Grade: Senior

#924. The Holocaust

Social Studies, level: Senior
Posted Sun Mar 28 19:34:13 PST 1999 by Richard Atkinson (
University of South Florida Education Major, Sarasota, FL., USA
Materials Required: Overhead projector with appropriate overheads, graphic organizer
Activity Time: 60 minutes
Concepts Taught: The student will learn about prejudice, racism, and stereotyping in any society.

SUBJECT : American History
TOPIC : Holocaust

OBJECTIVE : The student will learn about prejudice, racism, and stereotyping in any society.

1. Place picture of Holocaust Era on overhead projector (set induction). Ask students to analyze picture, their response will set the tone for the remainder of the lesson.
a. What do they think the picture shows.
b. What do you know or what have you heard about the Holocaust?

2. Define Holocaust
a. Have students give their definition. Write these on the board.
b. Place overhead of Webster's definition on projector, compare Webster with student definition.

3. Lecture: Who was affected by the Holocaust?
a. Primary victims were the Jews ( 6 million or 2/3 of total European Jewish population).
b. Secondary victims
1. handicaps
2. Gypsies
3. homosexuals
4. Jehovah's Witnesses
5. Catholics
6. Poles
7. Soviet POW's
8. political dissidents
9. anyone else deemed "anti-social"

4. Lecture: What allowed Hitler to assume power in Germany?
a. He was the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi).
b. Appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg to lead Germany out of political and economical crisis.

5. Lecture: Why didn't the Jews just flee the persecution?
a. Foreign countries ( U.S., Canada, Britain, France) were unwilling to admit large numbers of refugees.
b. Did not want to leave their homeland.
c. Could not afford to leave.

6. Lecture: Why was the Holocaust allowed to continue?
a. Germans: Emergency clauses of German Constitution were invoked suspending
1. freedom of the press
2. freedom of speech
3. freedom of assembly
b. Ask students if anything like this has ever happened in America
1. tell them that America has taken similar action in every war or conflict it has been involved
c. Enabling Act of March 23, 1933 gave Hitler dictatorial power
d. Propaganda that the Germans were "racially superior" and being drug down by the "inferior races".
e. Allies: Stated mission: Defeating the German military was the priority over trying to stop or slow down the genocide.

7. Close by getting student response to the following question. How action taken during the Holocaust was related to prejudices right here in America? ( allow only a few minutes for this discussion to continue. This is the basis for the evaluation.)

8. Evaluation: Write a brief paper (1-2 pages) explaining how, as Americans, you would feel if you were to wake up one day and find out that all of your rights have been stripped away. Would you have reacted differently then the Jews, Germans or any other race under Hitler's rule? (to be done as homework or can be started in class if time permits).

9. Notes: Make sure students understand that this topic is very emotional and their participation is critical, however, DO NOT pressure anyone into the conversation. Students need to understand that not all Germans were on the side of the Nazi Party but due to the laws of the time they were severely restricted in their efforts to assist. Also make sure students know that not all Jews or other people confined to the concentration camps were treated the same. While rescue efforts were limited, "at best, less than one-half of one percent of the total population [of non-Jews] under Nazi occupation helped to rescue Jews" (Oliner and Oliner, 1991, p. 363). Resistance to the Nazi Party was high. Resistance came in the form of willful disobedience, smuggling food, messages and weapon and by continuing to practice religious and cultural traditions.

10. Materials:
a. Overhead projector with appropriate overheads
b. Graphic organizer (umbrella p.93)

11. References:
a. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (
b. Concentration Camp Dachau 1933-1945 (Comite International de Dachau, Brussels and Lipp GmbH, Munich, 1978, 15th edition)
c. A teacher's Guide to the Holocaust, (
d. Graphic Organizers & Planning Outlines (Imogene Forte and Sandra Schurr, Incentive Publications, Inc. Nashville, Tennessee, 1996)