- 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.
- 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 lesson 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.
ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME
Victims of the “Final Solution": The Struggle to Survive
|1||Help students develop a framework for studying the “Final Solution” by using the K-W-L strategy. Have students create a graphic organizer with three columns labeled “K” (What I Know), “W” (What I Want to Learn), and “L” (What I Learned). Instruct students to list what they know about the “Final Solution” and the extermination camps in the first column and what they would like to learn about this topic in the second column. Tell students that as they listen to the testimonies and participate in the activities that follow, they should go back to the chart and add information to the “L” column.|
|2||Introduce students to [L]Ellis Lewin[/L] and [L]Abraham Bomba[/L] and then show their clips of testimony. Follow with a discussion using the questions below.|
Found Poetry: A Language Arts Lesson
|3||Introduce students to Elie Wiesel using the information in the corresponding Note and then distribute the Excerpt from Night handout and have volunteers read the material aloud. Follow with a discussion using the following questions:|
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Excerpt from Night View More »
|4||Prior to distributing a copy of the handouts Poems from a Camp Survivor and Appell, 1944, provide students with background on Dan Pagis and Zinovii Tolkatchev available in the corresponding Note.|
|5||Divide the class into small groups and assign each group one of the poems or the piece of art. Working in their small groups, have students discuss the questions below (prepared in advance on the board or on a handout) that pertain to the piece they have been assigned. After completing the small-group assignment, have groups share their observations and analysis with the rest of the class. Encourage students to listen for any differences in how groups with the same document interpreted the words or images.|
|6||Introduce students to [L]Itka Zygmuntowicz[/L] and show her clip of testimony. Have students reflect on Itka’s testimony using the following questions:|
|7||Ask students what an artifact is and what kinds of things are considered artifacts. Have students consider how, like diaries, photographs, government documents, etc., artifacts are primary sources. Ask them to brainstorm a list of items that might be considered artifacts to a historian (e.g., tools, jewelry, postcards, manuscripts) and explain what might be learned about people, institutions, or cultures from studying artifacts.|
|8||Distribute the handout Life in the Shadow of Death and review the material with students. Follow with a discussion using the questions below.|
Life in the Shadow of Death View More »
|9||Distribute the Excerpt from Man’s Search for Meaning handout and read the selection together. Ask students to share their thoughts about the selection and then continue with a discussion using the questions below as a guide.|
Excerpt from Man's Search for Meaning View More »
|10||Have students review the K-W-L charts that they developed at the beginning of this lesson and share what they have added to the “L” column. Encourage students to add additional questions to the “W” column, reinforcing the idea that learning about a complex topic like the Holocaust often results in even more questions.|
ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME
Perpetrators of the “Final Solution”: Ideology and Responsibility
|1||Introduce students to [L]Itka Zygmuntowicz[/L] and [L]Nathan Offen[/L] and then show their clips of testimony before asking the following questions:|
|2||Explain to students that many people ask the question, “How was it humanly possible?” when studying the Holocaust. Ask them to think about this seemingly simple, yet complex, question in light of the survivor testimony they just watched|
|3||Review the definition of “perpetrator” available in the Glossary.|
|4||Distribute the Interview with Franz Stangl handout. After reading the interview together, use some or all of the questions below in a whole-group discussion.|
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Interview with Franz Stangl View More »
Poems from a Camp Survivor View More »
|5||Divide the class into four groups and distribute The “Final Solution” handout. Assign one section of the handout to each group. Have group members read their section of the handout together and prepare an oral presentation for the rest of the class on the material. Instruct each group to also develop one or two discussion questions based on its section of the reading material.|
The "Final Solution" View More »
|6||Have each group present its material to the class. After all groups have made their presentations, have a whole-group discussion using the discussion questions that the groups developed and/or the suggested questions below.|
|7||Display the map, Nazi Camps and Sites of Mass Execution, and have students identify which camps the survivors talked about in their testimonies. Allow time for students to make additional observations based on the map.|
NAZI CAMPS AND SITES OF MASS EXECUTION
|8||Share information about The Auschwitz Album using information in the corresponding Note. Provide students an opportunity to study and discuss their thoughts and feelings about each photograph from this album using the questions below.|
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JEWS ARRIVING AT AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU
SELECTION ON THE AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU PLATFORM
WOMEN BEING LED TO GAS CHAMBERS, AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU
WOMAN AND CHILDREN ON THEIR WAY TO GAS CHAMBER, AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU
View More »
|9||Explain to students that when Adolf Eichmann (an SS officer who played a major role in the extermination of European Jews) was on trial in Jerusalem in 1961, he claimed that he was merely performing his duty as an obedient soldier. He viewed himself as not personally responsible for his actions, but rather part of a system. Ask students to think about issues of social and personal responsibility by discussing the following questions:|
|10||Have students share their thoughts and feelings about what they have learned about the “Final Solution.” Remind them that studying a topic as complex as the Holocaust often leads to additional questions. Have students identify a specific question that they have about the “Final Solution” and research the answer using reliable sources (ushmm.org; yadvashem.org; iwitness.usc.edu). Have students post both the question and answer on the class wiki, website, or blog, or submit to you as a culminating activity.|
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 a lesson or can be used to extend a 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 unit.
|1||Visit IWitness (iwitness.usc.edu) for testimonies, resources, and activities to help students learn more about life in the camps, Babi Yar, the Einsatzgruppen, and other topics associated with the “Final Solution.”|
|2||Distribute the student handout, The First Ones. Read the short biography of Yitzhak Katzenelson together. You may then choose to have students read the poem silently, in groups, or as a whole class. Once they have read the poem, discuss it together, using some or all of the discussion questions below.|
The First Ones View More »
|3||Provide students with a copy of the Pyramid of Hate handout. After reviewing the material together, tell students that you want them to consider whether “genocide” should be added to the top of the pyramid or if there are other changes to the graphic that they feel are warranted after learning about the “Final Solution.” Instruct students to prepare a revised “pyramid of hate” or prepare a completely different graphic representation that they 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 or changing the graphic entirely. Students should also be given the option of keeping the graphic exactly as it currently appears, but they must explain why they feel there shouldn’t be any changes.|
Pyramid of Hate View More »
|4||Professional and amateur artists of all genres recorded what they saw and experienced during the Holocaust. Some inmate art was sanctioned by camp or ghetto authorities for propaganda purposes or to satisfy Nazi officials who demanded inmates produce personal works of art for their satisfaction. Clandestine art was created at great risk to the artist’s life. Thousands of these clandestine pieces, created by children and adults, were discovered in ghettos and camps after liberation. Artists who survived the Holocaust often created works following liberation to document what they had experienced or to share their interpretations of what the Holocaust meant not only to them personally, but to humanity.|
|5||Divide students into small groups and have them research one of the topics below or identify their own topic and prepare a presentation in a format of their choice to share with the class or post on the class website or wiki. Encourage students to include primary source materials in their presentations and to consult the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website (ushmm.org), the Yad Vashem website (yadvashem.org), and IWitness (iwitness.usc.edu). Encourage students to learn about all six of the extermination camps—Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka.|
|6||Many works of fiction have been written that center on a person’s experiences during the Holocaust. These texts often evoke strong emotion, heighten awareness, and provide opportunities for the reader to ask him/herself complex questions—all positive outcomes. Even though such books are clearly identified as fiction, many may still reflect historical inaccuracies in terms of time, place, and events that can lead to an erroneous understanding or representation of what took place during the time period.|