Topic: Holocaust

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Name: Julia H Schoolenberg

Content Area: World History

Topic: Holocaust

Grade: Level: 10th

TEKS Addressed:

c.7.D - analyze major issues of World War II, including the Holocaust; the internment of German, Italian, and Japanese Americans and Executive Order 9066; and the development of conventional and atomic weapons;

c.12.c - explain the major causes and events of World War II, including the German invasions of Poland and the Soviet Union, the Holocaust, Japanese imperialism, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Normandy landings, and the dropping of the atomic bombs.

c.22.D - identify examples of genocide, including the Holocaust and genocide in the Balkans, Rwanda, and Darfur;


During the course of history, there have been many different populations that had been attacked for one reason or another. There have been atrocities throughout the world, during every time in human history, and many were supported by the government at that time. Almost every history class in secondary school covers some of these horrific acts of mankind. One of them is the Holocaust.

The Holocaust is an important topic of study within history because it is the culmination of millennia-long hatred and persecution of a certain people for their simple belief in a religion. I believe this topic to be important for students and myself to remind us the cruelty that humans are capable of and the lengths to which they will go to accomplish a specific goal. In my opinion, it is important for students to know this information but they have to be mentally ready for it. I believe the TEKS do a good job of making sure to choose an age that is appropriate to the information that is to be taught to them.

The texts chosen cover a broad spectrum of people affected by the Holocaust in a multitude of mediums. My choices were to create a large diversity so that every student will have the ability to connect in some way to the travesty. The decisions made are relevant because it can also help those students connect that might have a more difficult time connecting. For example: students who are English language learners and students who are in special education. I hope that through these texts my students are inspired in their own way to create and share the stories around them and from within themselves, whether they be horrific or encouraging.

1. Molen, G.R. (Producer), Lustig, B. (Producer), & Spielberg, S. (Producer and Director).

(1993). Schindler’s list. USA: Amblin Entertainment.

Text type: Movie

Summary: The award-winning film begins at the start of WWII and when many Jews were pushed into living in the ghettoes set up by the Nazi regime. The main character of the film is Oskar Schindler, a German officer in the Nazi Party. Schindler, or as he is also known Herr Direktor is entrusted to set up a factory and create enamelware at the lowest cost possible. Schindler hires Jews from the ghetto to do the work because he knows he can pay them less. The main aid in the film, who helps Schindler in the business, is named Itzhak Stern. Stern helps Schindler get the funding he (Schindler) needs for the factory. Also, Stern helps to save the lives of thousands of Jews in the ghetto by deeming them important to the German war effort instead of being shipped off to one of the concentration camps. Soon though, the main antagonist Amon Goeth shows up and calls for the liquidation of the ghetto with everyone being sent to the Plaszòw concentration camp. During the liquidation process, many Jews are shot and killed. Schindler sees all of this and it affects him deeply. While at Plaszòw, Schindler is able to get a sub-camp set up to improve his ability of saving his former workers from the gas chambers. At the turn of WWII, when Germany starts to lose, the camp is set to be liquidated and everyone is supposed to be sent to Auschwitz. Schindler bribes Goeth and is able to redirect Schindler’s workers to a different location in Schindler’s hometown. The people saved are listed on what becomes the title of the movie “Schindler’s List.” The movie is based on the true-life story of Oskar Schindler who helped to save more than a thousand Polish Jews from extermination.

Analysis/Evaluation: While the movie may not be appropriate for all audiences due to some of the graphic scenes, overall it depicts quite well the atrocities that had befallen the Jewish population of Kraków, Poland. What makes the movie such an important choice is that it gives students a visual of what was happening to the Jews in Nazi Germany. Also, it shows that not everyone that was part of the German government at the time was evil and had a choice. I chose this resource because the story is overwhelmingly moving and can really help with the visual representation of the Holocaust. I will use sections of this film to show different aspects of life during the time in the ghettoes as well as within the camps. How will you use the film? Is it appropriate for all students?

2. The Voice/Vision Archive. (1984). Abraham Pasternak (Video 31). Voice/Vision Holocaust

Survivor Oral History Archive. Retrieved from:

Text type: Video interview

Summary: In the heart-wrenching true story of a survivor of the Holocaust, Abraham Pasternak tells of his harrowing journey from a small town in Transylvania to one of the most well-known concentration camps – Auschwitz. Abe Pasternak had over 40 members of his family before the start of WWII but by the end he was one out of the only four remaining to have survived and see the liberation from the camps. Abe Pasternak’s interview is just one of the quickly fading groups of survivors to have been able to tell his story. In the interview, Mr. Pasternak speaks about the conditions of the camp, the treatment of the population within these camps, and why he believes he was able to survive and others were not.

