of the country?

B. What was Hitler’s rationale for taking the Sudetenland?

2. Erika describes a “good” life in Czechoslovakia before the annexation of her country by Hitler. Brainstorm a list of words you associate with “typical” or “normal” life.

Please watch the historical video clips below depicting prewar Jewish life in Czechoslovakia:

After watching the clips and hearing Erika’s description of her life before the war at the start of her testimony, which clip seems most like Erika’s life? Using Erika’s testimony and both clips, what can you conclude about prewar Jewish life in Czechoslovakia? Are there aspects of everyday life depicted in the clips to which you relate?

3. Hitler is able to take all of Czechoslovakia without firing a shot, and with the blessing of the international community. This policy towards Hitler was known as “appeasement.” Read the following:

What was appeasement? What was the rationale behind it?

Watch the clip below:

Did everyone agree with appeasement? What was the result of the policy?