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Remembering the Holocaust

This lesson plan was developed by the Office of School Services as part of the Remembering the Holocaust teachers companion guide for the secondary-level classroom. Please adapt it to fit your students' needs.

Background Information

The history of the Holocaust offers an unparalleled example of the institutionalized intolerance. An investigation of the Holocaust can heighten students' awareness of bigotry and prejudice, preparing them for a thoughtful evaluation of how ethnocentrism and racism influences contemporary conflicts. The oral history portion of this lesson reflects a survivor of the Holocaust, who immigrated to Wisconsin.

Documents

"The Netherlands." In Remembering the Holocaust, edited by Michael E. Stevens, 30-44. Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1997.   Blessing, Matt. "Application." In A Teacher's Companion Guide to Remembering the Holocaust. Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1997. View an oral history interview with survivor Herb DeLevie (PDF, 274 KB), found in "The Netherlands," section of "Remembering the Holocaust." Feel free to use it with your students.

Teachers are also free to use recently released excerpts, full transcripts and audio of Herb DeLevie's testimony from the Oral Histories: Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust online collection.

See the Teaching the Holocuast page for more classroom resources.

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Suggested Activities

  1. Many teachers assign Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl to students for units on World War II or the Holocaust. If students have already read or are reading Anne Frank's diary, consider the following assignment. Ask these students to read the oral history accounts of Herb DeLevie. Like Anne Frank and her family, DeLevie was a Dutch Jew who hid from the Germans. Have students prepare reports that compare and contrast these accounts. Students should consider subjects such as (a) the daily routine of hiding, (b) how people dealt with boredom, privacy, etc. (c) observance of religious practices and holidays, and (d) help they received from people or groups on the outside.
  2. After students have completed reading the Herb DeLevie selection/interview from Remembering the Holocaust, direct them to investigate more recent examples of ethnocide, genocide, or other human rights violations on a massive scale (Argentina, Burma, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, Kosovo Albanians). After studying one of these tragedies, assign students a short presentation or paper that compares and contrasts this event with the Holocaust. 

Additional Resources

  • The Holocaust Education Center, a division of the Wisconsin Coalition for Jewish Learning, supports a speakers bureau for classroom presentations concerning the Holocaust; provides consultation with librarians and curriculum consultants; and maintains and makes accessible a large print and video library. For more information call (414) 962-8860.
  • There is an increasing amount of high quality literature for children and young adults about the Holocaust. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's web site features a comprehensive bibliography and videography for elementary and secondary-level students. It also has an extensive listing of other related web sites. The address is www.ushmm.org
  • The State Historical Society of Wisconsin's Archives preserves and provides access to the complete oral history collection from which Remembering the Holocaust is based. Students and other researchers interested in learning more about the collection should consult the Guide to Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust: A Documentation Project of the Wisconsin Jewish Archives. This book is available from the University of Wisconsin Press.
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