These lesson plans introduce key concepts and information to students. Grounded in historical context, the lessons utilize primary source materials from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s collections.
Overview of the Holocaust
Organized around a Museum-produced 38-minute documentary, The Path to Nazi Genocide, these materials and discussion questions provide students with an introduction to the history of the Holocaust.
This lesson is structured around a multi-layered wall timeline that encourages critical thinking about the relationship between Nazi policy, World War II, historical events, and individual experiences during the Holocaust.
- Years, 1933–1945 (PDF)
- Individual Profile Cards (PDF)
- Laws and Decrees (PDF)
- Historical Events (PDF)
Holocaust Encyclopedia Articles
The following related articles contain critical learning questions that can be used when discussing article content with students.
History of Antisemitism and the Holocaust
This lesson focuses on the history of antisemitism and its role in the Holocaust to better understand how prejudice and hate speech can contribute to violence, mass atrocity, and genocide. Learning about the origins of hatred and prejudice encourages students to think critically about antisemitism today.
Racism fueled Nazi ideology and politics. To critically analyze actions taken by Nazi Germany and its collaborators requires an understanding of the concept of racism in general and Nazi racial antisemitism in particular.
Pre-World War II Jewish Life
In order to better understand what Jewish cultural and communal life was like in Europe before World War II, students search the Museum’s digital archive collections, select photographs depicting pre-war Jewish life in Europe, analyze them, and research the town(s) where the photos were taken.
Teaching Using Survivor Testimony
Incorporating survivor testimony personalizes the history, emphasizes its impact on individuals, and highlights the diversity of individual experiences. This lesson includes survivor testimony from the Museum’s collection that helps illustrate and personalize the lessons of the Holocaust.