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On Austrian Soil
Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate
On Austrian Soil
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Sondra Perl - Author
Price: $78.50 
Hardcover - 258 pages
Release Date: March 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6389-3
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6389-5

Quantity:  
Price: $29.95 
Paperback - 258 pages
Release Date: March 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6390-7
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6390-1

Quantity:  
Price: $29.95 
Electronic - 258 pages
Release Date: February 2012
ISBN10: 0-7914-8359-2
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-8359-6

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FINALIST - 2006 Independent Publishers Book Award in the Autobiography/Memoir category

An award-winning teacher takes a journey into alien territory: Austria, Hitler's birthplace, and the territory of her own hatred. A teaching memoir that offers a pedagogy of hope.

Most educators keep their teaching secret. In On Austrian Soil, an award-winning teacher, Sondra Perl, opens her classroom to reveal the struggles and successes she encounters when she, not without trepidation, raises the questions of history with her adult Austrian students, descendants of Nazis. Her students, teachers themselves, come face-to-face with the question of their responsibility not only to the past but also to the future. Perl's careful descriptions are an invitation to scrutinize her teaching and thinking as well as her students' own histories and hatreds. Writing together, she and her students break lifelong silences—discovering along the way the power of dialogue to transform deeply held prejudices.

“Not only is this an honest, interesting, well-written book (there is a lot of lively dialogue and it reads almost like a novel in parts), it is also a handbook on how to write and to teach to others.” — Jewish Book World

"Hatred remains a disease that has affected more than one generation of the post-Auschwitz era. Its remedy? Whatever it is, education must be its principal component. And this is what one learns from Sondra Perl's absorbing narrative." — Elie Wiesel

"In teaching the children of Nazi soldiers, Sondra Perl confronts her lifelong hatred of those responsible for the Holocaust. Her years of teaching did not prepare her for the experience of teaching people she had been taught to hate. She must also confront her own ambivalence toward religion: she is more interested in blending into a Christian world than standing out as a Jew. Perl succeeds brilliantly in her goal of fostering a public dialogue on what it means for the victims and perpetrators of atrocities to confront the dark past. More importantly, she shows how empathic teaching can enable students to become more empathic not only toward others but also toward themselves."— Jeffrey Berman, author of Risky Writing: Self-Disclosure and Self-Transformation in the Classroom

"What will be the ultimate moral impact of the Holocaust on those who remember? In what might be called 'The Education of Sondra Perl,' the author comes to teach writing and literature in Austria but ends up confronting the Holocaust and her own ambivalence about being a Jew. As she meets Nazis and the children of Nazis, the writer wrestles with her own hatred. In the end, the book offers hope in that Perl affirms her identity as a Jew, even as she learns that the land which earned her mother's hatred the old-fashioned way is a place where it is also possible to make lifelong friends." — Rabbi Irving Greenberg, President of the Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation and former Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Sondra Perl is Professor of English and Urban Education at Lehman College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Felt Sense: Writing with the Body and coauthor (with Nancy Wilson) of Through Teachers' Eyes: Portraits of Writing Teachers at Work and editor of Landmark Essays on Writing Process. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected Professor Perl as the 1996 New York State Professor of the Year.


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Table of Contents

Author's Note on Names and Language

Introduction: The Road to Dialogue

1. A Simple Invitation

2. History Becomes Real

3. Interlude: Fall-Winter 1996-1997

4. A Second Course, A Second Inquiry

5. Whipped by the Wind

6. Interlude: Winter-Spring 1997

7. A Dialogue in Letters

8. Unexpected Lessons

9. Uncommon Ground

10. The Question of Forgiveness

11. When the Wind Whispers

Epilogue: On American Soil

Acknowledgments

Notes

Bibliography



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