Individual Responsibility and Resistance During the Holocaust
Lesson (printable) PDF version »
Student Handout and Teacher's Rubric PDF version »
Laura Pritchard, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Suffolk, Virginia
Day 1: Introduce topic and project; begin research
In this first class, students participate in general brainstorming about ways people can resist those in authority. List their ideas on the board. Students typically focus on physical resistance.
Read the poem “There Were Those” by Susan Dambroff (found in Images of the Holocaust) to the class. This poem explores some of the ways individuals resisted the Nazis. The focus of this poem is not physical resistance. The poem opens up the idea of different forms of resistance.
Discuss with the class:
- Obstacles to resistance
- Different types of resistance (spiritual, physical)
- Where resistance took place (ghettos and camps, Nazi Germany)
- How different people resisted the Nazis
(The USHMM publication Resistance in the Holocaust is very helpful.)
Track the ideas on the board.
At this point, I introduce the assignment to students. I tell the class they will explore a topic related to resistance during the Holocaust and individuals who resisted. They will then have the opportunity to present their findings to the class. Divide the class into groups of two to four students (depending on class size). Hand out the project instructions (see Student Assignment Sheet Handout). Let them choose (or assign for them) topics, and let them spend the rest of class working on the project with classroom resources. The class could also spend the rest of the period in the library and/or use computers to access information. Students are encouraged to work outside class.
Day 2: Continue research
Ask students for some feedback on what they have found so far. The teacher may need to guide students to information and resources, so it is important for the teacher to be familiar with the topic and available books and Internet resources.
The students need to print out or photocopy photographs, maps, and other documents (letters, diaries, memoirs, poems, songs) to help them with their presentation.
Remind students to keep track of the information so they can complete an annotated bibliography.
Students need to decide before they leave class who is going to say what during the presentation, and what the visual is going to be. For homework, each student should complete the part for which he or she is responsible.