10 Ways to Integrate Art and Support Student Learning


Each entry in this series of monthly posts provides 10 helpful resources and references for educators about a particular theme. Tell us your ideas for more posts like this one at #10YearsofEchoes, Facebook, Twitter, or Email.

Examining art encourages students to connect both academically and emotionally to people’s experiences during the Holocaust. The following resources support the integration of art into the study of the Holocaust in your classrooms and include artistic works available from the Echoes and Reflections Teachers Resource Guide, additional resources from Yad Vashem, and more.


Tolkatchev piece titled: Appell,1944

Zinovii Tolkatchev: Appell, 1944

Echoes and Reflections

Utilize Lesson 5: The “Final Solution” to facilitate student exploration of art and its significance in gaining a deeper understanding of the Holocaust.

1. Learn about Zinovii Tolkatchev, an artist born in 1903 in Belarussia, and examine his piece, Appell, 1944. As an official artist of the Red Army he joined with Soviet forces in liberating concentration camps.

2. Thousands of pieces from professional and amateur artists documenting what people saw and experienced during the Holocaust were discovered in ghettos and camps after liberation. Utilize Making Connections from Lesson 5: The “Final Solution” (Teachers Resource Guide, p131) to facilitate in-depth student research on artists from the Holocaust.


Utilize Lesson 9: Perpetrators, Collaborators, and Bystanders, and the following works of art to guide a discussion on the role of bystanders and consider our modern day responsibility to provide a safe haven for refugees.

Portraits of an Unidentified Man by Nussbaum

Felix Nussbaum: Portrait of an Unidentified Man

3. Examine Felix Nussbaum’s, The Refugee, and consider what the artist was attempting to say to the world through this work.

4. Examine Nussbaum’s, Portrait of an Unidentified Man. Discuss what is being portrayed and consider the context for this piece

5. Utilize Nussbaum’s piece, Shore at Rapallo to encourage students to consider the difference between the artists earlier and later works.

6. Introduce students to Samuel Bak, and show the painting Thou Shalt Not Kill. What was the artist trying to say to the world through this work?


Resources from Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem’s Art Museum is home to the largest and most wide-ranging Holocaust art collection in the world. It is comprised of more than 10,000 works, mostly from the Holocaust period.

Felix Nussbaum's piece titled Shore at the Rapallo

Felix Nussbaum: Shore at Rapallo

7. Visit the online exhibition, “Private Tolkatchev at the Gates of Hell – Majdanek and Auschwitz Liberated: Testimony of an Artist”, to deepen the exploration of Tolkatchev’s work started with Lesson 5: The “Final Solution.”

8. Visit the online exhibitions “An Arduous Road – Samuel Bak: 60 Years of Creativity” and “Felix Nussbaum: Self Portraits of a Jew in Turmoil” to learn more about the artists featured in Lesson 9: Perpetrators, Collaborators, and Bystanders. View their biographies, family photos, numerous works, and reflections on survival.

9. Explore the Yad Vashem Art Museum for additional resources and exhibitions to support the integration of art into the study of the Holocaust. Recommended collections include: “The Anguish of Liberation as Reflected in Art 1945-1947,”, “The Pen and the Sword: Jewish Artist and Partisan Alexander Bogen,” and “Life or Theatre? The German – Jewish Artist Charlotte Salomon.”

Samuel Bak's piece Thou Shalt Not Kill

Samuel Bak: Thou Shalt Not Kill


Special Program

10. Each year, Echoes and Reflections supports the Chapman University Art and Writing Contest, which highlights art as a meaningful component for understanding the Holocaust. Read about last year’s competition and consider participating in 2016.