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Prism Journal

The Fish Center publishes PRISM: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust Educators, with funding from the Rothman Foundation. Prism offers educators a practical, scholarly resource on teaching the Holocaust at the high school, college and graduate school levels.The first issue of this peer-reviewed journal was published in fall 2009. It is edited by Fish Center faculty member Dr. Karen Shawn. Each issue examines a specific topic through a variety of lenses, including education, history, literature, poetry, psychology and art. Experts from high schools, colleges, universities, museums and resource centers from around the world bring diverse perspectives highlighting particular facets of the issue at hand. To obtain a hard copy of the journal, e-mail

karen shawn

Click below to find a genre index of PRISM as well as preview issues.

Prism Journal - Spring 2022

  • Hard copies of the 2022 issue of PRISM are available for $25; 12 or more are $18 each. Contact to purchase. Please include: your full name, mailing address, and number of copies you wish. Then send your tax-deductible check made out to The Fish Center, PRISM, to The Fish Center, 500 West 185th St, BH 1304. 

Issue 13, the first since the pandemic, is a special one. It boasts 29 poems and short essays, each accompanied by stunning paintings and line drawings by renowned artist Nancy Patz, that offer a glimpse into the thoughts, reflections, and memories of women and men who were born to survivors of the Holocaust. The works within were carefully curated for their power and beauty, for their authenticity of voice, and for their ease of integration into classroom study of the Holocaust. The texts are accessible to and appropriate for students in high school through university, introducing readers to children of survivors and to moments of the Holocaust itself. The writing prompts interpretation of the artwork; the art encourages reflection on its relation to the writing it illustrates. Every page of this unique issue is a gift of thought and learning for your students.

This issue, our 11th, offers history, art, an interview with the renowned Israel Gutman, and works from survivors, children of survivors, artists, photographers, and poets who have a personal story to tell, who captured our theme of “turning points” exactly by sharing instances of understanding, grief, confusion, shock, loss, or simply reflection on what Lawrence L. Langer has called moments of “optionless anguish” that would forever shadow the lives of those who experienced them. We also pay tribute to the historian David S. Wyman, a gentle scholar who passed away in 2018; and to the Israeli writer Nava Semel, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 63.

View Prism 2018 on Scribd

Welcome to our 10th-anniversary issue! We take this opportunity to thank our thousands of readers in over 40 countries and in every American state, especially those who graciously take the time to write appreciative notes to us and to send much-needed donations. This anniversary marks our second open-themed issue, so the offerings within are wide-ranging. They include memoirs, biographies, historical analyses, pedagogical essays, including one on Holocaust films; personal narratives, and, as always, wonderful poetry and stunning artwork.

View Prism 2017 on scribd

The theme of this 9th issue is the end of innocence. We explore moments of knowing: When and how did Americans learn about the events in Europe? What happened when the Holocaust, or any particular aspect of it, became known to those directly affected by it? to those uninvolved who later became aware of the events—perhaps from word of mouth, perhaps from newspapers? What happens to a child of survivors whose inchoate knowing becomes adult understanding? to a member of the third generation who learns the truth about his heritage only as an adolescent? What happens today to a student unrelated to Jews whose innocence is ended by a history class, a piece of literature, or a film? Once one knows, what is the next step, and how does that step differ from person to person? How does such new knowledge inspire and affect university students who plan to become teachers?

Prism 2016 pdf

Though the Holocaust is taught as a progression of events spanning 12 years, the Jews in its grip lived it as a sequence of moments. It is these moments—the unfolding of individual thoughts, reflections, feelings, conversations, and actions during the Holocaust and in its aftermath—that the photography, testimony, poetry, and short stories in this issue endeavor to capture. Each presents unique details of the Jewish experience that help students understand the Holocaust through the eyes of those who lived it.

PRISM Spring 2015 pdf

In our 7th issue, we proudly feature the Viennese-based institute Centropa, the Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation, “where Jewish history has a name, a face, a story.” We highlight teachers’ classroom experiences using the extensive archive at Works by new contributors from around the world grace these pages, most notably from the Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Other highlights include a new focus on teaching about Kristallnacht from London’s Wiener Library; essays on graphic writing, cartoons, apps, and websites for high school and college classroom use; an essay, interspersed with the author’s original poetry, on the Sephardic experience; and an essay on using Nuremberg Trials documentary testimony-turned-poetry in the university classroom.

Prism 2014 pdf

Here we present our first unthemed issue. It offers, as usual, historical research, pedagogy, literature, poetry, documentary photographs, and paintings—but on a variety of topics and themes that illustrate the particular passions and expertise of authors whose subjects may not warrant an entire journal but whose essays are too valuable to miss. We are particularly pleased to feature the art of Nancy Patz, and to share essays from teacher practitioners and professors, whose creative and passionate work highlights the necessity and value of providing a sound historical foundation as well as opportunities for student engagement and active learning in every classroom.

Prism Volume 5 2013 pdf

Volume 5: Table of Contents

Our 2013 issue explores the Kindertransport and other attempts at large-scale rescue of Jewish children. Among the unique and classroom-ready pieces within are a Readers' Theater piece on the  Kindertransport, along with the background on its original production in England; an introduction to the Centropa website, highlighting the story of Lily Tauber, a Kindertransport survivor; and narrative and poetic testimony from two Kinder saved by Nicholas Winton. 

Prism 2012 pdf

Volume 4: Table of Contents

Examines the various ways in which Jews acted in response to the slow and systematic humiliation, separation, exclusion, deprivation, ghettoization, internment, slave labor, and, ultimately, the destruction of their communities and the deportation and murder of their friends and families. This issue examines the complexities involved in Jewish religious, spiritual, and physical resistance during the Holocaust and concludes that the question should not be why there was so little resistance but how there was so much.

Additional resources mentioned in various essays in Volume 4:

Prism Journal Fall 2011 pdf

Volume 3: Table of Contents

Examines relationships among family members during the Holocaust and in its aftermath.

Additional resources mentioned in various essays in Volume 3:

Prism Journal 2010 pdf

Volume 2: Table of Contents

Looks at bystander behavior.

Additional resources mentioned in various essays in Volume 2:

Prism Journal Fall 2009 pdf

Volume 1: Table of Contents

Explores the concept of trauma and resilience in children during the Holocaust, as well as the effects today of teaching and learning about it.

Additional resources mentioned in various essays in Volume 1:

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