Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

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The Holocaust Education Program Resource Guide

wmcvr01The materials contained on this page are reproduced with the permission of the Virginia War Museum.

This resource guide is presented in its entirety. A free paper copy can be requested from the:

Virginia War Museum
9285 Warwick Bouldevard
Newport News, Virginia 23607

… The study provides an educational experience through which students can develop an
understanding of how the holocaust emerged from a progression of events. It also provides a basis from which students can draw conclusions about what society can learn from these events and how they relate to current events.

This booklet is designed to provide teachers with information and suggested activities that will help students participating in the Holocaust Education Program obtain the most from their program. It is divided into background information and pre- and post-visit activities. The information provided has been developed to support the program lecture while providing a vehicle to assist the teacher in student preparation. Post-visit activities have been designed to provide additional information sources and suggestions for teacher-led exercises. …

Dear Educator:

Before you begin the task of either teaching your students the history of the Holocaust or preparing for this program, you may want to ask yourself one simple question: Why teach Holocaust history? Is it simply to expose students to this event, or should you go beyond the facts and connect the Holocaust to other world events as well as the world they live in today?

The history of the Holocaust represents a very effective subject for the examination of basic moral issues. The Holocaust is a study in human behavior and citizenship. Through a study of the Holocaust, students can learn the value of democratic institutions and the need to nurture and protect them. Students can come to realize that silence and indifference to the suffering of others, or to the infringement of civil rights in any society, can — however unintentionally — serve to perpetuate the problems. Why should students learn this history? A study of the Holocaust helps students gain insight to many historical, social, religious, political, and economic factors which cumulatively resulted in the Holocaust. They gain a perspective on how history happens and how a convergence of factors can contribute to the disintegration of civilized values. Part of one’s responsibility as a citizen in a democracy is to learn to identify the danger signals, and know when to react.

  • The Holocaust was a watershed event, not only in the 20th century, but in the entire history of humanity.
  • The study of the Holocaust assists students in developing understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping in any society.
  • The Holocaust demonstrates how a modern nation can utilize its technological expertise and bureaucratic infrastructure to implement destructive policies ranging from social engineering to genocide.
  • A study of the Holocaust helps students think about the use and abuse of power, and the roles and responsibilities of individuals, organizations, and nations when confronted with civil rights violations.

Most students demonstrate a high level of interest in studying the Holocaust precisely because the subject raises questions of fairness, justice, individual identity, peer pressure, conformity, indifference, and obedience — issues which adolescents confront in their daily lives. It is our hope that these activities will provide you with sufficient material to stimulate your students’ interest and provide a catalyst for learning.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Program Goals – 1
Holocaust Chronology – 2
Adolf Hitler: A Study in Tyranny – 7
The Swastika: A Sign of Good Luck Becomes a Symbol of Evil – 14
Lebensraum – 15
Translation of a Property Confiscation Order – 16 
Auschwitz: The Camp of Death – 17
Oh, No, It Can’t Be – 19
In the Liberated Camps – 22
Pursuing the Killers – 23
Europe’s Displaced Millions – 24
Vocabulary List – 25
Pre-Visit Activities

Post Visit Activities