The Importance of Teaching the Holocaust



The Holocaust can bring about many emotions in an individual. When teaching this topic, it is important to remember that this lesson should have an impact on the class.  What about the Holocaust is significant to today’s generation? Why should it impact them?

These are questions students will wonder and, perhaps, even ask.  The Holocaust was a time when discrimination, hatred, and murder were considered legal.  These acts were legalized by individuals, governments, and different organizations. A specific group of people were targeted because of these legalizations.

Get students engaged by asking the tough questions:

Have your students consider whether or not the Holocaust could happen again.  In the Holocaust lesson plan, click here, you will find several activities like this one.  Have the student visit this station, read the quote, view the picture, and make a notation of their initial response.  Then, have the student consider other ways in which someone could be discriminated against. Race, age, body type, hair color, etc.  Have the students write an entry as to how they may have discriminated against others, or may have been discriminated against themselves.  Have them consider what might happen to someone they love if they were placed in one of the possible discrimination categories.

Another way to actively engage students, is to have them write a diary entry at the end of visiting a set amount of stations with an overview of the station, a picture for the station, and a primary source quote.  Here is an example (black and white diary sheets for students are included in the lesson plan):

Are you an ELA teacher? Will you be teaching the Diary of Anne Frank & Night?  This lesson plan is great for teaching about the Holocaust.  A few ways to get students involved, click here to obtain the lesson plan for more ideas, include:

  • Write a poem in the voice of someone from the camp, as they look up to the role of Anne Frank or Night;

∙Utilize the images from the lesson plan, after providing the lesson plan to the class, and have the students write an Ekphrastic poem.

∙There are many quotes from people who survived the Holocaust within the lesson plan (see example):

Have your student read these quotes and compare it an experience of or a statement from Anne Frank and/or Night.  Have the students compare and/or contrast any differences between the two individuals’ experiences.


To obtain the full lesson plan, images, quotes, and activities click here.


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