Analysis/Evaluation: The video is important because telling these survival stories helps to make sure it will not happen again. The reason why I would use this video is because I have first-hand experience listening to Mr. Pasternak speak. I remember how moving it is to listen to someone go through such a tragedy and speak about their experiences with such clarity.

3. Bitton-Jackson, Livia. (1999). I have lived a thousand years: Growing up in the holocaust.

New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Text type: Young Adult Novel

Nice addition to your library 

Summary: This young adult book is the true, life story of Livia Bitton-Jackson, born Elli L. Friedmann, from Czechoslovakia. In 1944, Nazi Germans invaded the country of Czechoslovakia when Livia was just 13 years old. Two months after the start of the occupation, the Jewish population was forced into the Dunaszerdahely ghetto, where Livia and her family were forced to go. Soon after arriving at the camp, Livia’s father, along with all other men between the ages of 18-45, was shipped off to a forced labor camp. That would be the last time the family would ever see him. The Jewish populace was all made to wear the Jewish star marking each one as a Jew for all to see. Two weeks after the removal of all those men, Livia and her family are sent to Auschwitz. In a very scary act, Livia’s aunt destroys the family’s most prized possessions before the deportation to Auschwitz so that the Nazis would not be able to make money off of their belongings. Livia and her mother are moved around to different locations and miraculously survive. Livia’s relationship with her mother is tested time and again but the two manage to stay strong and help each other survive.

Analysis/Evaluation: A story told by a teenage girl can be very important because it can create a sense of buy-in for the students who are teenagers themselves. Also, many people know what it is like to be singled out for being different. This is much more so for the teenage population that is focused heavily on appearance and acceptance than any other age group. When Livia talks about how she hates being singled out and differentiated, I think the students will be able to relate that back to their own lives. Moreover, I believe the students will be able to compare and contrast their relationship with their own parents with the relationship between Livia and her mother. Most of my students will be able to read this text. It is written for students at the 8th grade reading level. Some students might have a more difficult time with the text but they should be able to use context clues and a dictionary to fully understand. What type of reader can access this text?

4. Fogelman, Eva. (1995). Conscience and courage: Rescuers of jews Jews during the holocaust.

New York: Random House.

Text type: Psychological narrative

Summary: The novel is a collection of stories of those brave heroes who helped to save the lives of some of the Jewish population from extermination during the Holocaust. The stories have a wide range of exactly how they helped Jews; one story is of providing sanctuary for a night while others helped to hide Jewish people for years. The stories involve people such as Stefnaia Podgorska Burzminska who helped to hide 13 Jews in her house when she was just a teenager. Another story involves a man who would continuously move so the Nazis would not take the three Jewish kids that he was taking care of. Other stories include those that are well known from the hider of Anne Frank whose name is Miep Gies to the role of the titular character from Schindler’s List – Oskar Schindler. Throughout all the stories, the author Eva Fogelman psycho-analyzes just why these heroes did what they did.

Analysis/Evaluation: This novel, I think, is important because it tells another side of the story that many forget or just leave out . The stories can help motivate students to not be bystanders but to stand up for the things that are important to them. Also, the stories teach about altruism and the common good, which are always important tools to teach to people of any age. There are many atrocities occurring all over the globe from the Darfur region in Sudan, female infanticide in China and North Korea, and the exploitation of child trafficking everywhere. In reading stories of others who stood up against monsters, it can only help to show others that one act of kindness can change the world.

5. Wiviott, Meg. (2010). Benno and the night of broken glass. Minneapolis: Kar-Ben Publishing.

Text type: Children’s Story

Summary: The story is a children’s book and it shows the transformation of Berlin through the eyes of a cat. Benno is just an average orange tabby cat that leads a very comfortable life. On Saturdays, Benno hangs out with the Adler family for Shabbat dinner. Sophie Adler, a young Jewish girl, likes to share her dinner with Benno. On Sunday afternoons Benno spends his time with the Schmidts getting scraps from the young German girl there named Inge. During the week Benno watches the comings and goings of the people around him in his neighborhood. One night though everything changed. A mob of men in brown shirts and black boots set fire to a mountain of books in the square and then go around terrorizing the surrounding area. These men, also known as the Brown Shirts, were a gang of Hitler hoodlums who were sent to destroy the peace between the Jewish population and everyone else. The men set fire to synagogues, broke windows of known Jewish businesses, and even killed nearly a hundred Jewish men on a night that was later to be known as Kristallnacht. The next day Benno sees that the Adler family has disappeared while the Schmidts, a Christian family, were left completely alone. Nothing was to be the same after that awful night.

