Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Gandhi. We learn how he led India to independence. But more than that the girls learn life lessons from his example.
150 years India was ruled by Britain. India was a country of many religions, and many languages. These differences helped Britain to be in charge. But many Indians wanted to rule themselves. The girls explore why it was important for the Indians to rule their own country and the problems with Britain being in charge.
We meet Gandhi. We learn about his personal value system. We discover how he was opposed to violence. We also learned how he believed that it wasn’t enough to achieve good things. He believed that the way in which you achieved things was also important. Gandhi didn’t hate Britain. But when he lived in South Africa he realized that the British Empire wasn’t always fair to people who were not white British.
When he returned to India he began campaigning for India to be free. He believed that it was wrong to fight. Instead he believed that Indian’s needed to stop doing what British people told them to do. He organized lots of peaceful demonstrations.
The girls tell the story of the terrible day at Amritsar when 400 Indians were shot dead on the streets on the orders of a British General.
Eventually the British agree to talk to Gandhi. But the talks do not go well. Instead the British encourage the Muslims to be worried about an India run by Hindus like Gandhi. The talks collapse. The British arrest many independence protestors.
Then World War Two starts. The British need India. Gandhi tells the Indians not to help the British. But millions ignore him and join the Army. In 1942 Gandhi tells the British to leave India immediately. The British won’t that because of the war. So they put Gandhi and his followers in prison.
But after the war the British have had enough and agree to leave. It agreed to split India in two. There will be a mostly Muslim area called Pakistan and a mostly Hindu area called India. The split is terrible. Muslims and Hindu kill hundreds of thousands of each other. Then a Hindu decides it’s all Gandhi’s fault. He shoots and kills Gandhi. People are horrified. They realise that Gandhi was right. India becomes a country for all religions and languages.
Over time the whole world realise that Gandhi was a great man. Even Britain makes a statue to him.
At the end the girls reflect on Gandhi’s message to the world and the power of his example.
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Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of how Denmark’s Jews were rescued by Danish people at the height of World War Two and escaped overnight to Sweden and safety.
Hitler’s Germany has conquered most of Europe in World War Two. Hitler hates the Jews and tells lies about them. He tries to find them and kill them. But in Denmark the Danes are conquered but allowed to rule themselves – with the German army patrolling the streets.
The King tries to keep his people’s morale up. He rides his horse through Copenhagen every day. When a German soldiers asks why he has no bodyguards, a Danish citizen replies that all Danes are his bodyguard. The King fights against the evil German flag, the Swastika being flown. When the Germans propose that all Jews should wear a yellow badge, the King says he will wear one too. The Germans back down. Hitler sends the King a birthday card with a long letter sucking up to him. The King barely replies.
Hitler is enraged. He decides that Germany will take total control. He also decides to round up the Jews and prepare to kill them.
But a German finds out about the plan and warns the Danish government. The government and ordinary people step into action. In one night they warn all the Jews. They hide them from the Germans and then take them across the sea to Sweden where they will be safe. The evil German SS soldiers kick down the doors but cannot find the Jews. 7,500 are safe.
Now both the Danish people and the brave German who warned the Jews are remembered in Israel, the Jewish homeland.
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PARENTS’ NOTICE ABOUT THIS EPISODE
We wanted to tell a Holocaust story which was uplifting and positive and appropriate for little children. Obviously, that is difficult to do about what is one of the greatest tragedies and crimes in human history. But we hope we have managed it here.
- We teach the name of the Holocaust and that Jews were killed. We do not cover any of the details about how this was done.
- We do not explain in detail why people were anti-semitic, just that they were. In my own experience with the girls, they can sometimes repeat the various anti-semitic lies without explaining properly that they were false or giving the proper contexts.
- We also establish early on that the Jews escape so that the story is not scary for children.
- We try to establish that the Holocaust was a uniquely evil event.
- We took a few liberties with the story. 7,500 Jews escaped, but 500 were captured. Efforts by the Danish government ensured that only around 100 lost their lives. We simplified the story and kept it positive for children. But we wanted here to recognise that there was some tragedy.
If your child likes this then there is a film on Disney Plus called “Miracle at Midnight” which is very good. It was too scary and complicated for Ellie. But Sophie was fine with it. There is also an award winning childrens’ book called “Number the Stars”.
Thanks for listening. Feedback welcome @historytime99 or you can find on facebook.
Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell how Joe Biden and Donald Trump both chose to use the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. They tell the history of the desk that is a symbol of friendship between Britain and America.
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Christmas Tree over thousands of years of history.
They tell how it has its roots in the Winter Solstice. Celts and Vikings would bring evergreen branches into the home as a sign that Spring would come. Ancient Egyptians would celebrate the return of the Sun God, Ra, with evergreen branches. The Roman festival of Saturnalia saw them bring evergreen branches into their homes along with other strange goings on. Across Germany people continued to bring evergreen trees and branches into their homes long after Christianity came. But they were not decorated.
Many people believe that the great Protestant reformer, Martin Luther was the first person to decorate a Christmas tree. Sophie tells how he was so amazed by the beauty of a tree that he chopped it down and took it home for his wife. It was the first Christmas Tree.
We then learn how the Christmas Tree was made popular by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Then it was taken to America by newspapers. The whole world was now using Christmas Trees.
Finally, we tell the heartwarming story of London’s Norwegian Christmas Tree. At the height of World War 2 the Germans invade Norway. Britain helps but to no avail. The King of Norway flees to London. Five years of war later the Americans and British are victorious. In 1947 a grateful Norway sends a huge Norwegian Christmas Tree to Britain as a Thank you present. They send a new Christmas Tree every year.