- Step-by-step procedures
- Estimated completion time
- Resources labeled by icons direct teachers to the piece of content named in the procedures
- Print-ready pages as indicated by are available as PDFs for download
In honor of Universal Pictures’ rerelease of Schindler’s List, Echoes & Reflections has created a short, classroom-ready Companion Resource, that will help educators to provide important historical background and context to the film, as well as explore powerful true stories of rescue, survival, and resilience with their students.
Additionally, the following videos, recorded at Yad Vashem, feature Schindler survivors who speak of the impact Oskar Schindler had on their lives.
EVA LAVI TESTIMONY
NAHUM & GENIA MANOR
The posters (each 24’x 36’), feature the words and experiences of Holocaust survivor and memoirist Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor Kurt Messerschmidt, and Anne Frank rescuer, Miep Gies. Each promotes meaningful conversation and reflection in the classroom and inspires students with powerful human stories of the Holocaust that can continue to guide and inform their steps forward.
To support you in these efforts, we have also compiled several suggested classroom activities from teachers in our network that may be of use and interest.
Order your set today at no cost!
Please note: In order to reach the maximum number of teachers with this limited opportunity, we are only able to provide one poster set per teacher. Additionally, we are only able to send poster sets to US addresses.
USC Shoah Foundation’s Podcast for the Middle and High School Classroom
We Share The Same Sky, USC Shoah Foundation’s first podcast, brings the past into our present through a granddaughter’s decade-long journey to retrace her grandmother’s story of survival.
In 2009, Rachael Cerrotti asked her grandmother a question: Will you tell me your story? Rachael was a college student and her grandmother, Hana, was 84 years old—the matriarch of one family and the sole survivor of another. For the following year, Rachael recorded the details of her grandmother’s childhood, her escape from war and her immigration to the United States. After Hana’s death in 2010, Rachael became entrenched in her grandmother’s story, digitizing Hana’s personal archive of diaries, photo albums, immigration papers and more. When the digitizing felt nearly complete, she went out to retrace the history. Along the way, Rachael fell so deep into her grandmother’s life that it became the foundation of her own.
We Share The Same Sky tells the two stories of these young women—Hana as a refugee who remains one step ahead of the Nazis at every turn, and Rachael on a search to retrace her grandmother’s history. The seven-part series explores how the retelling of family stories becomes history itself and how acts of kindness during war can echo across generations.
Listen to We Share The Same Sky on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and most podcast streaming services, as well as on the We Share The Same Sky page in IWitness.
To support its classroom use, USC Shoah Foundation and Echoes & Reflections have created a Companion Educational Resource to support teachers as they introduce the podcast with their students.
Additional supporting materials, including IWitness student activities, academic standards alignment, and general strategies for teaching with podcasts can all be found at the We Share The Same Sky page in IWitness.
- KURT MESSERSCHMIDT, JEWISH SURVIVOR
Below is information to keep in mind when teaching the content in this unit. This material is intended to help teachers consider the complexities of teaching about the Holocaust and to deliver accurate and sensitive instruction.
This unit provides an opportunity for students to discuss the value and importance of studying human catastrophes, in general, and the Holocaust, in particular. The lesson also provides an opportunity for students to consider the importance of examining both primary and secondary source materials when studying historical events and to begin to develop a common vocabulary for studying the Holocaust and other genocides.
ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME
Defining Terms for Studying the Holocaust
|1||Begin this lesson by writing the word “catastrophe” on the board or on chart paper. Ask students to define the term and identify what factors they believe make an event a catastrophe. Have students give examples of both natural and human catastrophes. Chart student responses. For example:|
|2||Discuss the difference between natural and human catastrophes. Emphasize that natural catastrophes are most often out of people’s control, whereas human catastrophes are the direct result of actions that people take.|
|3||Divide the class into pairs or small groups and have each group select a recorder. Instruct students to answer the following questions:|
|4||Have each group select a reporter to share its ideas with the whole group. [Optional: Chart responses on the board or on chart paper.]|
|5||Explain to students that they will be studying about a time in history in which a great human catastrophe occurred. This catastrophe, the Holocaust (in Hebrew, Shoah), is the name given for the murder of some six million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. See corresponding Note for additional background. After reviewing the background information, have students volunteer possible reasons why this period of history is studied. Encourage students to consider that this period of history is studied because it is an important part of world history and because many of the underlying causes and effects of the Holocaust have had a profound influence on later historical events.|
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|6||Distribute or display the definitions of the Holocaust handout used by three different organizations. Review the definitions with students, analyzing the cumulative impact of specific word choices. Have students compare and contrast the definitions and consider possible reasons why the definitions are not all exactly the same. [Optional: Divide the class into three groups and provide each group with one of the definitions to study. Follow with each group sharing its findings and then have students compare and contrast the definitions.]|
