Fragile mechanics : connecting Holocaust and art education through the creation of a graphic novel
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Through the creation of a graphic novel based on a Romanian Holocaust survivor’s testimony, this study attempts to clarify the role of artistic creation in meaning-making during Holocaust and genocide education. In facilitating empathy and moral education, the creative process encourages a deeper exploration of these troubling topics than is possible within the confines of a traditional academic approach. In order to understand this process, I worked with the testimony of Zoly Zamir, who escaped Bucharest following the Iron Guard Rebellion of 1941. The creation of the graphic novel took me from Austin to Houston and Romania, where I sought to trace the echoes of history in architecture and environment. Translating Zamir’s story into word and image produced an empathetic bond to the narrative and the region, facilitating a deeper understanding of the hows and whys of the Holocaust. That engagement spurred a desire to continue to ask questions, to look beyond a regimented understanding and view the broader implications of the history.