10 Holocaust Dates to Remember with Your Students in 2015

Echoes and Reflections Celebrates 10 Years

Echoes and Reflections celebrates 10 years of bringing sound instructional strategies and professional development in Holocaust education to teachers nationwide.


This NEW series of monthly posts provides 10 helpful resources and references for educators on a particular theme. Tell us your ideas and what would be helpful for you as a 10-themed post in 2015 at #10YearsofEchoes, Facebook, Twitter, or Email.

Commemorating significant moments in history is an opportunity for discussion in your classroom. Acknowledge these important dates, commemorations, and events in Holocaust history as a starting point for meaningful conversations with your students.

1. April 16, 2015: Yom Hashoah

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a solemn day of commemoration honoring the victims of the Holocaust.

Discussion Question: 70 years later, why is it still important to remember and commemorate the Holocaust?

2. April 19, 1943: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Begins

Of all the ghetto uprisings, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the largest, the longest, and the most influential. Use Lesson 6: Jewish Resistance to explore the many forms of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.

Discussion Question: In Lesson 6: Jewish Resistance, Roman Kent says, “Resistance does not have to be with a gun and a bullet…” Why do you think Roman felt it was important to help future generations understand that there were forms of resistance beyond armed resistance during the Holocaust?

3. April 30, 1940: 75th Anniversary of the Lodz Ghetto Being Sealed

Warsaw Ghetto residents being rounded up

Image from Warsaw Ghetto

Lodz was the second largest Jewish community in prewar Poland, second only to Warsaw. More than 150,000 Jews were forced to move into the Lodz ghetto, which was sealed on April 30, 1940, imprisoning all residents.

Discussion Question: How do the testimonies, photographs, and diary entries in Lesson 4: The Ghettos help you get a sense of daily life in the Lodz ghetto?

4. August 1, 1936: Olympic Games Begin in Berlin

Learn about the racial policies in Germany under the Nazis, as well as the personal stories of athletes who were affected by them in this IWitness Activity entitled, 1936 Olympics: Race, Politics & Civil Rights.

Discussion Question: Margaret Lambert, was chosen to compete in the 1936 Olympics but was dropped from the team because she was Jewish. How do you think this might have affected Margaret’s self esteem? How do people feel when they are excluded based on who they are or who others perceive them to be?

5. September 15, 1935: 80th Anniversary of the Enactment of the Nuremberg Laws

King-of-DenmarkThe Nuremberg Laws defined who was a Jew according to racial theory, banned marriage between Jews and non-Jews, and made Jews second-class citizens. Use What Rights are Most Important to Me? and the Pyramid of Hate in Lesson 3: Nazi Germany to help your students consider their own rights and values.

Discussion Question: In what ways does a national legal framework both help and hurt people?

6. October 5, 1938: Passports of Jews Marked with the letter “J”

One of the many steps taken to isolate Jews and distinguish them from mainstream society was to enact policies that made them stand out as different. One of those steps was to require Jewish people to be labeled with a “J” on their passports. Learn more about antisemitism and Nazi propaganda in Lesson 2: Antisemitism.

Discussion Question: How might forcing someone to be identified in a specific way affect him or her?

7. October 1-2, 1943: Danish Jews are Rescued

Until 1942, Denmark’s Jews were able to lead an unusually normal existence in comparison to Jews in other countries. When Berlin ordered the deportation of the 8,000 Danish Jews, secret plans were made for a rescue mission to take them out of the country. In Lesson 7: Rescuers and Non-Jewish Resistance, find resources for teaching the Rescue in Denmark.

Discussion Question: What kind of cultural and political systems should a nation create in order to be able to organize/participate in such a moral action?

8. November 9-10, 1938: Kristallnacht

Echoes and Reflections teacher, Jennifer Goss, writes about teaching Kristallnacht, “Night of the Broken Glass,” in her classroom. Use Lesson 1: Studying the Holocaust and the accompanying photographs to discuss this event with your students.

Discussion Question: How does Kurt Messerschmidt’s testimony help us consider the cost to a society when people do not speak out against injustice?

9. November 20, 1945: 70th Anniversary of the Nuremburg Trials

Nazis on Trial at Nuremberg

Twenty-one Nazi defendants in the
dock at the Nuremberg Trials (1945–1946)

The first international war crimes trial ever held began on November 20, 1945, in Nuremberg Germany, and lasted for eleven months. In Lesson 9: Perpetrators, Collaborators, and Bystanders read excerpts from the testimonies of Rudolf Hoess and Adolf Eichmann.

Discussion Question: What is the role of justice in a democratic society? What is the role of the individual?

10. January 27, 1945: 71st Anniversary of the Liberation from Auschwitz

The 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz in 2015 was recognized by commemorations across the globe. Resources from Echoes and Reflections and our Partners offer educators support when discussing this important day with students.

Discussion Question: What conflicting emotions might survivors have felt after liberation?

Visit the Echoes and Reflections website for a comprehensive Timeline of important dates associated with the Holocaust.