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4 lessons to better understand why the Nazis created ghettos and how Jewish people responded and resisted. 

Image: A footbridge connecting two parts of the Warsaw ghetto. June 1942. Warsaw, Poland. Chlodna Street, below the footbridge, was not part of the ghetto. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-270-0298-14 / Photo: Amthor.

 

Ghettos - Article

During the Holocaust, the creation of ghettos was a key step in the Nazi process of brutally separating, persecuting, and ultimately destroying Europe's Jews. Ghettos were often enclosed districts that isolated Jews from the non-Jewish population and from other Jewish communities. Living conditions were miserable. The Germans established at least 1,143 ghettos in the occupied eastern territories....Article and critical thinking questions from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Read More. 

 

Establishment of the Ghettos and the Jewish Response - Lesson

Students will understand that the ghettos were one phase in the continuum of Nazi racial policies. Using primary sources, students will learn that despite severe overcrowding, starvation, diseases, and grief, Jews still did their utmost to conduct their lives and retain their human dignitiy. Lesson created by Echoes and Reflections. Go to lesson.  

 

The Jewish Ghettos: Separated from the World - Reading

Background information about ghettos and a diary entry from a teen girl in the Lodz Ghetto give picture to the fear and suffering of life in the ghetto. Article is followed by connection questions, including "What was the impact of isolating Jewsin ghettos? What details int he diary entres of the anonymous girl from Lodz help you to understand how living in ghettos affected individuals and families?"  Created by Facing History and Ourselves. Go to reading. 

Voices from the Warsaw Ghetto - Reading

In the Warsaw ghetto, from 1940 to 1943, a group called Oyneg Shabes (meaning “joy of the Sabbath” in Yiddish, a reference to the group’s practice of meeting on Saturdays) conducted research and secretly assembled an archive that documented both Nazi crimes and also residents’ brave efforts to maintain life in the face of death. 

Collected in tin boxes and aluminum milk crates, the documents were buried secretly in the ghetto in 1942 and 1943, in three places known only to a few people. Of approximately 60 people who worked with Oyneg Shabes, only three survived. After the war, they worked with other survivors to find the buried archives. Two sets of documents were uncovered, in 1946 and 1950. The third has never been found.

Article is followed by connection questions. Created by Facing History and Ourselves. Go to reading.