Resource Overview

Pedagogy for Instruction

Lesson Plans

I. Studying the Holocaust

II. Antisemitism

III. Nazi Germany

IV. The Ghettos

V. The “Final Solution”

VI. Liberation

VII. Jewish Resistance

VIII. Rescue and Righteous Among the Nations

IX. Complicity and Responsibility

X. Justice, Life, and Memory After the Holocaust

XI. Gringlas Unit on Contemporary Antisemitism


XII. Teaching About Genocide

Student Activities

Podcast for Students

Timeline of the Holocaust

Audio Glossary

Upper Elementary Guidelines


Schindler's List

Classroom Poster Series

We Share The Same Sky Companion Resource

TEACH

LESSON PLAN
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: LESSON PLANS
Our Lesson Plans provide a unique experience for educators to teach about the Holocaust effectively and interactively. The modular design of the lessons found within each unit allow for adaption and customization to specific grade levels and subject areas. The integration of rich content helps students construct an authentic and comprehensive portrait of the past as they frame their own thoughts about what they are learning, resulting in a deeper level of interest and inquiry. Each lesson includes:
  • Step-by-step procedures
  • Estimated completion time
  • Resources labeled by icons        direct teachers to the piece of content named in the procedures
  • Print-ready pages as indicated by  are available as PDFs for download
If you are new to teaching about the Holocaust, we encourage you to participate in one of our online course offerings to support instruction ahead. As well, for teachers with limited instructional time seeking a starting point, we offer a sample One Day Lesson Plan, as well as a sample Day Two Lesson Plan for a 2nd class period of instruction.
For more information, questions or concerns please contact us.
PEDAGOGY PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE HOLOCAUST INSTRUCTION

PEDAGOGICAL PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE HOLOCAUST INSTRUCTION



December 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, which depicts the true story of Oskar Schindler—a man who saved the lives of more than 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. It was Spielberg’s experience making this film that inspired him to collect and preserve the testimonies of over 54,000 Holocaust survivors and witnesses, a pursuit which ultimately led to the creation of what is now USC Shoah Foundation.

In honor of Universal Pictures’ rerelease of Schindler’s List, Echoes & Reflections has created a short, classroom-ready Companion Resource, that will help educators to provide important historical background and context to the film, as well as explore powerful true stories of rescue, survival, and resilience with their students.

Additionally, the following videos, recorded at Yad Vashem, feature Schindler survivors who speak of the impact Oskar Schindler had on their lives.


EVA LAVI TESTIMONY
Eva Lavi was the youngest survivor from Schindler’s list. She was two years old when the war began.
WATCH
EVA LAVI TESTIMONY
NAHUM & GENIA MANOR
Nahum Manor met and fell in love with his wife, Genia, in Schindler’s factory. Watch him read a letter at Schindler’s gravesite, expressing what he meant to them.
WATCH
NAHUM & GENIA MANOR




Visit the IWitness page commemorating the 25th anniversary of Schindler’s List for numerous additional resources to support teaching with this film.

CLASSROOM POSTER SERIES
INSPIRING THE HUMAN STORY
Echoes & Reflections is excited to announce that our poster series: Inspiring the Human Story, is now available in PDF format, free of cost.

The posters feature the powerful words and experiences of Holocaust survivor and memoirist Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor Kurt Messerschmidt, and Anne Frank rescuer, Miep Gies. Each poster promotes meaningful conversation and reflection in the classroom, whether in person or in a virtual setting, and inspires students with powerful human stories of the Holocaust that can continue to guide agency and action as a result of studying this topic.

To support you in these efforts, we have also compiled several suggested classroom activities from teachers in our network that may be of use and interest.



Please fill out the form below to access and download your PDF posters.

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY

USC Shoah Foundation’s first podcast, We Share The Same Sky, seeks to brings the past into present through a granddaughter’s decade-long journey to retrace her grandmother’s story of survival. We Share The Same Sky tells the two stories of these women—the grandmother, Hana, a refugee who remained one step ahead of the Nazis at every turn, and the granddaughter, Rachael, on a search to retrace her grandmother’s history.



