The American St. Nick
It was 1944 in the small Luxembourg Town of Wiltz. The war had taken a heavy toll as Wiltz had been a center of resistance and suffered brutal reprisals. People were shot in the town square and men were forced into the German army or sent to concentration camps. The German occupation lasted four years before the Germans pulled out in September 1944. After the town’s liberation, Allied soldiers rotated through Wiltz for R&R (rest and recuperation). The 112th Regiment, part of the 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard (known as the Keystone Division), had been sent to relieve troops battling to retake Huertgen Forest. After sustaining heavy casualties they were sent to regroup and rest in Wiltz. The people there had very little and had not been able to celebrate Christmas or anything else during the years of occupation. A few days before Thanksgiving Corporal Harry Stutz told his buddy, Corporal Richard Brookins, “I think we should give this town a Christmas party, A St. Nicholas Day. For hundreds of years here in Wiltz, they had a celebration on the fifth of December, the eve of St. Nicholas Day. A man dressed as St. Nick paraded through the town and gave candy to the kids. Kids here haven’t celebrated St. Nicholas Day for nearly five years because of the war. Some of them have never seen St. Nick at all.” What followed is one of the most heart-warming stories of World War II. Narrated by Tom Kane.
Each of our documentary films has a corresponding quiz or essay question for use in the classroom by teachers and educators.
We encourage you to choose one of the PDFs below that is the best match for your students. It’s up to each educator if you would like to offer either the exam or the one-question essay. An answer sheet corresponds with each quiz. Our goal is not to overwhelm students with dates, treaties, and strategies. Instead, we would rather focus their attention on the individual stories of the subjects of our documentaries. We find these visual stories to be inspiring, impactful, and educational.
We hope that after viewing one of our films, students will want to learn more about the personal stories of the World War II generation. Maybe they do this by reading a book, watching another documentary, or perhaps a full-length film. Maybe our films will inspire your students to ask an older family member about their role, or inquire about another relative’s story, in World War II.
We recommend the below curriculum for grades 7-12 and college.