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Historical Thinking
Lesson 3: Reflection on the Learnings

Suggested Level:  Grades 11, 12, and undergraduate

Suggested Time: 45 minutes

Description of Lesson 3:

In this task, students will address their findings and questions through a letter-writing exercise.

Lesson 3 : Reflection on the Learnings

Activity 1: Letter Writing (Apply)

From what the students learned and discussed in the last two lessons, invite them to write a letter to one of the four women of the project. The students are encouraged to ask them questions and share their reflections. Feel free to choose either a specific excerpt or a full interview. For inspiration, you can refer to the letter Claudia wrote to Lisa below. If you would like your student's letter featured on this page, feel free to send them to us to


Dear Lisa,

My name is Claudia Dueck and I am writing to you from my office at the University of Winnipeg in Winnipeg in the year 2023. I have just heard your interview with Alexander Freund and I have been taken in by your story. Sitting here, 77 years after the second world war has ended, it is difficult for me to imagine what it must have been like to live through it, and to spend the years after learning about all that went on during it.

I’ve just heard the section of your interview where you describe the train journey across Canada. Nowadays you can do the journey from Halifax to Vancouver that took you 12 days by train, in under seven hours by plane. I guess you don’t see the scenery as much though. 

You say you wanted your butter to be cold, that’s why you wedged it in the windows, but wouldn’t you have wanted it to be spreadable? I’m curious what that journey was like. I can’t imagine spending 12 days in a train eating bread and butter! Although I’m sure you ate other things too.

Sometimes I think about living in a different part of the world, but I always know that I can travel home to see my family. When you came, you had been through so much and you took an immense financial risk, not knowing whether you would ever be able to go see your home and your family again. I admire that courage!

I just want to clear one thing up - there are some heritage buildings in Canada, but I understand your point. They are typically not as old or as beautiful as the ones in Germany. It does make it easier to do renovations though!

Thanks for sharing your story with me and letting me imagine what a 1951 cross-Canada train journey might have been like!


Greetings from 2023,


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