Danelle Egan's Mini-Unit for Holocaust Educator conference Oct

Danelle Egan
Newtown Middle School
The following lessons are ones that I created for pre-reading activities or a whole unit prior to
reading any kind of Holocaust memoir. My school uses the Holocaust memoir In My Hands by
Irene Gut Opdyke. I included a works cited page at the end to show the resources I use, and as
a reference for anyone looking for materials mentioned in the five activities below.
Below are the aspects we look at in my class prior to learning about the actual events of the
Germany 1933-1939
Focus on:
 Anti-Semitism
 Scapegoats and Stereotypes
 Propaganda
 Fear
 History, Law, and Societal Issues
We read, discuss, and examine a variety of sources:
 Primary Sources
 Historical Documents
 Articles
 Diary excerpts
 Online exhibits from USHMM
 Video Interviews and documentaries
Common Core Objectives met for 8th Grade Language Arts:
• RI.8.1. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says
explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RI.8.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the
text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
• RI.8.3. Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals,
ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).
RI.8.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including
figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on
meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
W.8.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and
information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
W.8.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style
are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
W.8.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the
relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate
with others.
W.8.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and
SL.8.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and
teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas
and expressing their own clearly.
L.8.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when
writing or speaking.
Activity One:
On-line Resources from USHMM.org
Samples of Activities used with Sources on Edmodo or can be
used on any on-line discussion site:
1. USHMM Propaganda Exhibit
How can propaganda affect a person’s mindset when they are constantly
exposed to it?
USHMM: Kristallnacht: The November 1938 Pogroms
**What is something you learned about your link- it could be something you
didn't know, something that disturbed or moved you. How does it relate to the
autobiography excerpt we read today in class? How does it relate to our Unit
question? Be sure to name the link you looked at.
2. USHMM: Life in the Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust
Examine the artifacts on the link I posted. These artifacts are from the USHMM
exhibit called "Life in the Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust."
In the words of the USHMM: "These artifacts are silent witnesses to the history of
the Holocaust. Each has a story to tell. Click on them to examine them."
You must click on 5 of the artifacts. Read the story for each artifact. Then post on
here which artifact affected you the most. Maybe it was the saddest, the most
interesting, the most shocking....Explain which artifact you chose and why. Also, if
you had to tell someone else about the artifact, what would you say?
Activity TWO:
Objective- Students will evaluate and examine the documentary for evidence to
support the question: “How Could the Holocaust Happen?”
Materials Used:
“Heil Hitler! Confessions of a Hitler Youth” HBO Documentary
Teacher Generated Worksheet- see next page
Students will compare motivation in today’s society for a teenager to do
something vs. the motivations we saw presented in yesterday’s reading of
“Serving Mein Fuhrer” through a short answer response. We will then share as a
1. Complete the initiation activity. Students will share their perspectives on
the motivations today vs. then.
2. Students will receive the hand-out called “Documentary Analysis” and we
will complete the first step- learning the term “Fanaticism.”
3. Students will watch the video and complete the questions as they watch.
The purpose is to gather evidence for the Critical Analysis paper.
4. In groups, students will answer the questions #8-10. These questions
require appraisals and conclusions and students will work together to
make this happen.
5. We will discuss the answers to the questions as a class. In whole group
discussion, we will apply our new knowledge and our previous knowledge
to help us assess today’s learning.
Closure: Students will complete #11 on a separate piece of paper. We will share
our response the next day as an opening activity. Students will turn in their
response to me as they leave. I will read the responses to help me assess student
synthesis of the entire lesson.
Documentary Analysis: “Confessions of a Hitler Youth”
Look for evidence for the essential question: How Could the
Holocaust Happen?
Vocabulary Word:
wildly excessive or irrational devotion, dedication, or enthusiasm
Fanatical (adj.), fanatic (n)
Try a sentence using any form of the word above that helps to show the
meaning. __________________________________________________
As you watch the video, jot down bullet answers to the questions. Evidence
from this video can be cited in your critical analysis paper.
1. What kinds of things did German children learn about in school?
2. How did the Nazis make children believe that Jews were bad?
3. How did Heck feel about the deportation of the Jews?
4. How did the Hitler Youth help prepare for the war effort?
5. How did the Hitler Youth feel about death? How does this tie in to the
vocabulary word fanaticism?
6. How did Heck first feel about the films of the concentration camps?
7. How did Heck feel about Hitler Youth after the Nuremberg trials?
The following quotes and questions will be analyzed either in a group or for
8. “Out of millions of basically innocent children, Hitler and his regime
succeeded in creating a generation of potential monsters.” What does
this mean? Why does Heck say this?
9. Why does Alfons Heck feel a holocaust could happen again?
“Children are like empty vessels. You can fill them with good…
you can fill them with evil…you can fill them with hate… and you can
fill them with compassion.”
What does this mean? Why does Heck say this?
A Child Of Hitler: Germany In The Days When God
Wore A Swastika
This is the title of the autobiography Alfons Heck wrote about his time in Hitler Youth. What
does the title mean? Why do you think Heck chose this title? How does it relate to the
vocabulary word: fanaticism?
Activity Three:
Reading with Purpose: Unit One- “How Could the Holocaust Happen?”
