Hyman Rutstein of the Jewish Battalion

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

** Try out the new WW1 Medals Interactive resource on My Learning. Pupils can explore the significance of medals, stories of medal recipients and design their own medals online and view them in 3D. **

Curriculum links:
KS3 Citizenship  - Citizens' contributions to community
KS4 Citizenship - Diversity.
KS3 History - First World War
KS4 History - Britain at War
KS2 Religious Education - Judaism
KS3 Religious Education  - Beliefs and concepts

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of the contribution made by the Jewish Battalions in WWI and the case study of Hyman Rutstein
Understanding of participation of people of varied religions and nationalities in the First World War
Skills to approach and analyse the history of the First World War through the experiences of different individuals

Discussion ideas

  • Why did Hyman take the tefillin with him to the trenches?
  • As the tefillin remind Jews that they are under God's protection, how do you think Hyman felt when he was wounded?
  • How might Russian Jews have felt when told they had to join the Labour Corps and carry out manual work, instead of fighting on the Front Line?
  • Why do you think it was important during wartime for discharged soldiers to have a badge (like the Silver War Badge) to show that they had been 'honourably discharged'?
  • Why do you think Hyman wanted to become a British citizen? If the War hadn't happened, do you think he would still have applied for naturalisation?
  • How important to someone's identity is the country of their birth?
  • If you moved to another country, what would you find most difficult and what would you miss most about where you live now?
  • Discuss the reasons why people today emigrate from their country of birth (both push and pull factors).
  • Discuss how have immigrants contributed to our society?

    The resource Polish People in Britain after WWII features five personal stories about uprooting and settling in another country.

Activity ideas:

  • Find out what other items of faith soldiers took with them on the battlefield? (‘Faith’ can be a broad definition as many men had lucky charms too).

  • Research other minority groups involved in WWI, thinking about the countries within the former British Empire.

  • Medals are awarded for achievement or for being part of a military campaign.
    - Think about medals that can be awarded today - what achievement or campaign does each medal highlight?
    - Research the medal ribbons as the colours identify 'theatres of war' that the recipient experienced.

  • Research the history of Jewish immigration to Britain - when did it begin, which countries and how many people were involved?

  • Compare the tefillin used by people of Jewish faith to similar items used during prayer in other faiths. Record as many as you can, noting the differences as well as what they have in common.
  • Take the Life in the UK test to see if you would qualify for British Citizenship.  Do you think these questions are a fair way to test if someone will be able to integrate into British society?  What questions would you add or delete?

View other relevant My Learning WW1 resources or scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.




 
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