This multipart resource is intended to help teachers support students’ understanding of genocide in the context of their Holocaust education.
Why is it valuable to teach about genocide in the context of learning about the Holocaust?
• The Holocaust is often considered to have given rise to our conceptualization of the term "genocide," which was coined during the Second World War, in large measure as a response to the crimes of the Nazis and their collaborators. Therefore the Holocaust can be an effective starting point and the foundation for studying genocide.
• Students can sharpen their understanding not only of similarities between events but also of key differences. In so doing, it may be an opportunity to better understand the particular historical significance of the Holocaust, and how study of the Holocaust may contribute to our understanding of other genocidal events.
• Students can identify common patterns and processes in the development of genocidal situations. Through the understanding of a genocidal process and by identifying stages and warning signs in this process, a contribution can hopefully be made to prevent future genocides.
• Students can appreciate the significance of the Holocaust in the development of international law, establishment of tribunals, and attempts by the international community to respond to genocide in the modern world.
• Students can gain awareness of the potential danger for other genocides and crimes against humanity that existed prior to the Holocaust and continue to the present day. This may strengthen an awareness of their own roles and responsibilities in the global community.
 "Education Working Group Paper on the Holocaust and Other Genocides" (2010)
• A central tenant of the Echoes & Reflections methodology is the use of primary source materials, which we have provided in the form of visual history testimonies. Learn more about the Echoes & Reflections pedagogy here.
These programs are designed to enhance teachers’ knowledge, capacity, and confidence to teach about the Holocaust. Educators are introduced to pedagogical principles and explore classroom lessons, visual history testimonies and other resources that examine aspects of the history and its continued relevance today. Programs can provide broad historical overview grounded in effective instructional strategies or focus on specific themes aligned with Echoes & Reflections Units below:
Grounded in relevant aspects of Holocaust history, the following programs connect learning to contemporary issues and concerns of today, introducing Echoes & Reflections and supplementary classroom resources to examine these topics with students.
Antisemitism: Understanding and Countering this Hatred Today
This program helps teachers educate about antisemitism today and its connection with the Holocaust. Educators gain strategies to help students respond to and counter contemporary antisemitism and forms of hate.
Advancing Civic Participation through Holocaust Education
Studying the Holocaust imparts essential lessons of civic values, including justice, tolerance, and the importance of democratic liberties. This program examines how lessons of history can instill the importance of civic action in young people from all backgrounds. By using Echoes pedagogical approach and examining the rise of the Nazi party, participants bridge memory into action and inspire students to participate in political processes in their community.
Analyzing Propaganda and Teaching Media Literacy: The Holocaust as a Case Study
Participants explore the events of the Holocaust through the lens of media, by examining propaganda deployed by the Nazis to discriminate against Jews and other minorities. Educators gain tools to facilitate classroom discussions and support students to analyze media in today’s world.
How We Remember: The Legacy of the Holocaust Today
How did the world respond when the reality of the Holocaust came to light? How can we learn from the international response to crimes against humanity in interpreting memory and history? During this program, educators examine the pursuit of justice at Nuremberg, the effect the trials had on how we understand the Holocaust, how survivors coped with the trauma to build new lives in the aftermath, and how we remember and memorialize the Holocaust today.
It Starts with Words: Teaching the Holocaust to Combat Hate
The Holocaust arose out of antisemitic hatred fueled in part by the power of words. Participants examine the escalation of words to violence, which in turn, became genocide in order to consider where such a progression might have been interrupted. Educators gain tools to apply these lessons to modern day issues faced by students to ensure human dignity for all.
An important element of the Echoes & Reflections approach is the inclusion of multidisciplinary methods to ensure students learn the human story behind the Holocaust. These programs, of particular interest to ELA and Humanities educators, highlight various sources – from literature to photographs – to engage learners.
Bringing Maus to the Classroom
Art Spiegelman’s Maus broke new ground in its format of the graphic novel to tell the story of the Holocaust, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. In this program, participants analyze Maus to gain insights into using this masterwork to teach the Holocaust and learn instructional strategies for teaching about this history with graphic novels.
