Topics to Teach
The Museum has identified topic areas for you to consider while planning a course of study on the Holocaust.
We recommend that you introduce your students to these topics even if you have limited time to teach about the Holocaust. An introduction to the topic areas is essential for providing students with a sense of the breadth of the history of the Holocaust.
The following list of topics is available in pdf.
World War II in Europe »
Murder of the Disabled ("Euthanasia" Program)»
Persecution and Murder of Jews »
Mobile Killing Squads (Einsatzgruppen) »
Expansion of the Concentration Camp System »
Killing Centers »
Additional Victims of Nazi Persecution »
Jewish Resistance »
Non-Jewish Resistance »
World Response: United States »
Death Marches »
Consult the annotated bibliography (43 pages) at the end of Teaching about the Holocaust: A Resource Book for Educatorsfor recommended readings.
In addition to these core topic areas, we recommend that, in your courses, you provide context for the events of the Holocaust by including information about antisemitism, Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust, the aftermath of World War I, and the Nazi rise to power.
- Welcome and Introduction
- Before you start teaching
- 1. Define the term ‘Holocaust’
- 2. Contextualize the history you are teaching
- 3. Translate statistics into people
- 4. Strive for precision of language
- 5. Avoid simple answers to complex history
- 6. Just because it happened does not mean it was inevitable
- 7. Try to avoid stereotypical descriptions
- 8. Strive for balance in establishing whose perspective informs your study of the Holocaust
- 9. Make careful distinctions about sources of information
- 10. Do not romanticize history to engage students’ interest
- 11. Be sensitive to appropriate written and audiovisual content
- 12. Select appropriate learning activities
- 13. Reinforce the objectives of your lesson plan
- 14. Avoid comparisons of pain
- Topics to Teach
- Sample Lessons
- Guest Lecture: Dr. William Meinecke Jr. discusses the topic "Nazi Ideology and Victims of the Holocaust and Nazi Persecution."