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Three Minutes in Poland: A Lesson Plan

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A class picture of boys in a religious school in Nasielsk, Poland, April 1939. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum

This lesson is designed to engage students in understanding both the individuality of Jewish lives affected by or lost in the Holocaust and the cumulative effects of the Holocaust on communities. After viewing archival film footage documenting Jewish life in Nasielsk, a small town in Poland, before the German invasion in September 1939, students explore how the community changed during the Nazi occupation that followed.

Grade Level: 7–12
Subjects: Media, English/Language Arts, Social Studies
Time Required: One class period

The lesson addresses three of the Museum Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust. The lesson:

  • Contextualizes the history.
  • Translates statistics into people.
  • Makes responsible methodological choices.

We’ve organized the lesson into three components. Share the Background with your students for historical context, show the Archival Film Footage, and then ask your students to answer the Guiding Questions. We’ve also included related resources that may help you in teaching this content in your classrooms.