Analysis/Evaluation: The picture book about the night of Kristallnacht and the changes it created in Germany are very important for students to understand. It’s imperative that students realize the lead up to the Holocaust and the extermination of 11 million people came from a combination of calculated moves and the threat of terror and violence from the average citizen. I think some students will be able to relate this to their own lives and that one should not give into a mob mentality. Also, the feeling of always being constantly afraid of others can be relatable to some teenagers. The story is a good example because it gives the view from an unbiased source that just sees the world as it is while still creating emotions within the reader. I believe this is important because it gives the students a completely different view than what a grown-up might see. Well-written 

6. Spiegelman, Art. (1991). Maus: A survivor's tale, parts I & II. New York: Pantheon Books.

Text type: Graphic Novel

Summary: In the graphic novels, the story moves between two different periods of time. The first is of the son Art Spiegelman who is trying to capture the story of his father Vladek during the 1930s and through the Holocaust. The second is Vladek’s life during the rise of Hitler and his emotional tale of trying to keep his family together while escaping Nazi persecution at every turn. In the first time period that starts in the 1960s, Art Spiegelman attempts to come to terms with the loss of his mother after her suicide. Also, Art is trying to reconnect with his father with whom he had lost contact with after the suicide. In the other time period that beings in 1930s Poland, Vladek Spiegelman is a young man who marries Anja, a wealthy Jewish woman. Vladek’s story follows them and shows that Anja had mental problems before the Holocaust ever happened. The story also unfolds to talk about an older brother Art would have had, Richieu, if Art’s aunt hadn’t of poisoned Richieu. She did so under the assumption he would not have survived being taken by the Nazis and sent to one of the camps.

Analysis/Evaluation: The Maus graphic novels are an important piece to put into the collection of other choices. The depictions within the novels give a different context and feeling than the previous books. The choice of animals for certain groups is engaging with the Nazis being cats, the Jews being mice, and the ethnic Poles being pigs. Many students will know the basic traits of these animals and be able to relate them to the depictions in the novels. Also, I believe because of its fast-paced structure with the feeling of fear interwoven throughout the novels, students are going to be very intrigued and want to read it all. Furthermore, the novel talks about out-smarting a group that is trying to oppress one another and I think many teenage students will be able to relate to that mentality. Bueno!

7. Olère, David. David Olère drawings & paintings. Retrieved from: Another great find!

Text type: Website

Summary: David Olère was a Polish-born Jewish artist that grew up and lived throughout Europe including Warsaw, Berlin, and ending up in Paris. He helped to create costumes and artwork for Paramount Pictures. On February 20th, 1943 he was arrested for being Jewish in one of the many roundups that had been going on. He was sent to Auschwitz and put in the sub-camp of Birkenau. Olère was put in the group of the Sonderkommando that was in charge of clearing out the gas chambers and taking the bodies to the crematoriums to be burned. One of the duties assigned to him specifically was of illustrator for the S.S. Olère drew what happened within the gas chambers and crematoria. He was able to show how they work because no pictures exist from this time showing the people being gassed and the bodies being burned. The art survives to this day along with his wife and son who continue to show Auschwitz and the atrocities that occurred through his artwork.

Analysis/Evaluation: The artwork created by David Olère is incredibly moving and very detailed. The drawings help to portray the crushing emotional weight of the Holocaust on its victims. I think this would help students see the Holocaust in a different light. Also, it would help reach those students who connect better emotionally through artwork than the written word. Furthermore, it might help the students, who are English language learners, connect to the teachings.

8. Streicher, Julius. (1923-1945). Der stürmer. Retrieved from:

Text type: Website

Summary: One of the newspapers put out by the Nazis, Der Stürmer was a tabloid that was published every week. The periodical was the less serious counterpart to the Völkischer Beobachter. Der Stürmer was extremely anti-Semitic and would continuously run different cartoons depicting the Jewish population as evil, money-hungry killers of dreams and little Christian babies. The tabloid also helped to promote the hatred of all groups that the Nazis deemed different and willing to get rid of but the Jews were hated and abused above all others.

Analysis/Evaluation: Just like many other political cartoons, these will be used in class to highlight how one group denigrated another group. Also, it will create conversations as to how the Nazis were trying to portray the Jews and why would theythey would make those choices. Furthermore, the students can compare and contrast the anti-Semitic cartoons from when the paper first was published and over the lifetime of the periodical. Great start. Specific examples from the text would enhance many of your analyses.

9. BBC. (2007). The world at war special presentation – Propaganda against Jews in Germany

1930s. Retrieved from:

Text type: YouTube clip

Summary: In the short video clip it shows how Nazis used propaganda to other groups that they considered unfavorable. One of the ways they did so is with edicts denoting these groups as strangers or foreigners that cannot be a complete German citizen. The clip mainly focuses on how Hitler and the Nazis focused most of their propaganda on the Jewish population so that the German population would know whom to blame for their troubles and fears. Also, it shows how Nazis used “science” to “prove” that the Jewish people were inherently different and genetically inferior to the Aryan race. Furthermore, the clip portrays the traditions that many Germans would have but that Jews would not, creating a wider expanse in differentiation the German citizen from the Jewish citizen.

