General introductory lessons to begin teaching about the Holocaust.
With My Own Eyes (film)
A 20-minute introductory film that provides an overview of the Holocaust, establishes the importance and relevance for learning about this subject, and incorporates the stories of survivors who settled in Washington. Includes discussion guide. For grades 7 and up.
Two excellent lessons based on the Pyramid of Hate as created by Echoes and Reflections and the Anti-Defamation League. For grades 6-12.
The Pyramid of Hate presents a visual image to demonstrate how the seeds of hate, once planted, can quickly grow from biased ideas to hate violence. The following is provided to assist in presenting the concept of the tendency of hate to escalate when unchecked.
This activity can be done in a single class period or spread out over three days, allowing students to see the timeline evolve in “layers.” You will need a dedicated wall in your room.
We recommend that you print out the various categories (years, profile cards, laws and decrees, historical events) in different colors, ie., procards all yellow, laws and decrees light blue, etc. This additionally helps the students visualize the interconnectedness of events with victims, etc., while simultaneously helping them better understand the process involved in their learning.
By the end of this lesson, we recommend prompting your students to respond toquestion, “Using at least two examples (evidence) from the Timeline, explain how and why the Holocaust occurred?” Ultimately, it is hoped that students are able to conclude that the Holocaust “was incremental and didn’t happen all at once.”
When you leave the timeline up on your wall throughout your lessons, students should be encouraged to contextualize their lessons, books they are reading, etc., in the frame of what was occurring in so and so year and month as possible explanations for victim and other responses and decisions.
- Years, 1933-1945 (PDF)
- Individual Profile Cards (PDF)
- Laws and Decrees (PDF)
- Historical Events (PDF)
Lesson was created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Additional profiles of local survivors added by the Holocaust Center for Humanity.
Teachers may use the pdf of the original lesson (above) to support this online version of the USHMM timeline activity. It is also available on Learning Management Systems.
Timeline of the Holocaust (Another Version)
This Echoes and Reflections digital timeline includes proposed lessons and activities, and is amenable to remote instruction.
A highly engaging lesson using Eve Bunting’s short allegory, Terrible Things. The lesson is adaptable from grades 6-12 and includes an animated retelling of the allegory. Enduring understandings:
- Whether or not you are personally affected, stand up for what you believe.
- Those who fail to stand up to injustice of any type, allow it to happen.
The Survivor Encyclopedia project features survivors who live or have lived in Washington State. These survivors, with their history and stories, have shaped our community, contributing to its richness and diversity. They challenge us to understand history throughnarrative - to see complex human beings behind the facts. Their stories inspire us to recognize human fragility and resilience and the difference that each one of us can make. Two activities guide students to work in pairs or individually to explore survivors in the encyclopedia, looking for common themes, artifacts, mapping their journeys, and finding areas where they could research more deeply.
A map showing Nazi Germany's expansion throughout Europe and the deportations of Jews and non-Jewish victims. Map is created by the USHMM. The Holocaust was the murder of six million Jews and millions of others by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. Mass killings began in June 1941 with the shooting of Jewish civilians during the German invasion of the Soviet Union. At the end of 1941, the Germans began deporting Jews to killing centers in occupied Poland. By May 1945, about two out of every three Jews in Europe had been murdered.
Request a speaker from the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau. The Holocaust Center Speakers Bureau consists of almost 30 active speakers who share their stories throughout the Pacific Northwest. Our Speakers Bureau includes Holocaust survivors and Legacy Speakers. Legacy Speakers are children and grandchildren of survivors, children of liberators, and children of rescuers (Righteous Among the Nations).
The mission of the Speakers Bureau is to provide a personal connection to the Holocaust for students of all ages, and show them a human face and story that listeners can reflect upon to confront bigotry and intolerance today. Hearing speakers give testimony helps students find their own voice, and helps teach them to be responsible citizens in our community, our nation, and our world.
Speakers are available for virtual presentations via Zoom. In-person presentations will be arranged when COVID-19 reopening guidelines allow. More Info & Request a Speaker
This highly engaging activity connects students to replica artifacts of survivors, the originals of which are housed in the Holocaust Center for Humanity. The lesson and replica artifacts come in the Holocaust Teaching Trunks, which are free to borrow.