T&S Curriculum (Pending)

The let­ters of Hil­de and Roland afford high-school and uni­ver­si­ty edu­ca­tors an oppor­tu­ni­ty to approach tea­ching from a dif­fe­rent ang­le. A focus on a rich set of pri­ma­ry sources like this cor­re­spon­dence, avail­ab­le in both the ori­gi­nal Ger­man and Eng­lish trans­la­ti­ons, can pro­vi­de stu­dents with a view of ever­y­day life in the Nazi era from the per­spec­ti­ve of ordi­na­ry Ger­mans. To make the­se his­to­ri­cal sources more acces­si­ble to diver­se audi­en­ces, we want to deve­lop resour­ces to sup­port inter­di­sci­pli­na­ry, inter­me­di­al, and trans­na­tio­nal teaching.

The deve­lo­p­ment of this cur­ri­cu­lum is pen­ding suc­cess­ful grant app­li­ca­ti­ons. An over­view of the pro­po­sed cur­ri­cu­lum can be found below and a sam­ple unit here (Unit 1). Licen­se: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 ©2019.


The­se inte­gra­ted tea­ching units are desi­gned for stu­dents of Ger­man cul­tu­re, histo­ry, and/or lan­guage; inst­ruc­tors are encou­ra­ged to adapt this fle­xi­ble cur­ri­cu­lum to suit their indi­vi­du­al needs. It is pit­ched toward stu­dents who have some basic fami­lia­ri­ty in tho­se areas.

High School:

11th or 12th gra­de stu­dents in AP, IB, or Dual-Col­le­ge-Credit world or Euro­pean histo­ry cour­ses and/or

Stu­dents in their 4th or 5th year of Ger­man, for DaF students


1st, 2nd, or 3rd year under­gra­dua­tes in gene­ral edu­ca­ti­on, the huma­nities, or the social sci­en­ces and/or

Under­gra­dua­tes in their 3rd or 4th year of Ger­man at the col­le­ge level, for DaF students.


The cur­ri­cu­lum is struc­tu­red into ele­ven units, three of which are cur­r­ent­ly being draf­ted. Each unit focu­ses on a selec­tion of “inte­res­ting” let­ters writ­ten during rough­ly one “sea­son” of bet­ween two and six mon­ths. The units cover the “pre­war” peri­od in their rela­ti­ons­hip from May 1938, when they began their courtship, to July 1940, when they mar­ried. A few weeks later in August, Roland was con­scrip­ted into the Ger­man military.

Each unit also cor­re­sponds direct­ly to a sce­ne in an his­to­ri­cal play sta­ring Hil­de and Roland as the prot­ago­nists. Enti­t­led Love in the Time of Hit­ler: A Courtship in Let­ters, 1938–1940, it uses the let­ters to dra­ma­ti­ze ever­y­day life from the per­spec­ti­ve of two ordi­na­ry Ger­mans. During its pre­mier at a work­shop in May  2016 in Kan­sas City, Mis­sou­ri, the play was per­for­med and recor­ded in Eng­lish. The play is also avail­ab­le in Ger­man trans­la­ti­on based on the ori­gi­nal letters.

Unit acti­vi­ties are divi­ded into two sets: Ger­man (“D”) and Eng­lish (“E”). The for­mer, direc­ted pri­ma­ri­ly at DaF stu­dents, focu­ses more on lin­gu­is­tic skills such as the com­pre­hen­si­on, acqui­si­ti­on, grammar, and expres­si­on of the Ger­man lan­guage. The lat­ter, focu­sed on all stu­dents, focu­ses on a cri­ti­cal enga­ge­ment with the con­tent in terms of the huma­nities and social sciences. 

The­se units are sup­por­ted by a wide-ran­ge of resour­ces in a varie­ty of media.

The his­to­ri­cal dra­ma its­elf, available:

in pdf for­mat in Eng­lish and German

as a digi­tal record­ing of the pre­mier per­for­mance on 20. May 2017 in English

as a digi­tal record­ing of the first act only during the second per­for­mance on 4. June 2017.

The T&S web­site, inclu­ding

com­ple­te descrip­ti­ons of the pro­ject and the prot­ago­nists in both Ger­man and Eng­lish

tran­scrip­ti­ons of all the Ger­man letters

Eng­lish trans­la­ti­ons of all of the let­ters used in the play 

Six framing lectures by uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sors, avail­ab­le here on YouTube

Ger­man audio record­ings of all of the indi­vi­du­al let­ters, avail­ab­le here with Eng­lish inst­ruc­tions and here with Ger­man inst­ruc­tions, as well as mon­th­ly Ger­man radio pro­grams using selec­tions of the letters

PDFs of a few of the ori­gi­nal let­ters, writ­ten in old Ger­man script and anonymized

Fami­ly pho­to­graphs, his­to­ri­cal images, and maps rela­ting to the let­ters from the play

Secon­da­ry lite­ra­tu­re in Ger­man and Eng­lish inclu­ding both gene­ral rea­ding and scho­l­ar­ly publi­ca­ti­ons on T&S specifically. 

Inst­ruc­tors should adopt and/or adapt the­se mate­ri­als as they see fit.

Selec­ted reac­tions to the play from some of the 2016 work­shop par­ti­ci­pants avail­ab­le in Eng­lish here.

Read the respon­ses of Ame­ri­can high school stu­dents to Units 1 & 2, avail­ab­le in Eng­lish here.

Sub­mit your stu­dents’ respon­ses for publi­ca­ti­on to the Pro­ject Lea­ders.  Or invi­te them to com­ment on the let­ter directly!


Using the­se resour­ces, an inter­na­tio­nal team of expe­ri­en­ced tea­chers from high schools and uni­ver­si­ties have desi­gned a seri­es of fle­xi­ble class­room acti­vi­ties and assign­ments for each unit, tied to lear­ning objectives

Each units may be taken in iso­la­ti­on or pla­ced tog­e­ther as a cur­ri­cu­lum, though we recom­mend assigning Unit 1 as a foundation.

In kee­ping with the princi­ples of the public huma­nities, each unit con­clu­des with  app­li­ca­ti­ons that assess stu­dent com­pe­ten­ci­es and encou­ra­ges stu­dents to take posi­ti­ons on the mea­ning of the­se let­ters for the past and con­nect them to the present.

Next: Stu­dent Lear­ning Objectives

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