The Holocaust: Historical Background

America and the Holocaust
An excellent source of information, complete with teacher's guide. Designed to support the PBS series The American Experience .

Anne Frank Center USA
An extensive resource for students and teachers.

Anne Frank Intro
Students learn about discrimination and statistical manipulation first-hand. An excellent activity.

Anne Frank: One of Hundreds of Thousands
Students investigate the historical circumstances that led the Frank family to go into hiding.

April 11, 1945
Background information regarding the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp from's "This Day in History" site.

Archaeologists unearth hidden death chambers used to kill a quarter-million Jews at notorious camp
A report on discoveries at Sobibor in Poland from the Washington Post.

Berthold Beitz, German industrialist who rescued Jews during World War II, dies at 99
Biography, comparison to Oskar Schindler.

Casting Light on Little-Known Story of Albania Rescuing Jews From Nazis
Albania has a national creed called besa that obligates Albanians to provide shelter and safe passage for anyone seeking protection, particularly if there has been a promise to do so. As a result, Albania saved virtually all of its 200 native Jews and 400 Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria. The country also helped spirit hundreds more over from Nazi-occupied Balkan lands.

Children of War
An extensive unit designed for grades 6 and up. Students read, analyze, and discuss excerpts from children's war diaries; and create a storyboard for a public service announcement on children's rights in wartime.

A God who Remembers
Read and listen to Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel's essay, written for NPR's This I Believe .

Holocaust Literature
Lesson plans for Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl and other Holocaust Literature.

Holocaust Remembrance Day Assignments
10 suggestions for middle and high school students.

Holocaust Resources
An extensive list of links to online sources about several aspects of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking
A report from the New York Times on research cataloging 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe from 1933 to 1945.

Inheritance : Standing Up to Injustice and Cruelty
This lesson plan is designed to be used in conjunction with the film, Inheritance , which illustrates the lasting effects of the Holocaust from the perspectives of both a victim of Nazi war crimes and the child of a perpetrator. Classrooms can use this lesson to explore the responsibility of standing up to injustice and cruelty. Lesson is designed for grades 6-12. It includes 3 downloadable video clips; scroll down for the complete lesson plan, which requires Adobe Reader for access.

Is it Fact or Opinion?
As a result of this activity, students will distinguish between fact and opinion in a published diary. This lesson is designed for grades 6-8.

Nazi Book Burning
On May 10, 1933, German students under the Nazi regime burned tens of thousands of books nationwide. In this captioned video (9:42), a Holocaust survivor, an Iranian author, an American literary critic, and two historians from the United States Holocause Memorial Museum discuss the Nazi book burnings and why totalitarian regimes often target culture, particularly literature. A great nonfiction piece. Downloadable at YouTube.

Lessons from Auschwitz: The power of our words
In this video clip (1:20) Benjamin Zander recounts an incident from the Holocaust and challenges listeners to consider carefully what they say.

This exhibit from the U. S. Holocaust Museum documents and explains the Nazi propaganda campaign. In addition to historical information, the site includes student activities.

Putting a Face to the Numbers: Revealing First-Hand Accounts of Historical Genocide
From the New York Times: "In this lesson, students learn about how hearing about experiences of genocide can make an impact on students. Then, students create a text on the history of genocide, using first-hand accounts and other primary sources as the focus of the text."

The Truth About Anne Frank
A series of lesson plans based upon the movie and a variety of other texts. Includes homework handouts and bibliography.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This site contains several exhibits about the Holocaust. Be sure to click on "For Teachers" for links to valuable, free resources to support teaching this subject.

Voices of the Holocaust
Designed for 9th graders who already have a working knowledge of the Holocaust, this site has 28 oral history testimonies gathered from men and women living in Britain today, together with associated background text, biographies, information, teacher resources, and student activities.

Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
Information, online exhibits, teaching resources, professional development, and teaching units accompanied by sensitive and wise suggestions for dealing with the material in an educational setting.

Yes, Virginia, there was a Holocaust
An 8th grade interdisciplinary unit exploring persecution during World War II. This 19-page document requires Adobe Reader.