Creating Context for Teaching Night
Prepare students to read and comprehend Elie Wiesel’s Night within the larger historical framework of the Holocaust. Educators discover materials and instructional strategies that support effective teaching of the memoir and provide additional background to integrate into classroom instruction.
Dare to Dream: Teaching Compassion through Holocaust Literature Beyond Anne Frank
In this program, educators examine diaries and poetry from Jewish youth during the Holocaust to build a connection to the ways in which young people still dared to dream in the face of loss, rupture, and fear. Participants consider how to use these literary selections to help to create empathy and provoke compassion with their students.
Teaching the Holocaust Using the Humanities: Integrating Photographs, Literature, Art, and Poetry to tell the Human Story
Educators learn strategies to integrate multiple primary sources into Holocaust instruction with a focus on the human experience. Programs can examine a range of sources or be narrowed to focus on a specific type of source, such as photography, art or poetry, including specific programs on The Auschwitz Album, Photography as Resistance, etc.
The Nazi regime subjected women to violence that was unique to the gender of the victims, and examining the Holocaust through this lens creates a more nuanced understanding and insight into the use of gender as a weapon. Programs below also offer opportunities to illustrate how the unique strengths and resilience of women allowed them to navigate some of the most difficult times in history.
Gender & Genocide
Gender is a critical area of study in genocide scholarship. In this program, participants examine how gender dynamics influenced perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Specifically as it relates to women, LGBTQ victims, and gender-based violence.
Women in the Holocaust
During the escalation of violence and worsening conditions in ghettos and camps during the Holocaust, the majority of women and mothers focused on daily survival. Drawing on Echoes & Reflections lessons and other sources, this program examines the dilemmas that women and mothers faced and their attempts to resist dehumanization and death. Program can be tailored to focus on women who were awarded the title “Righteous Among the Nations.”
Women in Resistance: Fierce Females
During the Holocaust, women were often at the heart of resistance, whether spiritual, cultural or armed. This program, highlighting Echoes & Reflections resources, focuses on the role of the female “couriers” and the part they played in armed resistance. This story, often overshadowed by stories of armed resistance in the ghettos of Europe, offers a powerful example of incredible bravery exhibited by a group of Jewish girls and women.
Echoes & Reflections is proud to partner with USC Shoah Foundation, Hold On To Your Music Foundation, and Discovery Education to bring the Willesden READS Program to students and teachers in select cities across the United States.
Discover teaching resources to support the Willesden READS and more at The Willesden Project.THE STORY
The Children of Willesden Lane–editions now available for readers across grade levels-is the best-selling story about the power of music and how one teenage refugee, Lisa Jura, Mona’s mother, held onto her dreams, survived the Holocaust and inspired a generation of her contemporaries. Today's worldwide humanitarian crises and the importance of standing up against bigotry and hatred are reflected in the continued, growing relevance of this story.THE PROGRAM
The centerpiece event of the Willesden READS Program is a 50-minute one of a kind livestreamed event including a theatrical performance and concert based on the The Children of Willesden Lane story. More than one million students across the world have experienced the Willesden READS program. During this special remote event, students will have opportunities to interact with the book's author, performer and virtuoso concert pianist Mona Golabek, who offers uplifting messages of resilience and hope for students at a time when they most need it.
In advance of the livestream event, educators are invited to participate in professional development, provided by Echoes & Reflections, to deepen understanding of the historical context of The Children of Willesden Lane books and to learn to incorporate companion resources found in IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation's educational website, into their teaching.
Watch this brief video to learn more about the Willesden READS Program.
Currently in the United States, 12 states mandate Holocaust education, 5 have permissive statutes (legislation that is not a requirement), 14 support a Holocaust education commission or taskforce, 4 have legislation pending, and 22 have no legislation regarding Holocaust education (note: some states may fall into multiple categories).
Tap the button below to review state legislation. Visit this page on desktop to explore an interactive map.
For questions, and for more information on our offerings and/or on Holocaust education in your state, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.