8 Resources for Teachers: Preparing for Human Rights and Genocide Awareness Month
The month of April, Human Rights and Genocide Awareness Month, offers important opportunities to teach students about genocide and genocide prevention. The following resources support educators in introducing students to this complex subject and guiding the conversation for understanding its implication in our world today. Utilize these resources and inspire students to take action toward building a better future.
- Lesson 1: Studying the Holocaust, Part 1: Human Catastrophes – Introduce students to the study of genocide and examine the differences between natural and human catastrophes.
- Utilize Making Connections – #4 from Lesson 1: Studying the Holocaust – Guide students in gathering information about a recent human catastrophe. Have them demonstrate their understanding of the event and the factors that led up to it.
- Read Reverend Martin Niemoller’s quotation from Part 3 of Lesson 3: Nazi Germany in the Echoes and Reflections Teacher’s Resource Guide:
“In Germany, the Nazis came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me… and by that time there was no one left to speak up.”
Refer to Making Connections – #3 to inspire students’ critical thinking of this passage.
- Lesson 10: The Children, Part 2: Genocides after the Holocaust, and Part 3: Could It Happen Again? – Using the Echoes and Reflections Teachers Resource Guide, guide students in examining post-Holocaust genocides and considering why these atrocities continue to occur.
Hear from Leo Bach, Holocaust survivor, as he expresses his despondency over the inaction of humanity regarding genocides and war crimes. He shares, “Humanity must find some way to stop this.”
- Hear from Jan Karski, Rescue and Aid Provider, as he shares his perspective on the myths of national, ethnic, and racial superiority as pretexts to great crimes. He begins, “Great crimes start with little things…”
- Visit IWitness and the USC Shoah Foundation – Institute for Visual History and Education, to hear additional testimony from survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust, the Genocide Against the Tutsis in Rwanda, the Armenian Genocide, the Cambodian Genocide, and more.
- Utilize Making Connections – #4 and #5 from Lesson 9: Perpetrators, Collaborators, and Bystanders to explore the role of media in shaping our understanding of the Holocaust, other genocides, and current events. Learn more about the ambitious justice system put into place following the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis in Rwanda that placed the country on a path towards reconciliation and recovery.