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Holocaust Definitions View More »
|7||Write the word “genocide” on the board or on chart paper. Ask students for their thoughts on what the word means or in what context/s they have heard the word used. Ask students for examples of genocides based on material they may have studied in other classes or know from current events (e.g., Native Americans, Armenians, Tutsi, Darfurians).|
|8||Inform students that the United Nations has defined genocide as a crime. Before presenting the legal definition of genocide, ask students how they would define genocide to include the instigator (e.g., the state), the targeted group (e.g., an ethnic, racial, tribal, national, or religious group) and the intent (deliberate). Present the United Nations’ definition of genocide handout and have students compare their definition to the United Nations’ definition. Have students consider which definition they think best fits the Holocaust and consider why the Holocaust fits the definition of genocide.|
Genocide View More »
|9||Ask students to share what they already know about the Holocaust and to identify whenever possible their source or sources of information. List responses on the board or chart paper. Examples:|
|10||Review the list of sources that was developed. Help students understand the difference between the primary sources and secondary sources on the list, and have them consider primary and secondary sources not identified on the list that might also be useful in studying the Holocaust. Review how the many types of sources (e.g., diaries, letters, historical fiction, written and visual history testimony, autobiographies, photographs, textbooks) may differ in the type of information included. Initiate a discussion on the accuracy of such sources and reasons why source material must be scrutinized for accuracy.|
|11||Explain that throughout this study of the Holocaust, students will examine many primary and secondary source materials. Explain that the Holocaust is one of the most documented events in human history and that the perpetrators produced much of the evidence. The Holocaust occurred in modern times, and the Nazi system was a highly bureaucratic one. When the historian wants to know what happened, when, and why, there is a sea of official records, private papers, and first-person accounts ready to be investigated. Naturally, sources must be studied carefully, and all require interpretation. Such documents highlight the historian’s tools and tasks, and bring complex topics into sharper focus.|
ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME
Kristallnacht: “Night of Broken Glass”
|1||Tell students that they will be studying several documents related to the same event in order to compare and contrast source material. To prepare them for this assignment, provide students with some or all of the background about the Kristallnacht Pogrom in the corresponding Note.|
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|2||Divide the class into six groups and have each group select a recorder. Distribute one of the primary source documents about Kristallnacht to each group and provide one group with a textbook that includes a description of Kristallnacht. Instruct students to discuss and make notes on what they learn about this historical event from studying the material.|
Heydrich’s Instructions, November 1938 View More »
Letter By Margarete Drexler To The Gestapo View More »
Description of the Riot in Dinslaken View More »
MAGDEBURG, GERMANY, NOVEMBER 10, 1938
SIEGEN, GERMANY, NOVEMBER 10, 1938
Info Quest: Kristallnacht
|3||After allowing ample time to discuss the documents, instruct students to pass their documents to another group. Group members should again discuss and make notes on what they learn about the topic from studying the material. Continue this process until all groups have had an opportunity to analyze all sources.|
|4||Have students share their thinking about the six documents in a whole-group discussion. Following are suggested questions:|
|5||Explain to students that another source of information about the Holocaust is survivor and witness testimony. Survivor and witness testimonies, unlike documents or words from a book, communicate the crucial role of the individual’s experiences through his or her stories. The interviewees in these testimonies are not “simply” Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. They are students, teachers, brothers, sisters, friends, and family members. They tell stories that recount anger, frustration, humor, surprise, relief, and fear. Viewing first-person, visual history testimony is a personal experience—no two people necessarily react to hearing a particular clip of testimony exactly the same way. Tell students that the visual history testimony that they will hear was collected by USC Shoah Foundation.|
|6||After introducing students to [L]Kurt Messerschmidt[/L], have them watch his testimony. Follow with a discussion using some or all of the questions below.|
Info Quest: Kurt Messerschmidt
|7||End this lesson with each student completing a “3-2-1 Assessment.”|
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The questions below, used in class or as homework, prompt students to reflect on what they are learning and its meaning in their own lives and in society.
These queries are excellent for journaling, allowing students to create their own primary source material. Keep in mind, the sensitive and emotional nature of the topics may preclude teacher evaluation. If journaling is used as an assessment tool, assure students that they will not be evaluated negatively for expressing opinions that may be different from others in class or from the teacher’s.
The additional activities and projects listed below can be integrated directly into the lessons in this unit or can used to extend lessons once they have 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 unit.
|1||Visit IWitness (iwitness.usc.edu) for testimonies, resources, and activities to help students learn more about the Kristallnacht Pogrom.|
|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 (iwitness.usc.edu) 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. 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.|
collaboratorconcentration campdiscriminationEuropean JewrygenocideGestapo
Sinti-RomasurvivorUnited Nationsvisual history testimony