A self-portrait of Rachael while she is living on a Danish farm that is owned by the granddaughter of Hana’s foster mother from World War II. Photo by Rachael Cerrotti, 2017

In order to enhance its classroom use, USC Shoah Foundation and Echoes & Reflections have created a Companion Educational Resource to support teachers as they introduce the podcast to their students. This document provides essential questions for students, as well as additional resources and content to help build context and framing for students’ understanding of the historical events addressed in the podcast.

Access to the podcast, as well as additional supporting materials—including IWitness student activities, academic standards alignment, and general strategies for teaching with podcasts—can all be found at the We Share The Same Sky page in IWitness.

Note: Due to the subject nature, the podcast is appropriate for older students, grades 10-12. As always, teachers should review the content fully in advance to determine its appropriateness for their student population.



After many years of research and digitizing the archive her grandmother left behind, Rachael set out to retrace her grandmother’s 17 years of statelessness. Her intention was to travel via the same modes of transportation and to live similar style lives as to what her grandmother did during the war and in the years after. That meant that when she got to Denmark, she moved to a farm. Rachael moved in with the granddaughter of her grandmother’s foster mother from World War II and traded her labor for room and board as Hana once did. This picture is from that first visit in the winter of 2015. Since this time, Rachael has spent many more months living on this farm. It is owned by Sine Christiansen and her family. Sine is the granddaughter of Jensine, one Hana’s foster mother from World War II. Photo by Rachael Cerrotti, 2015


A self portrait of Rachael overlooking the exact spot in Southern Sweden where her grandmother’s refugee boat came to shore in 1943. Photo by Rachael Cerrotti, 2016


  ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME

60-90 minutes

LESSON 2: What do Genocides Destroy?


Introduction  

This lesson introduces students to the people before they became victims of genocide. It highlights their interests, hopes, dreams, and humanity. This glimpse into their worlds allows students to see them as individuals, creating empathy and deepening understanding of the diversity of life in their respective countries. At the end of the lesson, students begin to examine the chasms that existed in society and the small but meaningful ways in which these groups were vulnerable to ostracization and acts of discrimination.

1Students learn that victims of genocide do not live their lives in the shadow of the impending catastrophe. They are people with various interests, values, hobbies, jobs, who seek to live fulfilling lives. They don’t know what is to happen in their futures. Students are introduced to two survivors of different genocides, Armenian survivor [L]Jirayr Zorthian[/L], and Tutsi survivor [L]Live Wesige[/L], and watch their testimonies. As they watch the clips, students take notes on the Life Before Genocide Graphic Organizer.
  JIRAYR ZORTHIAN
  LIVE WESIGE
2In small groups, students read the handout, Life Before Genocide, and complete the Life Before Genocide Graphic Organizer and discuss the questions at the bottom.

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Life Before Genocide Graphic Organizer View More »

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Life Before Genocide View More »
3Students participate in a whole class discussion, sharing their reflections from the victims and discussing the following questions:
  • Why is it important to learn about the lives of victims of genocide before they became victims?
  • How can understanding who these people were help us to recognize the magnitude of genocide and the total rupture it causes to victim groups?
4Students learn that even before genocide occurs, there is often an undercurrent within the respective societies that seeks to ostracize victim groups in small but meaningful ways that helps foment the genocide, including overt and sometimes violent actions.
5Students learn that a stereotype is “an oversimplified generalization about a person or group of people without regard for individual differences.” In small groups, students identify different stereotypes they have observed and experienced. Then, they discuss the following questions:  
  • Thinking about the examples the group identified, who were the actors in these scenarios? What roles were played by them? How does each actor, including those who chose to do nothing, inflict harm on the victim?
  • Why are stereotypes dangerous? What is the connection between the acceptance of stereotypes and prejudice?
  • Why do individuals who are perceived as different become targets of ridicule and hatred?

