Teaching the Holocaust


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Lesson Plans:

The Hitler Letter: Understanding the Rhetoric of Hate

A 4-page letter signed by Adolf Hitler, dated September 16, 1919, six years before the publication of Mein Kampf describes his hatred of Jews outlining his plans which call for, “The uncompromising removal of the Jews altogether.” In this lesson, students will use ethos, pathos, and logos to analyze the letter in an effort to understand the rhetoric of hate. An enduring understanding is that language matters deeply and the words we use can be powerful weapons of violence or tools of inspiration and liberation.

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Remember the Children: Writing as Resistance to Injustice

There are many artifacts in the Remember the Children exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance reminding us of the particular experiences of children in war and genocide. This lesson focuses on three items that involve adolescent writings. Through reading the Bella Blitz letter, and excerpts from the Abram Cytryn notebook and the Anne Frank diary, students will see that writing, organizing, telling, and documenting are forms of resistance. Enduring understandings include the fact that Jewish people did not go like “lambs to the slaughter” during the Holocaust. Thousands, even teenagers, resisted in many forms that are used by many in the world today.

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Media Literacy: Propaganda Techniques in History and Today 

This lesson looks at how the Nazis recruited young people through the use of propaganda techniques. After obtaining a general understanding of these propaganda techniques and how they were used in Nazi posters, students will be asked to apply them to today’s social media and marketing to teenagers. An enduring understanding is that words and images have powerful sway over people.  

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