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Faces of Courage: Lesson Plan

(Updated on 9/30/2002)

lsnpln_FacesLesson Plan for
Faces of Courage: Teenagers Who Resisted
by Sally Rogow, Ed.D.


  • Develop an understanding the importance of resistance in the face of oppression.
  • Develop an understanding of discrimination and exclusion.
  • Recognition of the many young people who bravely resisted the Nazis and who risked their own lives to rescue others.

Teaching Strategy:

Edelweiss Pirates and Annaliese

  1. Present and discuss the enormous pressures imposed on German young people to conform to Nazi doctrine.
  2. Discuss the issue of bullying and why it was so common in Nazi Youth groups for conformity.
  3. Discuss the differences in Nazi attitudes towards girls and boys and the pressures on young German girls to conform.
  4. Discuss how the Nazis violated the rights of their own people with their policies.
  5. Discuss how racial propaganda was used to perpetuate the idea of “Aryan” superiority.

Louise and Jacob

  1. Discuss what life was like in hiding with no adults to provide food or shelter?
  2. Discuss the importance of personal identity in survival. How did these young people maintain their Jewish identity?
  3. Discuss the realities of hiding and the importance of being part of a group.
  4. Discuss how the Nazis used the men of the occupied countries as laborers in Germany and other occupied lands.
  5. Discuss how Jacob’s determination in a hostile environment helped him to survive.

Jacques Lusseyran and Jean:

  1. Discuss the difficulties of organizing effective resistance in France in World War II.
  2. Present information about French collaboration with the Nazis.
  3. Present and discuss what the Nazi occupation meant for the people in Paris.

Karl and Noni:

  1. Present background information.Nazi racial and genetic theories made outcasts of young people with disabilities. Thousands were murdered by starvation, poisoning and gassing in Germany’s psychiatric hospitals and institutions in which many people with disabilities were forced to live. Use your judgement in describing the euthanasia program.
  2. Discuss attitudes towards people with disabilities and how exclusion and discrimination isolates people with disabilities.


  1. Discuss the reasons why Gypsies were persecuted by the Nazis.
  2. Explore the role of Gypsies in the Resistance movement.
  3. Explore the reasons why so little attention is being given to the persecution of the Gypsies by the Nazis.


  1. Explore the importance of the Greek Resistance.
  2. Discuss the status of women in Greek society.
  3. Explore Nazi attitudes towards the Greek people.
  4. Explore the role of young people in the Greek resistance.


  1. Explore how the rescue of the Jews helps to mobilize the Danish resistance.
  2. Explore the reasons for the determination of the Danish people to rescue the Jewish population.
  3. Discuss the role of the Danish church and government leaders in the rescue of Jewish people.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why was it so difficult to organize resistance during the Nazi occupation?
  2. Why were bullies so dominant in Nazi Youth groups?
  3. Why did the French government collaborate with the Nazis?
  4. Why do you think everyone knew about the American pilot in the small French farming village?
  5. Why were the families of children and young people with disabilities so powerless during the Nazi era in Germany?
  6. Do you think attitudes have changed towards people with disabilities?
  7. What is the importance of learning about rescuers and resistors?
  8. Are these stories relevant to changing attitudes about people with disabilities?
  9. Why is so little known about resistance groups in Germany?


“Euthanasia”, defined as “Mercy killing”..It was the euphemism for the mass murder of thousands of people with disabilities in Nazi Germany.

Thinking skills

  1. Comprehension of the nature of discrimination based on race, religion or physical or mental disability or difference.
  2. Understanding of the plight of resistors in Germany and countries occupied by the Nazis.
  3. Understanding the risks of joining organized resistance groups.


Dornblaser, Irene L. Land That I Love: The Escape of a Nazi Youth. Columbus, Ohio, Warthurg Press, 194

Hoffman, Peter, The History of the German Resistance. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.1988.

Lusseyran, Jacques, And There was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, Blind hero of the French Resistance. New York, Little Brown and Co. 1963.

Perrault,G. and Azema, P. Paris Under the Occupation. New York City:The Vendome Press, 1989

Peukert, D. (1987) Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition and Racism in Everyday Life. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Rings, W. Life With The Enemy: Collaboration and Resistance in Hitler’s Europe 1939-1945, 1982. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1092

Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey, Isabel Fonseca. Vintage Books, Division of Random House, NY, 1995.

Gypsies of the World: A Journey into the Hidden World of Gypsy Life and Culture, Neboojsa Bato Tomasevic and Raijko Djuric, NY Henry Holt. 1988

Crossing, Jan Yoors, NY Simon and Shuster, 1971

Gypsies An Illustrated History, Jean Pierre Ligeois, Al Saqi Books, London, England, 1986

Harrington, Lyn, Greece & The Greeks, Thomas Nelson, New York, 1962
Hart, Janet, New Voices in the Nation: Women and the Greek Resistacne, 1941-1964. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1996

Darkness Over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of Jews, by Ellen Levine, Holiday House, New York, 2000
The Rescue of the Danish Jews: Moral Courage Under Stress, Leo Goldberger,(Ed.) NY: NYU Press.1987