About the web resource | Make your own digital story | Teacher Guide | Exercises

About the web resource

The website www.grabowski.no is a learning resource primarily aimed at pupils aged 15–19 years. It contains a collection of primary and secondary sources – historical documents, photos and audio clips – collected from several archives in Norway, Germany and Poland. Each source is a piece of the puzzle in the story about prisoner no. 424 in the German SS camp Falstad north of Trondheim (Norway) – the Jewish cantor Josef Grabowski. The web resource is part of a documentation and dissemination project headed by the Falstad Centre Foundation and the Jewish Museum in Trondheim. The resource is developed in parallel with an exhibition and a teaching programme at the Falstad Centre spring 2010.

Use of the web resource

In the web resource, the sources behind Josef Grabowski’s story are organised according to the archives where they were found. We invite visitors to familiarise themselves with the sources and try to put the story together piece by piece: Who was Josef Grabowski? And what is his story? By using the timeline, you can see how events in Grabowski’s life relate to historical events at national and international levels.
Copies of the original sources can be downloaded from the web resource and used in presentations made by the pupils. You will also find suggestions for exercises based on the sources, and guidance as to how the sources can be used in a digital story. In the teacher guide, we offer ideas about using the web resource in your teaching.

Participate in our blog

In addition to the web resource, the Falstad Centre has started a separate blog for the Josef Grabowski project: www.josefgrabowski.blogspot.com. This blog follows the teaching programme at the centre in spring 2010, and will gradually be filled with student work and contributions from teachers. You will also find tips to relevant books and other useful links here.
We invite pupils, teachers and others taking an interest in the subject to post their comments and questions here.

The music on the web resource is taken from the CD Grabowski (UpNorth Discs 2009).
The web resource is developed by the Falstad Centre Foundation, and is designed and produced by
Massive Rhino.

Related websites


Download guidelines as pdf.


Make your own digital story

From this website, you can download material that you may use to make your own digital story (a mini film of max 5 minutes) about Josef Grabowski. To do this, you will need the Windows Movie Maker tool or similar film editing software. An alternative for Linux users is OpenShot Video Editor.

How to find Windows Movie Maker on your PC

  1. Click Start in the bottom left corner. Select Programs and see if Windows Movie Maker appears on the menu.
  2. If you cannot find the program on the Start menu, select Accessories and see if it appears on that menu. If you still cannot find the program, it may be located under Games.
  3. If none of these attempts are successful, please return to Start, select Search, then For files and folders. Click All files and folders, type ”movie maker”, choose your PC as search area, and start your search.

Getting started

  1. Spend some time familiarising yourself with the sources available on the website. You can use the timeline to see how the events in Grabowski’s life relate to national and international events. You should also use literature on the subject.

  2. Find out what you want to tell: What is your main idea? How do you intend to delimit and angle your story?

  3. Then, you should produce a good script. A script for a digital story of 5 minutes should not exceed 400 words. Consider how you best can organise your text with introduction, main part and conclusion. If the text is meant to be recorded as voice over, you should keep the language fairly oral.

  4. While working with your script, you can plan what pictures, sound effects or other elements you want to use with the text or speech to make the story come alive. From this web resource, you may download pictures of original sources (photos, documents and some audio clips). You can also add other images, music and effects, but keep in mind that much of the material you find on the Internet, is protected by copyright. If you search on the Internet, look for CC licensed material (Creative Commons). Material published under a CC licence can be used for non-commercial purposes.

  5. Keep track of your files! When you are getting started with the production of your digital story, it is important that the files you are planning to use are arranged in a neat folder structure on your PC. Create a separate project folder on your desktop, and place images, audio files, text, etc. in separate sub folders.

How to use material from the web resource

  1. By navigating the web resource, you can study original sources that testify to Josef Grabowski’s story. Each source is available as an image file that can be downloaded to your computer and used in your digital story. All sources available on the web resource can be used freely for non-commercial purposes.

  2. For this reason, transcripts in English are available in addition to the original source

  3. The material found on this web resource is collected from several different archives. When you choose to use a source, it is important that you give references to the archive where the original is kept. In the web resource, you will also find the source reference next to the image of the original.

How to use Windows Movie Maker

  1. Open Windows Movie Maker and select New project from the File menu. Give the project a name and save it on your computer.

