My PowerPoint presentation and talk about Fort Breendonk is intended for middle school and high school students as well as adults who are studying or interested in the Holocaust and World War II.
A preview of my presentation at the American School of the Hague, NL
During my talk, I explain the prewar history of the Belgian camp and its development into what the SS called a "reception" camp (though it was essentially a concentration camp).
I introduce the audience to some of the prisoners, using photographs obtained from various archives in Belgium. This personal close-up look allows students to better understand the horrors of the Holocaust as well as the dangers of living in an occupied country. About a third of Breendonk's prisoners (Jews, political prisoners, resistance fighters, and common criminals) were eventually sent to other concentration camps. The presentation covers this broad spectrum, so that a clear picture of the horrors of Breendonk is conveyed.
I end the presentation by describing how the camp was evacuated and what happened to the prisoners. I explain how the story of Breendonk is also the story of many other SS camps, since many Breendonk prisoners were ultimately transported from Breendonk to other concentration camps.
I also talk about my own multi-faceted connection to the Holocaust and why I began to write books related to this topic.
Speaking to students at the Morton Freshman Center, J. Sterling Morton High School District 201, Cicero, IL