Analysis/Summary: The clip is important in highlighting some of the many steps that the Nazis took to further their want of the “Final Solution” to the Jewish problem. The video has much of the vocab that would be covered in the lesson such as blood libel, pogroms and the Elders of Zion. The coverage of the pseudo-science used to “prove” that Jews were inferior is important because the students can see just how far the Nazis wanted to go in othering the Jews. Many students know what it is like to be made fun of, especially of those physical traits that they cannot help, so this might help them to relate to the cartoons which also denigrate the differences of the Jewish citizen compared to the German citizen.

10. World War II: Crash Course World History #38. Retrieved from:

Text type: YouTube video

Summary: The video gives a global context to WWII and just how the Holocaust fit into that time. The movie very succinctly shows how the extermination of the Jews was planned with much precision and calculation. As well as giving the reason that the land was needed by the growing German population. So all the groups that were not considered needed the land to be ethnically German needed to be rid from the world. Moreover, the clip does a good job in comparing and contrasting the strategies between and within the Axis powers and the Allied powers. Furthermore, the video illuminates the future happenings in the world after what happened in WWII.

Analysis/Evaluation: Instead of the usual long, drawn out clips and movies normally used to portray WWII and the Holocaust, the clip keeps a fast-paced well-timed script that most students will easily be able to follow. There is also plenty of use of both humor and humbleness to keep the students involved. The vocabulary works quite well because the students will be able to follow it without any trouble. Moreover, the style including colors and sounds will be helpful to retain the attention of those watching.

Reflection on the Collecting Process

In starting my findings for the classroom library, I first thought of the

information I already knew. I knew I wanted to use some of the information that had

previously garnered my attention and that I found most interesting. Immediately I

put down a video recorded interview with Abe Pasternak because I had previously

heard him speak live and his story is heartbreakingly real. Another resource chosen

was Schindler’s List because it was a movie at least some of the students would

know and it can really help with the visuals of what life was like during that time in

history. Finally, one of the pieces from my memory was of Maus I and Maus II that I

remembered from a class I took a few years ago in college. I remembered how

striking and different the graphic novels were compared to much of what I had

previously read.

After my initial research in my own memory, I went to the first place I always

look for new information in literature that is I was able to limit my

search to more young adult and children’s books for different perspectives. I also

wanted to choose younger pieces to create a buy-in for the students reading them,

especially those chosen with the leading characters being young themselves. After, I also did some research on YouTube looking for clips that I could use,

were relevant, and not too long. I made sure to also use Google because it has so

much information. I did find a couple of pieces such as the Olere paintings and a

Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda film, “The Eternal Jew,”I might add later on in the


During the course of the research I did keep hitting roadblocks of

information that I could not use or did not work. One of the pages that did not work

for me was Wikipedia it had a lot of background information but did not give me any

good leads. Sometimes Google would not work also because I wanted to use the

diary of a Nazi official but could only find it in German. Another problem was the

same problem many have which is it can take quite a bit of time to vet the

information. Finally, it was very frustrating when I believed I had found a good piece

and I think it’ll work only to find out that it will not in this particular instance. For

example a children’s book called “The Journey That Saved Curious George” would be

great to use for the time period of WWII but does not work in covering the


Reflection on the Library as a Whole

The library I have chosen will help round out the knowledge that I wish to

instill in my students about the Holocaust. When the students watch Schindler’s List,

they will understand how the Nazis were able to treat the Jewish populace like it is

portrayed in the movie. Stories of the rescuers will help to show that people should

not stand idly by while someone is being attacked just for their beliefs or for just

being different. The drawings that they will view will evoke emotions and the

students will have the ability to understand the Holocaust in a multitude of

mediums. Furthermore, the WWII “Crash Course” video will help to bring all the

information together and show the students how the actions all over the world fit


Also, the library will help many of the students. One of the ways is creating

buy-in because perhaps the books do not work but the imagery will work. Another

way is that it will create a global perspective and not just a U.S.-centric mentality.

For those students that are English language learners the pictures and cartoons

should help with the understanding, especially if some of the choices might be, at

that moment, out of their depth. As well, for students with special needs, the

younger books and imagery can help give them perspective that they might not

otherwise understand.

One of my goals in creating this library is possibly taking the interview with

Abe Pasternak and the book “I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing up in the

Holocaust” and compare and contrast these two narratives. M oreover those

students will watch more of the “Crash Course” videos to learn more about history.

Overall, I hope it will lead students to search for other information and resources on

the Internet. If they do find different pieces that they find interesting, I would want

the students to let me know and I can look into adding it to my collection. This can

help make the students feel important and show that they have an integral role in

the classroom.

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