As an introductory activity to reading The Diary of Anne Frank, students in Mrs. Teryl Todd’s eighth grade Academic Enrichment class were able to gain first-hand knowledge about World War II by Skyping with a veteran in Ohio. Lester Hurst (father of Mrs. Todd) was stationed in Berlin, Germany with the Occupational Forces during World War II. Hurst told the class how he stood guard over the German prisoners as they worked to clean up debris in the devastated city of Berlin. Also, as the fate of Germany was being decided, Hurst stood guard at the Allied Council Authority Building where General Eisenhower, General O’Mar Bradley, and General Montgomery of the British forces met for negotiations.
During the Skype session, the veteran showed the class his war souvenirs including a piece of granite from Hitler’s bunker, a diffused hand grenade, a skull and crossbones marker used to identify land mines, his dog tags, and several American and German medals. At the conclusion of the presentation, the students engaged in a question and answer period with the veteran.