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For the Teacher…

We welcome you and your students to Far from Hitler: The Scattergood Hostel for European Refugees, 1939-43.  To enrich your experience we have prepared activities for students that may be completed before or after viewing the exhibit.



For Additional or Independent Study


A. Recent-Immigrant Interviews

Students may choose to interview recent immigrants to the United States.  Why did they come?  What did they expect America could offer?  What customs and lifestyles were most unusual to them?  What adjustments did they make?  How did these experiences compare with the immigrants from Europe at the hostel?  Send a list of the questions you might like your guest to address. 

B. Create a Family Tree

Did your ancestors arrive from another country?  Why did they come to America?  What did they expect?  What challenges did they face?  How did they adjust to life in this country?  Write a narrative about your family’s journey to America.

C. Attributes of Community 

Discuss the different ways we create a sense of community in our lives.  To which communities do we belong?  Are these communities based on geography? Common interests?  Beliefs?  Identities?  Why do you think we have a need for community?  How did the hostel staff create a sense of community for the newcomers? Part I.

Pretending you are a child at Scattergood Hostel, complete the Five Senses of Community Worksheet (attached).    Part II.  Complete the activity: Objects from our Communities  (attached). 

D.  Oral Histories 

Students become active learners by conducting oral history interviews.  They can ask questions and understand the circumstances behind the choices people make.  Choose a family member to interview about early childhood experiences and the community in which he/she grew up.  Prepare open-ended questions, and practice interviews with a partner.  Find out who, what, when, where and why.  Record the interview if possible.  Then put your interview into a narrative form.

E. Panel on Immigrant Issues in Iowa 

Research media sources for issues with immigrants in Iowa today.  Are some of the issues the same as the immigrants faced 60 years ago at the hostel?  Choose a community in Iowa to study.  Include on your panel a local citizen, an immigrant, and a government official.  Look at all perspectives related to difficulties facing communities and immigrants today. Choose a topic and have participants prepare a town meeting. 

F.   Our Cultural Traditions, Independent Research 

Ask students to consider their own cultural heritage.  Discuss the concept of cultural tradition: the handing down of information, beliefs and customs, by word of mouth or example, from one generation to another.  Ask students to provide examples of cultural traditions in their own families.  Have these traditions changed over the generations?  Why do families continue/change/discontinue these traditions?  How have different cultures fused together?  Can you think of examples of cultural fusion?  (E.g. kosher burritos)   Students should gather artifacts or create symbols to represent the unique cultural customs, and display them on a poster.  Students may compare/contrast traditions. 

G.   Post-Hostel Town Meeting 

Examine primary documents and copies of local newspapers issued upon the closing of the hostel.  What proposal did the American Friends Service make to the community of West Branch?  What happened?  Write a script and roll play a scene of the meeting that took place.  Include the final decision made by the community. 

H.    Who are the Quakers? 

Using the 1995 issue of Cobblestone Magazine, research the Society of Friends.  Visit the Herbert Hoover Presidential site in West Branch.  Tour the Meeting House.  What is the connection between Herbert Hoover, Quakers and the Scattergood Hostel?  Write about what you have learned, focusing on ways that the Friends have practiced peace.


designed by Jane Bryant, instructor in the Iowa City School District