  NOTE
View More »
6Students watch the testimonies of [L]David Faber[/L], [L]Sara Pol-Lim[/L], and [L]Kizito Kalima[/L]. As they watch the clips, students take notes on the Testimony Reflections handout. After viewing the clips, the class discusses the following questions:
  DAVID FABER
  SARA POL-LIM
  KIZITO KALIMA

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Testimony Reflections View More »
  • How was each person ostracized? How were the differences, real or imagined, of each person emphasized in order to separate them from the larger group? How did that make them feel?
  • How did the actions of others, including neighbors and people in authority, contribute to the isolation of the victims?
  • How did the schools, communities, and society as a whole suffer from the exclusion of the victim groups? What was lost by rejecting them?
7Students are informed that victims of persecution were often marked to further separate them from larger society. Jews had been marked in different ways over thousands of years, and during the Holocaust, some were forced to wear the Star of David on their clothes. In pairs or triads, students analyze the artwork, Yellow, 1962-2006, by Samuel Bak.

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Yellow, 1962-2006 View More »
  • What do you see in the artwork? How does Bak use color and texture to convey his feelings about being forced to wear the Yellow Star?
  • What is the tone of the artwork? What are some emotions the artist is conveying?
  • Connect this artwork to the testimonies of David, Sara, and Kizito. How does this work of art expand our understanding of the pain felt by groups that are ostracized from their communities?


  ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME

60-90 minutes

LESSON 2: What do Genocides Destroy?


Introduction  

This lesson introduces students to the people before they became victims of genocide. It highlights their interests, hopes, dreams, and humanity. This glimpse into their worlds allows students to see them as individuals, creating empathy and deepening understanding of the diversity of life in their respective countries. At the end of the lesson, students begin to examine the chasms that existed in society and the small but meaningful ways in which these groups were vulnerable to ostracization and acts of discrimination.

1Students learn that victims of genocide do not live their lives in the shadow of the impending catastrophe. They are people with various interests, values, hobbies, jobs, who seek to live fulfilling lives. They don’t know what is to happen in their futures. Students are introduced to two survivors of different genocides, Armenian survivor [L]Jirayr Zorthian[/L], and Tutsi survivor [L]Live Wesige[/L], and watch their testimonies. As they watch the clips, students take notes on the Life Before Genocide Graphic Organizer.
  JIRAYR ZORTHIAN
  LIVE WESIGE
2In small groups, students read the handout, Life Before Genocide, and complete the Life Before Genocide Graphic Organizer and discuss the questions at the bottom.

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Life Before Genocide Graphic Organizer View More »

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Life Before Genocide View More »
3Students participate in a whole class discussion, sharing their reflections from the victims and discussing the following questions:
  • Why is it important to learn about the lives of victims of genocide before they became victims?
  • How can understanding who these people were help us to recognize the magnitude of genocide and the total rupture it causes to victim groups?
4Students learn that even before genocide occurs, there is often an undercurrent within the respective societies that seeks to ostracize victim groups in small but meaningful ways that helps foment the genocide, including overt and sometimes violent actions.
5Students learn that a stereotype is “an oversimplified generalization about a person or group of people without regard for individual differences.” In small groups, students identify different stereotypes they have observed and experienced. Then, they discuss the following questions:  
  • Thinking about the examples the group identified, who were the actors in these scenarios? What roles were played by them? How does each actor, including those who chose to do nothing, inflict harm on the victim?
  • Why are stereotypes dangerous? What is the connection between the acceptance of stereotypes and prejudice?
  • Why do individuals who are perceived as different become targets of ridicule and hatred?

  NOTE
View More »
6Students watch the testimonies of [L]David Faber[/L], [L]Sara Pol-Lim[/L], and [L]Kizito Kalima[/L]. As they watch the clips, students take notes on the Testimony Reflections handout. After viewing the clips, the class discusses the following questions:
  DAVID FABER
  SARA POL-LIM
  KIZITO KALIMA

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Testimony Reflections View More »
  • How was each person ostracized? How were the differences, real or imagined, of each person emphasized in order to separate them from the larger group? How did that make them feel?
  • How did the actions of others, including neighbors and people in authority, contribute to the isolation of the victims?
  • How did the schools, communities, and society as a whole suffer from the exclusion of the victim groups? What was lost by rejecting them?
7Students are informed that victims of persecution were often marked to further separate them from larger society. Jews had been marked in different ways over thousands of years, and during the Holocaust, some were forced to wear the Star of David on their clothes. In pairs or triads, students analyze the artwork, Yellow, 1962-2006, by Samuel Bak.

