Programs for Educators
Supporting Classroom Instruction

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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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.


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.

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.

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Echoes & Reflections is proud to offer international advanced learning programs for educators who are seeking to deepen their learning and understanding of the Holocaust and strengthen their knowledge and skills to effectively teach this history to their students. These programs are open to U.S. middle and high school teachers who are actively teaching with Echoes & Reflections in their classrooms.

    Applications for the 2024 Advanced Learning Seminar have now closed.



    Echoes & Reflections professional development programs provide educators with classroom-ready content, sound pedagogy, and instructional strategies to teach about the Holocaust in a meaningful way. Led by expert staff and facilitators, our programs include fundamental, thematic and focused areas of study applicable to a range of curricular school subjects.
    Echoes & Reflections is always happy to collaborate to customize our programs based on the needs of a particular district/institution. Contact Program Manager, Jennifer Goss, to learn more and schedule a program.
    To download and print a listing of our program offerings, click here.

    Foundations of Teaching the Holocaust: History and Pedagogy

    These programs are designed to enhance teachers’ knowledge, capacity, and confidence to teach about the Holocaust. Educators are introduced to pedagogical principles and explore classroom lessons, visual history testimonies and other resources that examine aspects of the history and its continued relevance today. Programs can provide broad historical overview grounded in effective instructional strategies or focus on specific themes aligned with Echoes & Reflections Units below:

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    • Prewar Jewish Life
    • Antisemitism
    • Nazi Germany
    • The Ghettos
    • The “Final Solution”
    • Liberation
    • Liberation
    • Jewish Resistance
    • Rescue & Righteous Among the Nations
    • Complicity & Responsibility
    • Justice, Life, & Memory After the Holocaust

    The Holocaust & Contemporary Connections

    Grounded in relevant aspects of Holocaust history, the following programs connect learning to contemporary issues and concerns of today, introducing Echoes & Reflections and supplementary classroom resources to examine these topics with students.

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    Antisemitism: Understanding and Countering this Hatred Today
    It is critical for young people to understand the dangers of antisemitism today and the threat that it poses to both Jewish and non-Jewish populations. This program helps teachers to educate about antisemitism, examining its complexities from historic and contemporary perspectives. Educators gain strategies to help students respond to and counter antisemitism and forms of hate.

    Advancing Civic Participation through Holocaust Education
    Studying the Holocaust imparts essential lessons of civic values, including justice, tolerance, and the importance of democratic liberties. By using Echoes pedagogical approach and examining the rise of the Nazi party, participants bridge memory into action and inspire students to participate in political processes in their community.

    Analyzing Propaganda and Teaching Media Literacy: The Holocaust as a Case Study
    Participants explore the events of the Holocaust through the lens of media, by examining propaganda deployed by the Nazis to discriminate against Jews and other minorities. Educators gain tools to facilitate classroom discussions and support students to analyze media in today’s world.

    How We Remember: The Legacy of the Holocaust Today
    How did the world respond when the reality of the Holocaust came to light? During this program, educators examine the pursuit of justice at Nuremberg, the effect the trials had on how we understand the Holocaust, how survivors coped with the trauma to build new lives in the aftermath, and how we remember and memorialize the Holocaust today.

    Teaching About Genocide
    Using effective pedagogy, educators examine four specific genocides, including the Holocaust, to explore common themes. Participants learn about the identities of victims of genocide before the catastrophe as well as how a society was incited and organized to attack them. Educators also look at the effects of genocide on society as well as how memorialization and memory affect their legacies.

    It Starts with Words: Teaching the Escalation of Hate
    The Holocaust arose out of antisemitic hatred fueled in part by the power of words. Participants examine the escalation of words to violence, which in turn, became genocide in order to consider where such a progression might have been interrupted. Educators also gain tools to apply these lessons to modern day issues faced by students.

    Literature & the Humanities

    An important element of the Echoes & Reflections approach is the inclusion of multidisciplinary methods to ensure students learn the human story behind the Holocaust. These programs, of particular interest to ELA and Humanities educators, highlight various sources – from literature to photographs – to engage learners.

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    Creating Context for Teaching the Holocaust through Literature
    In this program, educators learn instructional strategies for teaching the Holocaust through literary selections. This could include a focus on Elie Wiesel’s Night, The Diary of Anne Frank, and/or Maus, or can be adapted to include other works of literature for the classroom by request. In all cases, participants explore Echoes & Reflections resources to provide essential, larger historical framework of the Holocaust to integrate into their classroom instruction. This approach will help build historical understanding, create empathy, and provoke compassion with students.

    Women in the Holocaust
    The Nazi regime subjected women to violence that was unique to the gender of the victims, and examining the Holocaust through this lens creates a more nuanced understanding and insight into the use of gender as a weapon. This program explores the unique experiences of women as they focused on daily survival, refused to be dehumanized, and were often at the heart of resistance, whether spiritual, cultural, or armed. This program can be tailored to focus on women as fierce resistors, as survivors of the Nazi death machine, or as rescuers awarded the title “Righteous Among the Nations.”

    Teaching the Holocaust Using the Humanities: Integrating Photographs, Literature, Art, and Poetry to tell the Human Story
    Educators learn strategies to integrate multiple primary sources into Holocaust instruction with a focus on the human experience. Programs can examine a range of sources or be narrowed to focus on a specific type of source including specific programs on The Auschwitz Album, Photography as Resistance, etc.

    Examining the Holocaust and World War II: Teaching with The U.S. and the Holocaust, a film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein
    What did the average American know about the Holocaust as it was occurring and what was the response? This program uses content from The U.S. and the Holocaust, a film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick & Sarah Botstein, to examine how the American people responded to one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of the twentieth century, and how this catastrophe challenged our identity as a nation and the very ideals of our democracy.



    Echoes & Reflections is proud to partner with USC Shoah Foundation, Hold On To Your Music Foundation, and Discovery Education to bring the Willesden READS Program to students and teachers in select cities across the United States.

    Discover teaching resources to support the Willesden READS and more at The Willesden Project.


    The Children of Willesden Lane–editions now available for readers across grade levels-is the best-selling story about the power of music and how one teenage refugee, Lisa Jura, Mona’s mother, held onto her dreams, survived the Holocaust and inspired a generation of her contemporaries. Today's worldwide humanitarian crises and the importance of standing up against bigotry and hatred are reflected in the continued, growing relevance of this story.


    The centerpiece event of the Willesden READS Program is a 50-minute one of a kind livestreamed event including a theatrical performance and concert based on the The Children of Willesden Lane story. More than one million students across the world have experienced the Willesden READS program. During this special remote event, students will have opportunities to interact with the book's author, performer and virtuoso concert pianist Mona Golabek, who offers uplifting messages of resilience and hope for students at a time when they most need it.

    In advance of the livestream event, educators are invited to participate in professional development, provided by Echoes & Reflections, to deepen understanding of the historical context of The Children of Willesden Lane books and to learn to incorporate companion resources found in IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation's educational website, into their teaching.

    Watch this brief video to learn more about the Willesden READS Program.


    Currently in the United States, 12 states mandate Holocaust education, 5 have permissive statutes (legislation that is not a requirement), 14 support a Holocaust education commission or taskforce, 4 have legislation pending, and 22 have no legislation regarding Holocaust education (note: some states may fall into multiple categories).

    Tap the button below to review state legislation. Visit this page on desktop to explore an interactive map.

    For questions, and for more information on our offerings and/or on Holocaust education in your state, please contact us at

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