Index > Lesson 1: Making Connections

Making Connections

The additional activities and projects listed below can be integrated directly into the lesson or can be used to extend the lesson once it has been completed. The topics lend themselves to students’ continued study of the Holocaust as well as opportunities for students to make meaningful connections to other people and events, including relevant contemporary issues. These activities may include instructional strategies and techniques and/or address academic standards in addition to those that were identified for the lesson.

  1. Visit IWitness ( for activities specific to Lesson 1: Studying the Holocaust.
  2. Have each student or pairs of students prepare a list of three to five questions that they would like to ask Kurt Messerschmidt after listening to his clip of testimony. After developing the questions, students should go to Kurt’s Biographical Profile and see if the answers to their questions are included in the text. If unable to answer all of their questions from the Biographical Profile, have students go to IWitness ( and identify clips of testimony from Kurt’s full testimony that may help answer the questions.
  3. If the class has a dedicated classroom wiki, have one of the students volunteer to pose a question to the group based on what was covered in this lesson and have other students respond. Another option would be for students to start a wiki based on Kurt Messerschmidt’s testimony and his decision “not to be silent” in the face of injustice. Students could then contribute to the discussion; add stories, videos, etc. As the class continues its study of the Holocaust, different students could take a leadership role in posting new material and questions and inviting others to respond.
  4. Instruct students to gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources about a recent catastrophe (either human or natural), including both primary sources (e.g., an interview) and secondary sources (e.g., a news report) regarding the event. Students should then write an informational essay that introduces the topic, compares and contrasts the information gathered from various sources, and explain how, if at all, the use of both types of sources led to a more complete understanding of the event.
  5. Have students research how the Kristallnacht Pogrom was covered in media, especially newspapers, in their state, city, or town. After gathering relevant information, instruct students to develop an argument to support or refute the idea that this event was accurately covered and reported to the public. [Note: If unable to locate local or state coverage of the Kristallnacht Pogrom, research how this historical event was covered in national or international media.] Have students prepare a written or oral summary of their findings and conclusions.
  6. As an alternative to the activity above, have students research how editorial/political cartoonists in major national and international newspapers reacted to the events of the Kristallnacht Pogrom. Have students develop a PowerPoint or cloud-based presentation (e.g., Prezi), a written report, or decide on another format to present their work. Their presentations should include examples of political cartoons published following the Kristallnacht Pogrom, information about how people responded to the cartoons if possible, as well as their interpretations of the cartoons and what they learned from studying them.