Meeting Max: A Holocaust Survivor's Story


Luke, a high school student, has become interested in learning about the Holocaust after watching historical black and white footage. He partners with Alabama Public Television to film an interview with Max Steinmetz, a Holocaust survivor, with hopes of going beyond the history books. This three-part series includes Max's story about being a prisoner and a slave laborer, and finally being liberated.

  • Part 1 - Auschwitz

    Luke, a high school student, has become interested in learning about the Holocaust after watching historical black and white footage. He partners with Alabama Public Television to film an interview with Max Steinmetz, a Holocaust survivor, with hopes of going beyond the history books. Max tells a compelling story of being rounded up and sent to Auschwitz where he was separated from his parents and sister. He never saw them again. Luke grapples with his own emotions as he hears this first-person account of the extermination of Jews at Auschwitz. He comes to realize that old black and white footage of the Holocaust is a record of real people who suffered as Max suffered. He comes to realize the enormity of suffering caused by the Holocaust.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Part 2 - Slave Labor

    Luke, a high school student, has been working with Alabama Public Television to film and interview Max Steinmetz, a Holocaust survivor. Max's parents and sister were killed at Auschwitz, but he and his brother were spared and sent to Dachau, the oldest concentration camp. Why were they spared? Luke hears Max's tale of being used as a slave laborer for Nazi Germany. Although they worked every day, they were not fed enough and were threatened with hanging on the gallows for any minor offense while they struggled with starvation. Max even had to face the Camp Commandant when he was caught stealing food. Luke realizes that the Jews were not only being exterminated, but were also used as slave labor for the Third Reich, and that life as a slave was a day-to-day fight to survive.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Part 3 - Liberation

    Luke presents a series of archival photographs detailing the liberation of the the concentration camp where Max Steinmetz was a prisoner. But Max was not there - he had been sent on a death march. Max tells his story of the final days of World War II when he was forced to march 50 miles while other prisoners all around him were being summarily executed. Max escaped and found refuge with a German family. But he questions their motives in saving him. Were they really trying to save themselves from the retribution of the Allies instead? American soldiers liberated Max and he was saved. But questions about the Holocaust and the guilt or innocence of the German people remain in Max’s mind.

    Grades: 7-12

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