Image: An Auschwitz mug shot of Czeslawa Kwaka, a Polish girl born August 15, 1928. Circa 1942-1943. Oświęcim, Poland. Czeslawa arrived at Auschwitz on December 13, 1942 and was killed there on March 12, 1943. U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Auschwitz- Birkenau State Museum. Colorization by Marina Amaral.
"Final Solution": Overview - Article
The term “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” was a euphemism used by Nazi Germany’s leaders. It referred to the mass murder of Europe’s Jews. It brought an end to policies aimed at encouraging or forcing Jews to leave the German Reich and other parts of Europe. Those policies were replaced by systematic annihilation. Article followed by critical thinking questions. Created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Read article.
Wannsee Conference and the "Final Solution" - Article
On January 20, 1942, 15 high-ranking Nazi Party and German government officials gathered at a villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss and coordinate the implementation of what they called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question." Article followed by critical thinking questions. Created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Read article.
Nazi Camps - Article
Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44,000 camps and other incarceration sites (including ghettos). The perpetrators used these sites for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and for mass murder.
Many people refer to all of the Nazi incarceration sites during the Holocaust as concentration camps. The term concentration camp is used very loosely to describe places of incarceration and murder under the Nazi regime, however, not all sites established by the Nazis were concentration camps. Nazi-established sites include: Concentration camps, Forced-labor camps, Transit camps, Prisoner-of-war camps, Killing centers. Article includes maps, testimony, and critical thinking questions. Created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Go to article.
Designing Destruction: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Former Soviet Territory
Joshua Rubenstein, associate at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian studies, describes the gradual evolution of Hitler's master plan for the "Jews of Europe" and how this unfolded within German-occupied Soviet territory. From Facing History and Ourselves. Go to video.
Reserve Police Battalion 101 - Reading
What kind of person kills civilians, including old people and even babies, all day long? To find answers to such questions, historian Christopher Browning studied courtroom testimony made in the 1960s and 1970s by 210 men who served in the German Reserve Police Battalion 101 and were later charged with war crimes. Article followed by connection questions. From Facing History and Ourselves. Go to Reading.
The Final Solution - Lesson
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. From Echoes and Reflections. Estimated time: 150-180 minutes. Go to Lesson.