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Yellow, 1962-2006 View More »
  • What do you see in the artwork? How does Bak use color and texture to convey his feelings about being forced to wear the Yellow Star?
  • What is the tone of the artwork? What are some emotions the artist is conveying?
  • Connect this artwork to the testimonies of David, Sara, and Kizito. How does this work of art expand our understanding of the pain felt by groups that are ostracized from their communities?


  ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME

120-150 minutes

LESSON 3: How do Genocides Destroy?


Introduction  

In this lesson, students are confronted with the escalation of hate, which when left unchecked, can lead to the conflagration of genocide. Students are to consider the power of the media and propaganda to ignite pre-existing hatreds, dehumanize the victims, and encourage average citizens and neighbors to turn against their fellow persons. Teachers should exercise caution in examining the hate speech that was used to persuade and mobilize the masses so as not to cause harm nor foster similar hatreds in their students. Finally, students confront the horrors of genocide and how, even amidst extreme persecution, victims struggled to maintain their humanity.

PART ONE: THE ESCALATION OF HATE
 
1Students are informed that they will learn about the escalation of hate, the impact that the leaders of governments have on inciting genocide, the power of the media to carry that message, and the fertile ground that makes the public receptive to these messages of hate. In pairs or small groups, students read the handout, Dangerous Policies of Genocidal Regimes, and answer the questions that follow.

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Dangerous Policies of Genocidal Regimes View More »
2Students watch the video, Words that Kill, which talks about the power of propaganda and the radio to incite genocide in Nazi Germany and Rwanda. Next, the class discusses the following questions:


  IWITNESS ACTIVITY
Using Media Literacy Skills to Examine the Holocaust
here »
  • What did you expect to see in the video? What surprised you?

  • What were some of the techniques those in power used to make the radio a powerful tool to spread propaganda?

  • How can the repeating messages of hate, occurring every day and in every place, affect the beliefs of individuals, groups, and nations?

  • What are some of the important lessons about propaganda, the power of media, and the role of hate speech to incite genocide that are found in this video?


3Students examine the images in the Examples of Propaganda handout. In pairs, students discuss the following questions:

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Examples of Propaganda View More »
  • What do you see in each image? What is the propagandist trying to make viewers feel?
  • Why is the concept of a parasite or something that can make us sick a common propaganda technique? How does that stoke fear in a population?
  • How did propaganda messages like these and stereotypes used by the perpetrators dehumanize their victims? What might have been the effects of such dehumanization for both individuals and victim communities?
4Students watch the testimonies of [L]Marion Pritchard[/L], [L]Freddy Mutanguha[/L], and [L]Arshag Dickranian[/L]. As they watch the clips, students take notes on the Testimony Reflections handout. After viewing the clips, the class discusses the following questions:
  MARION PRITCHARD
  FREDDY MUTANGUHA
  ARSHAG DICKRANIAN

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Testimony Reflections View More »
  • How was the life of Marion, a non-Jew, changed by the anti-Jewish measures that the Nazis had implemented?

  • What were the effects of seeing the Nazi propaganda film, The Eternal Jew, and what does Marion advise on the power of propaganda?

  • What effect does it have when people in positions of authority (teachers, police) allow for discrimination, harassment, and violent actions against a victim group?

  • How do these acts of perpetration and acceptance within society embolden others to act in similar or even more brutal ways?


