RESOURCE OVERVIEW
Echoes & Reflections is committed to partnering with educators in an effort to support them, foster confidence, and amplify the skills needed to teach about the Holocaust in a comprehensive and meaningful way. We’ve curated the following programs and materials to help initiate important discussions and respond to students’ difficult questions.
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: TEACHING ABOUT GENOCIDE
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: TEACHING ABOUT GENOCIDE
As students study the Holocaust, they frequently—and understandably—struggle with understanding not only how the Holocaust was able to happen, but also why and how genocide continues to occur in the world, and what has been, and can be, done to prevent such atrocities from occurring.

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?

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The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) provides a helpful rationale[1] that has informed the creation of this resource:

•   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.

[1] "Education Working Group Paper on the Holocaust and Other Genocides" (2010)



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WHAT IS GENOCIDE?


The most important first step is to define genocide. This video provides an overview of the legal definition of genocide, some historical examples and testimonies, and reasons why the study of genocide is relevant to students today.

 

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WHAT IS GENOCIDE?
HOW TO USE THIS RESOURCE
These materials are intended to give teachers a framework to teach about genocide in the context of their Holocaust education preparation and teaching. Resources include:
1 Glossary of Essential Terms: This resource includes definitions of essential terms to help frame an introduction to genocide, providing students with language to discuss complex issues associated with genocide. Many of these terms are also found in the Audio Glossary.
2 Examining the Stages of Genocide: The framework for this resource is Gregory Stanton’s “10 Stages of Genocide.” Each stage is defined, and accompanied by 2-3 testimony clips that illustrate each stage as it occurred in different genocides. Also included are “preventive measures” alongside the definition of each stage of genocide so students can see potential positive actions, as well as guiding questions to support learning and understanding.
3 Additional Resources: These resources are separated into three categories: resources for activism, resources for further study of genocide, and resources to learn more about specific cases of genocide. Note that what one defines as genocide can be highly controversial. The case studies included here are not meant to be a definitive list; rather, they are drawn from the testimonies in USC Shoah Foundation – the Institute for Visual History and Education’s archive.

Additional Considerations
• 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.
• To help guide lesson planning, consult Using Visual History in the Classroom, which provides guidance on effective classroom use of testimony.
• Teachers seeking a more comprehensive study of genocide through testimony are encouraged to explore full testimonies and other teaching materials available in IWitness.
• One of the biggest challenges in teaching about genocide is the upsetting nature of the material. As this is meant to be an introductory resource, the testimony clips included here avoid some of the most graphic descriptions of genocide.

GLOSSARY OF ESSENTIAL TERMS
This resource includes definitions of essential terms to help frame an introduction to genocide, providing students with language to discuss complex issues associated with genocide. Many of these terms are also found in the Audio Glossary.
antisemitism
Prejudice or discrimination against Jews. Antisemitism can be based on hatred against Jews because of their religious beliefs or their group membership (ethnicity), but also on the erroneous belief that Jews are a race. Nazi antisemitism was racial in nature; Jews were viewed as racially inferior to Aryans and destructive of the world order. —antisemitic adj.

bipolar societies
Societies that classify and divide groups of people, and lack mixed categories.

bystander
One who is present at an event or who knows about its occurrence without participating in it.

caricature
A representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.

collaboration
The act of working jointly; in the context of war, it is often the act of cooperating traitorously with an enemy that is occupying one's country. —collaborator n.

Convention on Genocide
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was among the first UN conventions addressing humanitarian issues. It was adopted in 1948 in response to the atrocities committed during World War II. Other laws, including the Geneva Conventions (below) and their Additional Protocols, add to the Convention on Genocide and form the core of international humanitarian law.

crimes against humanity
Acts of persecution against a group or groups so heinous as to warrant punishment under international law. The term was first used in the preamble of the Hague Convention of 1907 and subsequently used during the Nuremberg Trials as a charge for actions during World War II—actions that did not violate a specific treaty but were deemed to require punishment. The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court further defines war crimes and crimes against humanity as acts committed as a part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population.

dehumanization
As a political or social measure, dehumanization is intended to change the manner in which a person or group of people are perceived, reducing the target group to objects or beings not worthy of human rights.

discrimination
The denial of justice and fair treatment by both individuals and institutions in many arenas, including employment, education, housing, banking, and political rights. Discrimination is an action that can follow prejudicial thinking.

ethnic cleansing
The expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity.