  2. Upload the files you want to use: Click Import media and upload the files from your computer.

  3. Read in text or upload audio files: Audio tracks can be uploaded in the same way as images. Voice over can also be read directly into Movie Maker if you have a microphone that can be connected to your PC. If so, select Audio comments to timeline under the Tools menu. The easiest way is probably to make the recording with a different type of equipment (e.g. an mp3 player with a recording function).

  4. When you have imported the material you want to use to the project file in Movie Maker, you are ready to create your digital story. Remember to save often as you go!

  5. The digital story is composed by dragging the files from your collection at the top field of the window, down to the timeline under. Start by adding the audio track with voice over in the field Audio/music. Then, you add images in the field Video.

  6. Edit: Adjust the order and duration of the images to fit the audio track. Select Effects and Transitions from the Tools menu, and add zoom functions, panning, gliding transitions, etc. to suit your wishes. Try different things – the possibilities are many!

  7. Add text: Select Titles and Credits from the Tools menu to add a movie title, texts in the film and credits. The credits should include information about your sources

  8. Use the play function to the right in the window during your work. When you are satisfied with your story, you save the project a final time before selecting Publish movie on the File menu. From here, you can save your story as a movie file on your computer.

Present your story!

  • Half of the fun of making a digital story is to present it to other people. Organise a presentation for your fellow students, your family and friends or make your product available on the Internet. You are also welcome to send your story to the Falstad Centre so we can add it to our blog www.josefgrabowski.blogspot.com

  • When products are published on the Internet, it is very important that source references and copyrights are taken care of. Always add an item to the credits called Sources. If you have used images or material that could be copyright protected (meaning that other people own the material and it has not been made available under a CC licence – Creative Commons), you cannot publish your product on the Internet as you please. This applies to for example music. The easiest solution is to always use material that has been made freely available for non-commercial use. The sources in the web resource can be used freely for this purpose. And you can also search for other CC licensed material on the web. For instance www.creativecommons.no.

Download guidelines as pdf.


Teacher Guide

The website www.grabowski.no is a learning resource primarily aimed at pupils aged 15–19 years. The website is developed by the Falstad Centre in connection with a teaching programme, using the story of prisoner no. 424 in the German SS camp Falstad, Josef Grabowski, as a starting point. By means of this website, teachers can make use of this teaching programme for educational purposes.

The web resource offers copies and transcripts of primary sources related to Josef Grabowski’s life, and short informative texts about relevant historical events at national and international levels. Under ”Exercises”, we offer suggestions about how the pupils can work with the sources, how they can use them in their own presentations, and how this work may form the basis for reflection and discussions. We also encourage pupils and teachers to participate in the project blogg, which follows the teaching programme at the Falstad Centre from spring 2010.

The teacher plays a central part in the use of the web resource when it comes to preparations, organising exercises and supplementary work. In the links under, we offer suggestions as to how teachers can incorporate the work with the web resource into their teaching.

  1. Competence goals and methods
  2. Preparations
  3. Organising exercises
  4. Supplementary work and reflection
  5. Participate in our blog

Competence goals and methods

The teaching programme aims to disseminate knowledge about the exclusion processes leading up to Holocaust – the genocide of Europe’s Jews during World War II. It is meant to strengthen the pupils’ consciousness related to history and promote understanding of the connections between the different levels of history, and between the past, the present and the future. Last but not least, the programme aims to contribute to the development of the pupils’ narrative skills and insight into how histories are created through the interpretation of sources. The methods are based on a constructivist learning and knowledge view where the pupils themselves actively participate in the construction of the story; that is, a democratic approach to the knowledge production aiming to develop the pupils’ orienting skills.


The preparations are important to allow pupils to get an idea of the topic, the goals and the exercises to come. The teacher’s central task in this phase is to motivate the pupils for their further work, and provide them with a knowledge basis by introducing them to the historical context. An introduction to the topic involves giving a historical overview of important events and concepts related to the developments in Germany and Norway in the 1930s and 1940s. This could be part of the pupils’ general work with World War II, with a special focus on the waves of persecution of the Jews. It is important that the teachers familiarise themselves with the web resource in advance, in order to know the content, how the resource works in practice, and to ensure correspondence between goals and the conditions for learning effect. It is a prerequisite that the pupils have knowledge about the interpretation of sources and source criticism.

Practical preparations:

  1. Introduce web resource and blog, present exercises.

  2. Divide the pupils into groups of 3–5 persons. Each group chooses how they want to present their final product: as a powerpoint presentation, a digital story or a newspaper article.

