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Teaching About Americans and the Holocaust

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Exploring the Online Exhibition

Lesson length: One to two class periods

By exploring the Americans and the Holocaust online exhibition, students will examine the motives, pressures, and fears that shaped American attitudes and responses to the threats of Nazism and the Holocaust during the 1930s and 1940s. Students will learn about actions taken at all levels of society—by the government, the media, other organizations, and individual citizens—and how opportunities for action changed over time.

This lesson promotes reflection and critical thinking about various factors that shaped attitudes and actions during that time and the factors that influence us today.

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Interpreting News of World Events 1933–1938

Lesson length: One to two class periods

By examining news coverage around three key events related to the early warning signs of the Holocaust, students will learn that information about the Nazi persecution of European Jews was available to the public. They will also consider the question of what other issues or events were competing for Americans’ attention and concern at the same time. Despite the many issues that were on their minds during the period 1933–1938, some Americans took actions to help persecuted Jews abroad, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Teaching Materials

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