Maxwell Smart

  • 14+
  • 4 class periods

Maxwell Smart was born in Buczacz, Poland (now Ukraine), in 1930. He survived the Holocaust by escaping deportation and hiding in a forest. He came to Canada in 1948 and lives in Montreal.

The educational materials below can be used to create a lesson around Maxwell Smart’s survival story.

Learning goals

  • engage with survivor testimony, a primary source, and original artwork
  • develop media skills by researching a survivor’s story on the digital resource Re:Collection
  • use historical-thinking and critical-thinking skills to complete a timeline

How to use these materials in class

Step 1: The Background Reading is a short introduction to a survivor’s story that provides historical and biographical context. Distribute the Background Reading to your students to prepare them to delve deeper into Maxwell Smart’s survival story.

Step 2: The Re:Collection Instructions show students how to navigate the digital resource Re:Collection. Distribute the instructions before your students use the digital resource.

Step 3: The Author Biography Activity asks students to answer ten chronological questions about a survivor’s life before, during and after the Holocaust. Assign this activity to your students to guide them through an exploration of Maxwell Smart’s page on Re:Collection.

Step 4: The Timeline Activity asks students to create a timeline of significant events from a survivor’s life alongside significant events in the history of the Holocaust. Assign this activity to your students to apply what they learned about Maxwell Smart’s experiences during the Holocaust to the broader historical context.

Step 5: The Immigration to Canada Activity asks students to think deeply about a key theme in Maxwell Smart’s story. In this activity, students consider the War Orphans Project by analyzing a primary source and linking it with Maxwell’s experiences in Canada.

Step 6: The Artwork Analysis Activity ask students to think deeply about a key theme in Maxwell Smart’s story. In this activity, students analyze a piece of Maxwell’s artwork to consider how art can help people express difficult experiences.