  3. Have computers available.

  4. Define in advance how long time the pupils have to complete their work.

Suggestions for introductory topics:

  1. The Nazis’ way to power in Germany

  2. The introduction of the totalitarian regime and its consequences

  3. Laws and regulations that excluded Jews from the German society and made them second-rate citizens (e.g. the Nürnberg Laws)

  4. Examples of the persecution of Jews: The Night of Broken Glass with subsequent waves of refugees leaving Germany

  5. Central events related to the beginning of World War II

  6. The Occupation of Norway

  7. The history, establishment and functions of Falstad prison camp, including prisoner categories and the treatment of prisoners. You will find more information about this at www.falstadsenteret.no.

Organising exercises

Suggestions to how the pupils can explore and interpret the sources in the web resource, can be found under ”Exercises”. The teacher’s role when organising the exercises is primarily to motivate and guide the groups to start and complete their exercise as a group.

Suggestions for guiding topics:

  1. How are the pupils interpreting the exercises?

  2. How do they treat the sources?

  3. Are there any practical problems related to the work?

  4. Do they succeed in making use of both sources and literature?

  5. The relation between goals, understanding and performance: What is important / less important for the pupils to present in their final product?

Supplementary work and reflection 

Supplementary work is a necessary condition to achieve the desired learning effect, both by placing the work in a context and by evaluating the process and opening up for reflection and discussion relating to the topics of the story. Suggestions for reflection exercises can be found under ”Exercises”. Pupil participation is the core of this process as well, with follow-up and guidance by the teacher.

Useful questions to the supplementary work:

  1. How did the pupils reach their interpretation of the story?
  2. Which problems did they encounter?
  3. What were they able to read out of the sources, and how did they see this in connection with events at national and international levels?
  4. How do the pupils relate Grabowski’s story to their own time?
  5. Which topics from the story do the pupils emphasise as relevant to our society?
  6. To what extent does the story seem important to the pupils, and how do they argue in favour of that?
  7. How can the teacher make the pupils conscious of the fact that not all comparisons are equally valid in our own time?

Participate in our blog

In addition to the web resource, the Falstad Centre has started a separate blog for the Josef Grabowski project: www.josefgrabowski.blogspot.com. This blog follows the teaching programme at the centre from spring 2010, and will gradually be filled with student work and contributions from teachers. You will also find tips to relevant books and other useful links here.

Teachers and pupils using the web resource for educational purposes are also welcome to post their comments and questions on this blog. In this way, the blog can be used in connection with the supplementary work and evaluation. Student work produced at schools can also be sent to the Falstad Centre for publishing on the blog.

Download guidelines as pdf.




Build up the story about Josef Grabowski by using the sources you find at www.grabowski.no.  Present the story either as a powerpoint presentation, a digital story or a newspaper article. Use the downloadable sources for your presentation.

Your presentation should include:

  • Who was Josef Grabowski? Find out where he came from, what profession he had, his family situation and anything else that tells about his life.
  • Under which circumstances did Grabowski and other Jews live after the Nazis came into power in Germany?
  • Where did Josef Grabowski stay during the years 1938–1943? Find the reasons why he moved from place to place.


Suggestions for group exercises or plenary discussions:

  1. How did you build up your story? Which sources did you use and why?
  1. Discuss problems and challenges related to the development of the story, in view of the way you have worked with and presented the story about Josef Grabowski. 
  1. Discuss the following statement: ”Grabowski’s story represents the various stages of Holocaust in Europe”
  1. ”Grabowski was a victim of Holocaust, but he was also a man of action.” Discuss the implications of this statement.
  1. What do the sources reveal about the role of the Norwegian authorities and their attitudes towards Jews prior to and during World War II? Why do you think this part of the story about World War II has drawn less attention in schools and the media than many other parts?
  1. Which current topics do you think are relevant to discuss in light of Grabowski’s story? Discuss and give reasons.
  1. ”Holocaust, the genocide of approximately six million Jews, cannot be compared to neither earlier nor later genocides.” Discuss this statement.
  1. The Declaration of Human Rights came as a result of the sufferings brought upon the civilians during World War II. Discuss and give reasons as to how Grabowski’s story makes our fundamental rights a relevant topic.
  1. The ideological ideas and rule of the Nazis stand in clear contrast to that of a democracy, something Grabowski experienced. Discuss the differences and find examples from Grabowski’s life.

Download guidelines as pdf.