Geneva Convention
An agreement accepted by most countries of the world that establishes standards for the reasonable treatment of soldiers, and other people involved, in periods of war.

genocide
The United Nations defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

hate crime
A criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

Lemkin, Raphael
Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) coined the word “genocide” before the world knew the horrors of the Holocaust. A Polish Jewish refugee, he was the man behind the first UN human rights treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

mass atrocities
Mass atrocities refer to the three legally defined international crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

perpetrator
Someone who does something that is morally wrong or criminal.

racism
The practice of discrimination, segregation, persecution, and domination of a group based on that group's race.

refugee
One who flees or is deported in search of safety, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.

resistance
• armed resistance: acts of opposition, defiance, or sabotage using weapons or including typical battles, attacks, or guerrilla strikes.
• cultural resistance: acts of opposition that are usually related to cultural traditions and the preservation of human dignity, intended to undermine an oppressor and inspire hope within the ranks of the resistors.
• spiritual resistance: acts of resistance aimed at preserving human dignity in dehumanizing conditions

responsibility to protect
(R2P or RtoP) is a global political commitment which, while not a binding treaty, was endorsed by all member states of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

scapegoat
To blame an individual or group for something based on that person or group's identity when, in reality, the person or group is not responsible. Prejudicial thinking and discriminatory acts can lead to scapegoating. The individual or group blamed is the "scapegoat."

stereotype
An oversimplified generalization about a person or group of people without regard for individual differences. Even seemingly positive stereotypes that link a person or group to a specific positive trait can have negative consequences.

war crimes
Crimes committed against an enemy, prisoners of war, or subjects in wartime that violate international agreements or, as in the case of genocide, are offenses against humanity.

xenophobia
A fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners.

EXAMINING THE STAGES OF GENOCIDE

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The framework below is based on the 10 Stages of Genocide, as defined by Gregory H. Stanton, originally presented as a briefing paper, “The Eight Stages of Genocide,” at the US State Department in 1996. “Discrimination” and “Persecution” were added later to the model. Dr. Stanton is the President of Genocide Watch, and Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at George Mason University in Virginia.

According to Stanton, “Genocide is a process that develops in ten stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it. The process is not linear. Stages may occur simultaneously. Logically, later stages must be preceded by earlier stages. But all stages continue to operate throughout the process.”[1]

There is a concise definition of each stage for ease in communication with students, followed by Stanton’s full definition, which also includes a suggested preventive measure. Teaching about genocide, just like teaching about the Holocaust specifically, provides an opportunity to engage students in deep reflection about choices made by individuals, governments, leaders, and larger societies at different points in time. Considering preventative measures is an important element to help students engage with the material.

To support this understanding, for each stage below, there are 2-3 testimonies from different genocides, including the Holocaust, to illustrate each stage. To help frame these testimonies, brief historical summary of genocide in Armenia, Cambodia, and Rwanda are included on the right here. For links to additional materials, visit the Additional Resources section.

Teaching about genocide can be complicated, and requires planning and sensitivity. Just like teaching about the Holocaust, providing historical context is a critical element. In reviewing these summaries, and other supporting information, affirm students’ understanding using some or all of the following questions:

• When and where did the events occur?
• Who were the victims?
• Who were the perpetrators?
• How was mass murder carried out?
• How did the international community respond?
• What happened in the aftermath?


  SUMMARY
Armenia Overview
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  SUMMARY
Cambodia Overview
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  SUMMARY
Rwanda Overview
View »

In reviewing each stage and viewing the accompanying testimonies, support students’ learning using some or all of the questions below. You may also use the Graphic Organizer, located to the right:

• How does the testimony best illustrate this stage?
• Often various stages happen simultaneously. Is there more than one stage represented in this particular testimony?
• Watch the testimony a second time. Were there any words or phrases that stood out?
• What values or points of view are represented or left out of this testimony?
• In what ways did the testimony illuminate specific aspects of this time period?

It is important that students are guided to consider the power and opportunity that individuals have to make a difference in the face of hatred and violence. This is one way to bring students “safely in and safely out” of their study of the Holocaust, genocide, and mass violence. Consider the following discussion points to support them in their learning and understanding:

• What do you think Dr. Stanton means when he writes that we “must not confuse any stage with a status”? Why is this an important distinction?
• What is the value to learning about the stages of genocide? How does this help in prevention, both in impacting individual behaviors as well as societal and governmental actions?
• Do you agree with Dr. Stanton that “Ultimately the best antidote to genocide is popular education and the development of social and cultural tolerance for diversity?” Why or why not?

