Critical Thinking/Discussion Questions - Zina Gontownik

  1. How is the theme of “family” central to Gontownik’s story and experience?
  2. Zina Gontownik vividly describes her daughter, whom she carefully protected as long as possible. The interviewer asked Zina, “When you looked back on your experience, what do you think you remembered the most?” She replied, “My child. She would have been 60 years old.” Why do you think this memory is so important to her?
  3. Children were not given special treatment by the Nazis.  The prevailing treatment at ghettos and camps was to select children, elderly, and the weak for extermination. What do you think was the reasoning for this selection? How does this compare and contrast with the ethic expressed by “women and children first” to the lifeboats or emergency exits; and to giving up one’s seat on a bus to an elderly or ill person?