- 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 feature the powerful words and experiences of Holocaust survivor and memoirist Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor Kurt Messerschmidt, and Anne Frank rescuer, Miep Gies. Each poster promotes meaningful conversation and reflection in the classroom, whether in person or in a virtual setting, and inspires students with powerful human stories of the Holocaust that can continue to guide agency and action as a result of studying this topic.
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.
Please fill out the form below to access and download your PDF posters.
USC Shoah Foundation’s first podcast, We Share The Same Sky, seeks to brings the past into present through a granddaughter’s decade-long journey to retrace her grandmother’s story of survival. We Share The Same Sky tells the two stories of these women—the grandmother, Hana, a refugee who remained one step ahead of the Nazis at every turn, and the granddaughter, Rachael, on a search to retrace her grandmother’s history.
In order to enhance its classroom use, USC Shoah Foundation and Echoes & Reflections have created a Companion Educational Resource to support teachers as they introduce the podcast to their students. This document provides essential questions for students, as well as additional resources and content to help build context and framing for students’ understanding of the historical events addressed in the podcast.
Access to the podcast, as well as 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.
Note: Due to the subject nature, the podcast is appropriate for older students, grades 10-12. As always, teachers should review the content fully in advance to determine its appropriateness for their student population.
- ITKA ZYGMUNTOWICZ, 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 “Final Solution” and to deliver accurate and sensitive instruction.
The purpose of this unit is for students to learn about one of humanity’s darkest chapters—the systematic mass murder of the Jews that came to be known as the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” This includes learning about the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads), the Nazi extermination camps, and the perpetrators and collaborators who took part in the murder. This unit also provides an opportunity for students to learn how Jews attempted to maintain their humanity in the camps despite the inhumane conditions and brutal treatment they faced.
- What were the circumstances and beliefs that made the Final Solution possible?
- What social and political systems make genocide possible?
- How does the dehumanization of a group of people in a society occur?
- How do some individuals and communities find ways to resist and maintain their humanity in the face of violence and inhumanity?
- Why is it important to focus on individual stories and experiences in accounts of mass atrocity?
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LESSON 1: How the Final Solution Was Made Possible and Implemented
In this lesson, students use a variety of texts and primary sources to study the factors that made the Final Solution possible and how it was implemented. They consider the importance of individual stories and experiences as they study the mass killings perpetrated by the Nazis. Students reflect on an excerpt from Elie Wiesel’s Night as well as a number of visual history testimonies from Jewish survivors of the extermination camps.
|1||The handout, How Should We Study the Final Solution? is distributed and the class together reads the first paragraph, defining the Final Solution. Individually or in pairs, students read the remainder of the handout and respond to the question about how the poem informs the way they should study the Final Solution. The class debriefs, discussing the importance of “the one” or seeing the individual amidst the masses of victims.|
How Should We Study the Final Solution? View More »
|2||Copies of the handout, The One, are made available to students to use throughout this unit. The class reads the handout together and learns that they will use it to guide their thinking and recording as they meet various survivors and reflect on their individual stories and experiences of the Final Solution.|
The One View More »
|3||Students are introduced to Elie Wiesel and his memoir, Night, using the background information in the NOTE. Individually or in pairs, students read the Excerpt from Night and record their thoughts using The One handout. The class discusses some of the following questions:|
Excerpt from Night View More »
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|4||Students learn they will further investigate the Final Solution to find out how events – such as those described by Elie Wiesel – were made possible and carried out. The following questions are posted to guide student work as they examine lesson sources:|
|5||The handouts and resources below are made available to students. Small groups are each assigned one section of The “Final Solution” handout to examine closely. After reviewing the entire handout, groups focus in on their assigned section. They create a brief oral report summarizing it and answering the questions in step 4 above that are applicable. Students draw upon the map and timeline as needed to deepen their understanding.
|6||Groups present their oral reports to the class as time allows, and discuss some of the following questions:|
|7||Students watch testimony clips of Jewish survivors who witnessed mass killing by the Nazis: [L]William Good[/L] and [L]Abraham Bomba[/L] . As they watch the clips, students take notes on The One or Testimony Reflections handout.|
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|8||After viewing the testimony clips, students participate in a whole group discussion in response to some of the following questions:|
|9||The photographs from the Auschwitz Album handout are projected or students access them online. Students are introduced to the collection of photos using the background information in the NOTE. The following quote is posted and discussed by the class:
Auschwitz Album View More »
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|10||In small groups, students analyze the four photographs from the Auschwitz Album using the See, Think, Wonder graphic organizer. As they observe, students remain aware that they are viewing “perpetrator photography” and consider the missing perspectives of the subjects depicted in the photographs.|
See, Think, Wonder View More »
|11||Students watch a testimony clip of a Jewish survivor who was imprisoned at Auschwitz: [L]Ellis Lewin[/L]. As they watch the clip, students take notes on The One or Testimony Reflections handout. After viewing, the class discusses the testimony and their thoughts about the Auschwitz Album using some of the following questions:|
|12||As a summative task, students choose one of the survivors they encountered in this lesson and note three things: (a) an insight about the systems that made the Final Solution possible; (b) an observation about the dehumanizing conditions or experiences faced by the individual; and (c) a question they would pose to the individual if they could. Students draw on examples from lesson sources to support their observations.|
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LESSON 2: Spiritual Resistance: Attempting to Preserve Humanity in the Face of Inhumanity
In this lesson, students consider how dehumanization made the Final Solution possible. They examine texts and testimony that delve into the theme of dehumanization from the perspectives of both a perpetrator and Jewish survivors. Students also interpret a variety of primary sources – including poetry and art – that deepen their understanding of spiritual resistance and how some people attempted to cope with and respond to Nazi atrocities.