As Polish Resistance fighter Jan Karski explains in his testimony (featured in this unit), “Great crimes start with little things. You don’t like your neighbor. You don’t like him because he’s black or yellow or café con leche or whatever it is. Avoid this. Try to cooperate. Don’t make distinctions.” As educators, teaching about genocide is one step to getting students to this ideal.


[1] http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocide/tenstagesofgenocide.html


  HANDOUT
10 Stages of Genocide Graphic Organizer
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1Classification

In this stage, people are divided into “us versus them.”

Stanton’s Full Definition: All cultures have categories to distinguish people into “us and them” by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality: German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi. Bipolar societies that lack mixed categories, such as Rwanda and Burundi, are the most likely to have genocide. The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend ethnic or racial divisions, that actively promote tolerance and understanding, and that promote classifications that transcend the divisions. The Catholic Church could have played this role in Rwanda, had it not been riven by the same ethnic cleavages as Rwandan society. Promotion of a common language in countries like Tanzania has also promoted transcendent national identity. This search for common ground is vital to early prevention of genocide.

  David Faber

  Danny Vong

2Symbolization

In this stage, there is a name or symbol for the classification, such as the yellow star as a Nazi symbol for Jewish people. When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of groups that are marginalized and made into pariahs.

Stanton’s Full Definition: We give names or other symbols to the classifications. We name people “Jews” or “Gypsies,” or distinguish them by colors or dress; and apply the symbols to members of groups. Classification and symbolization are universally human and do not necessarily result in genocide unless they lead to dehumanization. When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups: the yellow star for Jews under Nazi rule, the blue scarf for people from the Eastern Zone in Khmer Rouge Cambodia. To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally forbidden (swastikas) as can hate speech. Group markings like gang clothing or tribal scarring can be outlawed, as well. The problem is that legal limitations will fail if unsupported by popular cultural enforcement. Though Hutu and Tutsi were forbidden words in Burundi until the 1980’s, code words replaced them. If widely supported, however, denial of symbolization can be powerful, as it was in Bulgaria, where the government refused to supply enough yellow badges and at least eighty percent of Jews did not wear them, depriving the yellow star of its significance as a Nazi symbol for Jews.

  Jack Arnel

  Renata Adler

3Discrimination

In this stage, a dominant group uses law, custom, and political power to deny the rights of other groups. The powerless group may not be accorded full civil rights or even citizenship.

Stanton’s Full Definition: A dominant group uses law, custom, and political power to deny the rights of other groups. The powerless group may not be accorded full civil rights or even citizenship. Examples include the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 in Nazi Germany, which stripped Jews of their German citizenship, and prohibited their employment by the government and by universities. Denial of citizenship to the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma is another example. Prevention against discrimination means full political empowerment and citizenship rights for all groups in a society. Discrimination on the basis of nationality, ethnicity, race or religion should be outlawed. Individuals should have the right to sue the state, corporations, and other individuals if their rights are violated.

  Margaret Lambert

  Alice Shipley

4Dehumanization

In this stage, one group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases. At this stage, hate propaganda in print and other media is used to vilify the victim group.

Stanton’s Full Definition: One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases. Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion against murder. At this stage, hate propaganda in print and on hate radios is used to vilify the victim group. In combating this dehumanization, incitement to genocide should not be confused with protected speech. Genocidal societies lack constitutional protection for countervailing speech, and should be treated differently than democracies. Local and international leaders should condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and have their foreign finances frozen. Hate radio stations should be shut down, and hate propaganda banned. Hate crimes and atrocities should be promptly punished.

  Emmanuel Muhinda

  Emil Goldbarten

  Sara Pol-Lim

5Organization

In this stage, genocide is organized, often by the state. Sometimes organization is informal or decentralized. Special army units or militias are often trained and armed. Plans are made for genocidal killings.

Stanton’s Full Definition: Genocide is always organized, usually by the state, often using militias to provide deniability of state responsibility (e.g., the Janjaweed in Darfur.) Sometimes organization is informal (e.g., Hindu mobs led by local RSS militants) or decentralized (e.g., terrorist groups.) Special army units or militias are often trained and armed. Plans are made for genocidal killings. To combat this stage, membership in these militias should be outlawed. Their leaders should be denied visas for foreign travel. The United Nations
should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to investigate violations, as was done in post-genocide Rwanda.

