I heard that…
Debunking the myth that the Jews were the only ones who were victimized in the Holocaust
BEFORE CONSTRUCTING THE LESSON
Brief Synopsis of the Lesson:
Students will enter the class and complete a warm up activity which involves responding to a journal question on the handout provided:
The Nazis targeted many groups of people during the Holocaust. Write about the victim group that your table has been assigned and explain:
why you think the Nazis targeted that group of people
which ONE aspect of the ideologies listed below that they most likely used to justify their actions.
Group Assignments are:
Group 1: Soviet Prisoners of War
Group 2: Poles
Group 3: Jehovah’s Witnesses
Group 4: Handicapped
Group 5: Homosexuals
Group 6: Gypsies
Cooperative groups will be formed and students will be given one packet with artifacts in it for analysis. The number of cooperative groups will depend on the size of the class. Each packet will contain information about one victim group who was targeted by the Nazis. Using an Evidence Analysis sheet with discussion questions, students will analyze each artifact and decide which Nazi Ideology was the reason for targeting that group. Whole class discussion will conclude the class as students discuss what information they learned about the other victims of the Holocaust. Students will wrap up class with an exit card where they answer an assessment question about the lesson.
This lesson will need to be adapted to different levels of students and different types of schools, such as the ones listed below. Look for the modifications within the lesson plan for different students and situations.
How this lesson fits into a course:
Middle School: Human rights are used as an educational strand in our eighth grade World Cultures Curriculum. In this way students are taught to think critically about human situations around the world. The Holocaust is taught as a unique example of human rights violations within this structure. Students often bring misinformation to the study of the Holocaust. An example of this is the belief that Jews were the only victims of the Holocaust. While all Jews were victims not all victims were Jewish. This lesson helps students to identify other victims of the Holocaust and analyze some of the reasons for their victimizarion.
The lesson can be used at most points within a unit.I use it within the first 2 weeks of my 6-8 week Holocaust unit. This lesson would follow an overview of the Holocaust and the Nazi rise to power and the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws.
High School English: World history and cultures are the focus of our tenth-grade English classes in North Carolina, and the Holocaust plays a large part in that curriculum. Students have to prepare for a state-mandated writing test on issues facing the world such as individualism, idealism, bullying, bystanders, etc. A study of the Holocaust teaches students to think critically and write eloquently about many issues, including those listed above. While students often have had a brief introduction to the Holocaust in middle school in our county, they arrive in class with many misconceptions and completely incorrect facts. This lesson is used after a thorough introduction of the Holocaust and a study of the perpetrators and the Nazi Ideology. It serves as an introduction to the victims portion of my unit on the Holocaust and a jumping off point for discussion of the many victim groups of the Holocaust.
Alternative High School English:
As an alternative high school teacher, I can design my own curriculum. The course I am designing for the spring semester is called “Memorializing Genocide”. During the course, students will be expected to read a variety of genres including poetry, memoirs, essays and historical documents that will enable them to grasp what genocide is, how people were affected by various genocides throughout history (and today), and to see how communities have dealt with the aftermath of genocide through creating memorials. Students will also view films depicting historical events, will meet survivors, and will visit museums for more hands-on experiences dealing with genocide and the Holocaust specifically. Different writing assignments will be developed and completed by students as well, including original newspaper articles, essays, creative responses and research projects. All of the work done throughout the semester will meet the New York State English Language Arts Standards. Since the topic covers history, many of the readings and assignments will help students prepare for their history exams and curriculum.
This lesson will be used towards the beginning of our unit on the Holocaust. Students will have a chance to see that Jews were not the only targets of the Nazis, and as a result, they will be encouraged to take a closer look at some of the misconceptions they may have about the victims of the Holocaust.
Classroom preparation necessary for a successful lesson:
This lesson can be used in a few different places in a syllabus where the Holocaust is being taught. The most effective place for it to be taught would be after an introduction to the history of the Holocaust and the role of the perpetrators played. Before teaching this lesson, students should have already had some experience with evidence analysis and should have had an introduction to Nazi Ideology. This lesson could be used to introduce or conclude a segment on the victims of the Holocaust. Follow up activities should include reading accounts of the other victims from diaries and other literature sources. Though this is only a one day lesson, teachers need to add more details through readings and perhaps video for the students in subsequent lessons to provide a full picture of the plight of the other victims of the Holocaust. There is also a need for students to be familiar with some vocabulary terms in order to be able to analyze the artifacts effectively. Those words are:
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