5As a summative task, students write a brief journal entry reflecting on this quote from Marion: “It shows that even with people who want to resist propaganda, it still has an effect.”
PART TWO: THE CONFLAGRATION
 
6Students watch the testimonies of [L]Freddy Mutanguha[/L], [L]Elise Taft[/L], [L]Barbara Fischman Traub[/L], and [L]Theary Seng[/L] and are confronted by the knowledge that genocide is often perpetrated by neighbors and those once considered friends. Discuss some or all of the following questions:
  FREDDY MUTANGUHA
  ELISE TAFT
  BARBARA FISCHMAN TRAUB
  THEARY SENG
  • What are some of the emotions, voice intonations, and body language cues that you noticed in the clips? Why are these cues an important part of understanding and fostering empathy with the survivors?
  • Based on their actions, the neighbors knew what was happening or even participated. In each scenario, describe what the neighbors were doing and the effect it had on the individuals who were targeted.
  • How is genocide often a very personal and intimate experience for the victims? Does this surprise you? How does it affect your understanding of how genocides are perpetrated?
7In small groups, students review, discuss, and complete the Photographic Case Study Graphic Organizer about The Conflagration in Photos handout. Students thoroughly analyze each photograph, one photo at a time. When finished, each photo is projected, students review their completed graphic organizers, and discuss the following questions: 

  NOTE
View More »
  STUDENT HANDOUT
Photographic Case Study Graphic Organizer View More »
  STUDENT HANDOUT
The Conflagration in Photos View More »
  • What is the tone(s) of the photograph? How would you describe the conditions endured by the people in the photograph?
  • What do you notice about the faces, disposition, and body language of the people in the photographs?
  • How do these photos help you understand the suffering of the people?
  • How can these photos help you understand the tragedy of genocide?
8In small groups, students examine the Humanity in Artifacts handout and complete the questions found in the Artifact Reflection handout.

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Humanity in Artifacts View More »
  STUDENT HANDOUT
Artifact Reflection View More »
9As a summative task, students discuss the following questions together:
  • How do the testimony, photographs, and artifacts help us better understand what happened to the victims of genocide?
  • Why is it important to affirm the humanity of the victims?
  • How does this approach help us better understand the loss, resistance, and resilience experienced by the victim group?


  ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME

60-90 minutes

LESSON 4: Aftermath


Introduction  

This lesson considers what happens after a genocide has occurred. There is no blueprint of how to respond to genocide but after each of the genocides explored in this unit, there were criminal trials against some of the perpetrators. These trials brought various levels of justice and accountability, while collecting vast amounts of documentation. Students are introduced to the concept of denying a genocide, even against the factual documentation. Next, students will explore the roles of memorials and museums to create and protect the legacy of a genocide. Lastly, students are then asked to reflect on what they have learned and why it is important to study genocide.

1Students watch the testimonies of [L]Freddy Mutanguha[/L] and [L]Theary Seng[/L]. Then, students discuss the following questions:
  FREDDY MUTANGUHA
  THEARY SENG
  • Why are trials and legal proceedings an important aspect of preserving testimony, documentation, and proof that the genocide in question occurred?

  • How do these legal proceedings help us understand what happened after a genocide occurs?

  • How do you think Freddy, Theary, and others feel about the ability to document officially what happened while also seeking justice from the perpetrators?

  • Freddy describes his testimony in the courts as an obligation. What does this mean? Why is this so important to him?

  • Theary talks about how justice is not just legal or for a certain amount of time, like the length of a trial. What does that mean? Do you agree? What other aspects of justice do survivors of genocide pursue?


2Students learn that often the last stage of genocide is denial. Today, there are many people who deny the Holocaust as well as many that deny the Armenian Genocide, including in official statements by the Republic of Türkiye. Students view the video, Holocaust Denial, Explained and the testimony of [L]Haigas Bonapart[/L].   In small groups, students discuss the following questions:
  HAIGAS BONAPART

  NOTE
View More »

Students learn that often the last stage of genocide is denial. Today, there are many people who deny the Holocaust as well as many that deny the Armenian Genocide, including in official statements by the Republic of Türkiye. Students view the video, Holocaust Denial, Explained and the testimony of Haigas Bonapart (bio) .   In small groups, students discuss the following questions:

  • Why do you think the final stage of genocide is denial? Why would perpetrators seek to deny a genocide? Why would people decades later continue to deny?
  • How does denial affect the victim survivors of genocide? How does this action of denial continue to harm victims and all of society?
  • What are some ways we can combat denial and the weaponization of lies?
3Students watch the testimony of [L]Brigitte Altman[/L]. The handout, Memorials and Museums of Genocide is distributed and students complete the Memorials and Museums Graphic Organizer in small groups. After they complete the graphic organizer, students discuss the following questions:
  BRIGITTE ALTMAN

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Memorials and Museums of Genocide View More »
  STUDENT HANDOUT
Memorials and Museums Graphic Organizer View More »
  • How do these sites of honor, remembrance, and education impact individuals and society?

  • Why do we have to remember or understand the past in order to move into the present/future, and what does it mean to confront history?

  • Why is the commemoration of genocide an important part of working towards justice and a better society?

  • Will learning about, remembering, and commemorating genocide help prevent future genocides? Why or why not?


4As a summative task, students watch the testimony of [L]Jan Karski[/L]. Students reflect on his testimony and what they have learned by responding to these questions in a journal entry and then discussing them with a partner or as a whole class:
  JAN KARSKI
  • Jan Karski states that “great crimes start with little things” and then goes on to give examples of things people should not do. How does the memory of genocide inspire us to oppose the little things Karski warns us about?
  • What from this brief study of genocide will you remember most and why? What are you curious to learn more about?
  • Why is studying genocide important? What lessons can be learned from studying genocides?
MAKING CONNECTIONS  

The ideas below are offered as ways to extend the lessons in this unit and make connections to related historical events, current issues, and students’ own experiences. These topics can be integrated directly into Echoes & Reflections lessons, used as stand-alone teaching ideas, or investigated by students engaged in project-based learning.

View More +
1Raphael Lemkin spent his life advocating for the concept of genocide to be accepted and codified into international law. He believed that belonging to a group was an essential way of identity and that the destruction of a social group is a societal evil. He argued that genocides had changed the course of human history by eradicating cultures, peoples, and forcing mass migrations. Watch this trailer from the movie about his life, Watchers of the Sky, and conduct further research into the life of Lemkin. Examine the use of the word genocide since he coined the term and investigate its misuse/appropriation.
2Students research local museums and create a multimedia presentation analyzing the role of museums in honoring, remembering, and educating the population about genocide, human rights violations, and other aspects of social justice.
3Visit IWitness (iwitness.usc.edu) to access additional testimonies, resources, an learning activities about the genocides discussed in this unit as well as additional genocides and mass atrocities, including the Anti-Rohingya Mass Violence, the South Sudan Civil War, and the Guatemalan Genocide.
4Students watch Eva’s Stories and write an essay about the life of Eva Heyman. Students should analyze the artistic decision to use Instagram to tell her story and whether it is appropriate to use this platform for this topic. Students should also explore the role of different mediums to tell the human story of genocide and the advantages and disadvantages to these artistic expressions.
5Students create a poster or other large visual about a genocide answering the following questions and share with their classmates and the larger school community:
  • Who were the victims before the genocide?
  • How were they discriminated against, dehumanized, and persecuted?
  • What happened to them? Who were the perpetrators and how did they commit genocide against the victims?
  • What could have been done by individuals, groups, and nations to impede or stop the genocide before or during it?
  • How is the genocide remembered and memorialized today?
6Students are confronted with Official Government Correspondences that show knowledge of genocide by leaders who then failed to take action to prevent or stop a genocide from occurring. Students should utilize Echoes & Reflections Timeline of the Holocaust with the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum’s History Unfolded project to research how certain events were reported in their local newspapers. Students contemplate how genocide can be prevented, from individuals to groups to country leaders to foreign nations. What are some actions students can take to bring humanity closer to the promise of “Never Again”?

  STUDENT HANDOUT
Official Government Correspondences View More »
KEY WORDS
TITLE
PHOTO
LEFT COL
RIGHT COL
top
bottom
left
right
left
right