Study Guide

Never a Bystander tells the story of Irene Butter, a remarkable woman, who chose to be a survivor of the Holocaust, not a victim. She has changed the lives of countless people. The film helps teach viewers how to live with the inevitable losses in life.

Through her presentations at schools, Dr. Butter tells her story and shows how it is possible to live a full and engaged life after trauma.She lives her conviction that as activists, we can make a positive impact. No matter what we have suffered, we can take a stand on important social issues and help each other work toward making the world a better place. Dr. Butter's story transcends the Holocaust – it is filled with life lessons that can be applied to us all.

The film also raises the topic of bullying, which seems to be increasing at an alarming rate. Our hope is that, through this film, all may benefit from Dr. Butter's life lessons and work together to find ways to view our differences as just that differences. We need not polarize each other with dichotomies such as good/bad, left/right, Democrat/Republican, or categories like socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

The Study Guide is Included with the DVD

There is no additional cost. It offers the following take-aways:

  •  Helping viewers engage with and be aware of the world around them
  •  Helping them understand differences
  •  Encouraging "perspective taking," which can lead to tolerance of differences
  •  Assisting viewers to move toward understanding/sympathy/empathy for "the other"
  •  Exploring ways to actively support "the other"

A NOTE TO TEACHERS:

Recognizing your time constraints, we included the following to consider when showing the film in schools:

  •  A glossary of terms
  • An historical overview of the Holocaust
  •  Ways to target selected teaching goals (from the Common Core Standards) and Grade Level Content Expectations.
  •  Suggested projects for students to demonstrate their learning
  •  A sample bibliography for students who choose to expand their understanding of this historical time period, addressing issues from a literary perspective.
  •  Lists of resources to augment understanding the Holocaust and bullying
  •  A select, annotated bibliography for teachers
  •  A list of electronic resources for teachers

A Message from Irene Butter:

Never a Bystander engages students to think about the many injustices in this world, past and present, and encourages them to become actively involved in building a better world. No matter how old you are or where you live there usually is a way to make a difference in a positive way.

The purpose of Never a Bystander is to show that what we do (or don't do) matters.

Many students have told us they consider this to be an important lesson, one that they have not been taught before, and one that they will remember and incorporate into their lives.

It is my hope that many teachers will use the movie and the Study Guide to promote this important lesson in a way that will have a lasting impact on their students.

--Dr. Irene Butter, 2014

Cover to the Study Guide for Never a Bystander, an award-winning film with an inspiring message that goes beyond the Holocaust.

Cover to the Study Guide for Never a Bystander, an award-winning film with an inspiring message that goes beyond the Holocaust.

Dr. Butter with members of a high school class and their teacher, after a presentation of her story.

Dr. Butter with members of a high school class and their teacher, after a presentation of her story.

Image of a split screen showing Irene Butter as a young girl on the left, and a 21st century student during a Q-and-A with Irene on the right.

An image from the film showing at left, young Irene Butter, and at right, a middle school student asking Dr. Butter about life during the Holocaust.

A colorful pile of Holocaust survivor Irene Butter's collection of thank-you cards from students.

Holocaust survivor Irene Butter's collection of thank-you cards from students.

Special Jury Award

Honorable Mention, San Diego Jewish Film Festival 25th Anniversary (2015)