|1||Students brainstorm and note on the board a list of the things that make them feel human (e.g., satisfying basic needs such as nutrition, health, and shelter; emotions; relationships; self-expression; autonomy; social and cultural belonging; learning; laughing; leisure).|
|2||Based on their list, the class comes up with a definition for dehumanize (e.g., to deprive someone of human qualities; to take away their dignity or make them feel less than human). The definition is posted and students are prompted to consider the following questions as they engage with the materials in this lesson:
|3||In pairs, students read the Interview with Franz Stangl and Excerpt from Survival in Auschwitz. They think about how dehumanization made the Final Solution possible from the perspectives of both a perpetrator and a target of Nazi hate. Pairs select one phrase from each reading that most reflects this dehumanization for them. The class engages in a read-around, in which students choose one phrase to read aloud.|
|4||Students watch a testimony clip of a Jewish survivor who discusses her daily life at Auschwitz: [L]Itka Zygmuntowicz[/L]. As they watch the clip, students reflect on the theme of dehumanization and take notes on The One or Testimony Reflections handout.|
|5||After reading the texts and viewing the testimony clip, students participate in a whole group discussion in response to some of the following questions:|
|6||In small groups, students interpret primary sources that reflect how some people coped with and responded to Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Stations are set up with the sources below. Students analyze at least two of these sources by discussing the accompanying prompts with their groups, and by continuing to record their reflections on The One handout.
|7||The class debriefs the station exercise using the questions below.|
Found Poetry: A Language Arts Lesson
|8||Students continue to explore the idea of spiritual resistance through the following sources and take notes on The One or Testimony Reflections handout as they view/read:
Excerpt from Man’s Search for Meaning View More »
|9||The class debriefs using some of the following questions:|
|10||As a summative task, students return to Elie Wiesel and react to the following quote:
The ideas below are offered as ways to extend the lessons in this unit and make connections to related historical events, current issues, and students’ own experiences. These topics can be integrated directly into Echoes & Reflections lessons, used as stand-alone teaching ideas, or investigated by students engaged in project-based learning.
|1||Visit IWitness (iwitness.usc.edu) for testimonies, resources, and activities to learn more about life in the camps, Babi Yar, the Einsatzgruppen, and other topics associated with the “Final Solution.”|
|2||In her testimony, Itka Zygmuntowicz recites the poem she wrote in Auschwitz—a poem about freedom. Many children (and adults) used art as a way to spiritually survive the experience of the ghettos, and in some instances, the extermination camps. Write about the importance of the arts in your life and how music, painting, writing poetry, or something similar has helped you during a particularly difficult time.|
|3||Throughout this unit, you have considered an important question regarding the Holocaust: How was the Holocaust humanly possible? Respond to this question in light of the material you have studied.|
|4||Review the Pyramid of Hate handout and consider whether “genocide” should be added to the top of the pyramid or if there are other changes to the graphic that are warranted based on your study of the Final Solution. Prepare a revised “pyramid of hate” or a completely different graphic representation that you feel more accurately depicts the escalation of hate. The revised graphic should be accompanied by a short explanatory text that explains the reasoning behind adding genocide to the top of the pyramid, changing the graphic entirely, or keeping it as is.|
Pyramid of Hate View More »
|5||A diverse array of art was created during the Holocaust. Some pieces were sanctioned by camp or ghetto authorities for propaganda purposes or for the personal satisfaction of Nazi officials. Other art was created secretly and at great risk to the artists’ lives. Thousands of these clandestine pieces were discovered in ghettos and camps after liberation. Artists who survived the Holocaust also created works following liberation to document their experiences and interpretations of the Holocaust. Research and identify one piece of art created during or after the Holocaust that is meaningful to you. Create a multimedia presentation in which you display and interpret the artwork, provide background about the artist and circumstances under which the piece was created, and share why you chose it. Possible artists to research include Felix Nussbaum, Fernand Van Horen, Yehuda Bacon, Esther Lurie, Alexander Bogen, Hirsch Szylis, Charlotte Salomon, Samuel Bak, Bedrich Fritta, and Petr Ginz. Refer to the Yad Vashem website for additional information (yadvashem.org).|
|6||Research one of the topics below and prepare a presentation, in a format of your choice, on what you learned. Include information about at least three of the six extermination camps — Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Consult primary source materials as part of your research. Useful sites include Yad Vashem (yadvashem.org), IWitness (iwitness.usc.edu), and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website (ushmm.org).
|7||There are many films and novels that are set during the Holocaust, some based on true stories with fictional elements and others entirely fictional. Many of these works contribute positively to Holocaust education by raising awareness, evoking emotion, and inspiring reflection. Some, however – despite being labeled as fiction – present historical inaccuracies that can lead to a flawed understanding of the Holocaust. With this problem in mind, analyze a Holocaust novel or film that you’ve read/viewed before or choose a new one from the list below. Draft questions that help you to evaluate the accuracy of the story, for example the chronology or timeline of events, the language used to describe events, the way people are portrayed, the setting or location of events, etc. Note potential inaccuracies in the story and research them. Then write a brief report summarizing your findings and discussing the benefits and challenges of using fiction to learn about the Holocaust.|
European Jewryextermination camp“Final Solution of the Jewish Question”genocideHolocaustMajdanek