  Carl Wilkens

  Phansy Peang

6Polarization

In this stage, extremists drive the groups apart with polarizing propaganda and laws that may forbid intermarriage or social interaction. Extremist terrorism targets moderates, intimidating and silencing the center.

Stanton’s Full Definition: Extremists drive the groups apart. Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda. Laws may forbid intermarriage or social interaction. Extremist terrorism targets moderates, intimidating and silencing the center. Moderates from the perpetrators’ own group are most able to stop genocide, so are the first to be arrested and killed. Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or assistance to human rights groups. Assets of extremists may be seized, and visas for international travel denied to them. Coups d’état by extremists should be opposed by international sanctions.

  Alphonse Kabalisa

  Barbara Fischman Traub

  Marion Pritchard

7Preparation

In this stage, national or perpetrator group leaders indoctrinate the populace with fear of the victim group and plan the extermination of that population. They often use euphemisms to cloak their intentions, such as referring to their goals as “ethnic cleansing,” “purification,” or “counter-terrorism.” They build armies, buy weapons, and train their troops and militias.

Stanton’s Full Definition: National or perpetrator group leaders plan the “Final Solution” to the Jewish, Armenian, Tutsi or other targeted group “question.” They often use euphemisms to cloak their intentions, such as referring to their goals as “ethnic cleansing,” “purification,” or “counter-terrorism.” They build armies, buy weapons and train their troops and militias. They indoctrinate the populace with fear of the victim group. Leaders often claim that “if we don’t kill them, they will kill us.” Prevention of preparation may include arms embargos and commissions to enforce them. It should include prosecution of incitement and conspiracy to commit genocide, both crimes under Article 3 of the Genocide Convention.

  Freddy Mutanguha

  Rose Apelian

8Persecution

In this stage, victims are identified and death lists are drawn up. Genocidal massacres begin.

Stanton’s Full Definition: Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity. Death lists are drawn up. In state-sponsored genocide, members of victim groups may be forced to wear identifying symbols. Their property is often expropriated. Sometimes they are even segregated into ghettoes, deported into concentration camps, or confined to a famine-struck region and starved. Genocidal massacres begin. They are acts of genocide because they intentionally destroy part of a group. At this stage, a Genocide Emergency must be declared. If the political will of the great powers, regional alliances, or the United Nations Security Council can be mobilized, armed international intervention should be prepared, or heavy assistance provided to the victim group to prepare for its self-defense. Humanitarian assistance should be organized by the U.N. and private relief groups for the inevitable tide of refugees to come.

  Howard Chandler

  Rose Burizihiza

  Yaakov Handeli

9  Extermination

In this stage, killing quickly becomes the mass killing legally called “genocide.” It is “extermination” to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human.

Stanton’s Full Definition: Extermination begins, and quickly becomes the mass killing legally called “genocide.” It is “extermination” to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human. When it is sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with militias to do the killing. Sometimes the genocide results in revenge killings by groups against each other, creating the downward whirlpool-like cycle of bilateral genocide (as in Burundi). At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be established with heavily armed international protection. (An unsafe “safe” area is worse than none at all.) The United Nations Standing High Readiness Brigade, EU Rapid Response Force, or regional forces — should be authorized to act by the United Nations Security Council if the genocide is small. For larger interventions, a multilateral force authorized by the United Nations should intervene. If the United Nations is paralyzed, regional alliances must act. It is time to recognize that the international responsibility to protect transcends the narrow interests of individual nation states. If strong nations will not provide troops to intervene directly, they should provide the airlift, equipment, and financial means necessary for regional states to intervene.

  Francoise Muteteli

  Elise Taft

  Ellis Lewin

10  Denial

The final stage is denial. It lasts throughout and always follows a genocide. The perpetrators of genocide deny that they committed any crimes, and try to cover up the evidence.

Stanton’s Full Definition: Denial is the final stage that lasts throughout and always follows a genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence, and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile. There they remain with impunity, like Pol Pot or Idi Amin, unless they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them. The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts. There the evidence can be heard, and the perpetrators punished. Tribunals like the Yugoslav or Rwanda Tribunals, or an international tribunal to try the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, or an International Criminal Court may not deter the worst genocidal killers. But with the political will to arrest and prosecute them, some may be brought to justice. The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts. Prevention begins with education and awareness.

  Brigitte Altman

  Emmanuel Muhinda

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