Objective: You are reading these passages of Jewish teenagers’ memories of life before
and during the Holocaust to analyze their experiences. 1. As you read, highlight or
underline the words or actions that they experienced showing anti-Semitism,
scapegoating, or stereotyping. Source: www.USHMM.org
2. After reading, complete the chart and answer the RACE question at the end.
 Samuel Gruber
Born: 1913, Podhajce, Poland
Describes a German girl's reaction to learning that he was Jewish [Interview: 1991]
And I was sitting by the table and there was a young girl, a German girl. And I was talking fluently
German. I spoke to her, and she spoke to me and she, I saw she likes me, she talks to me and then she
started talking about Jews, that because of the Jews the war broke out, that because of the Jews this this
and this. I asked her a plain question: "Did you ever saw a Jew?" She said, "No I never saw." I said, "How
you know what it...?" [and she said] "Oh! Hitler said that they are killers they are this they are that. And
they have horns," she said. "They have horns. Jews have horns." And I said, "Listen darling, I am a Jew.
And I have no horns." She almost died. I couldn't believe it what kind of faces she made then and
she...she ran out from the house and she was so excited and saw this. Then she came back and said,
"You are lying to me. That's impossible," she said. "You couldn't be it." I was a good-looking young fellow,
in a in a uniform and--she couldn't believe it. And that was the...the image of the Jews. It was
only...they...they didn't know even who a Jew is. But the image of a Jew was, for them, something
that...terrific was with horns or some devil or something. A Jew is...is not a normal person.
 Hanne Hirsch Liebmann
Born: 1924, Karlsruhe, Germany
Describes harassment and anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany [Interview: 1990]
One of my other memories is the boycott of April 1933, where our show windows were plastered with
"Jew" "Jew" "DON'T GO TO THE JEW!" And so on and so forth. These are really some of my childhood
memories. Family life was great. Outside the family, it was not so good. You were insulted in the street
many times. You were called "dirty Jew." Things like that. For several years, I did have Gentile girlfriends
and, of course, under the pressure of the Nazi time they could no longer associate with me, and I would
not dare associate with them.
 Bella Jakubowicz Tovey
Born: 1926, Sosnowiec, Poland
Describes anti-Semitic remarks made as she was marched into the Graeben camp [Interview: 1990]
I was sent to a, a factory. They were making... they were making thread out of flax. It was, I am sure, for uniforms or
clothing. I remember a few things. I remember being walked down the street when we were...we were put on wagons
and sent into Germany and then we had to walk through a little town to Graeben where the camp was, and we were
of course walking on the street, never on the sidewalks. And the Germans were lining the streets watching us, and
what I do remember is that they were surprised. We were still...we had come out of our homes so we were still
wearing our clothing, we were not in prison garb, and we were picked for good looks, if you will, good teeth, a certain
amount of strength, you know, and some of us were very good-looking girls and women. I was, and we were
ranging...I was at that point sixteen, some of us were seventeen, eighteen. There were some women in their very
early twenties, and some were really very pretty. And one of the things I remember was the astonishment. They
were...the Germans were standing on the sidewalks and they were saying, "These are Jewish women? They're so
pretty. They look so...so normal."
Name of Teenager:
Example of Anti-Semitism he/she
Example of scapegoating or
stereotyping he/she experienced
Samuel Gruber
Hanne Hirsch
Bella Jakubowicz
RACE Question- How do you think these experiences would have affected you if you went through them? Would
they have weakened or strengthened you? Explain with examples.
Activity Four: (For use with an on-line classroom format such
as Edmodo)
"The Hangman" by Maurice Ogden (Use the video cartoon from Youtube and post the link)
You will pick ONE of the following questions to answer. You will also read someone
else's response for a question and comment to them about their response. RACE (Ogden).
1. What is the author's message in the poem? Apply the message to current events in the
news and the events of the Holocaust.
2. What does the riddle mean that the Hangman says in the poem? What is the author's
purpose in using the riddle?
3. What is the symbolism with the gallows growing, "Fed by the blood beneath the chute,
The gallows-tree had taken root" (Ogden)? Apply the symbolism to real life.
Respond by hitting reply. We are posting so all can see.
Activity Five: (For use with an on-line classroom format such
as Edmodo)
1. We looked at three poems for our mini-unit.
-"First They Came for the Jews"
-"The Hangman"
-"Not My Business"
What is the common theme of the poems? RACE using one of the poems
2. Being able to determine author's message is very important. All of these poems have a very
similar message. What is the author's message in these poems? RACE
Works Cited
"36 Questions about the Holocaust." The Museum of Tolerance. Web. 18 Jan. 2012.
Ayer, Eleanor. "Serving Mein Fuhrer." Voices of the Holocaust. Logan, IA: Perfection Learning,
2000. Print.
Geier, Arnold. "Broken Glass Broken Lives." Voices of the Holocaust. Logan, IA: Perfection
Learning, 2000. Print.
Heil Hitler! Confessions of a Hitler Youth. Perf. Alfons Heck. HBO, 1991. Web. 10 Jan. 2012.
The Holocaust: In Memory of Millions. Prod. Discovery Education. Discovery Education, 2000.
Discovery Education. Web. 10 Jan. 2012.
Klarsfeld, Serge. Remembering Georgy: Letters from the House of Izieu. New York: Aperture,
2001. Print.
"Kristallnacht: The November 1938 Pogroms." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <http://www.ushmm.org/>.
"Life in Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust." United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <http://www.ushmm.org/>.
""The Preface, The Prologue, Creating Context"" Introduction. Voices of the Holocaust. Logan,
IA: Perfection Learning, 2000. Print.
Richter, Hans Peter. ""The Ball"" Voices of the Holocaust. Logan, IA: Perfection Learning,
2000. Print.
Witness: Voices from the Holocaust. Stories to Remember, 1999. Discovery Education. Web. 10
Jan. 2012.
Wiviott, Meg, and Josée Bisaillon. Benno and the Night of Broken Glass. Minneapolis, MN:
Kar-Ben Pub., 2010. Print.