The Holocaust Through Primary Resources

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10410

Primary sources can give you a "you are there" sense. They can take you places you'd rather not be, but they can teach valuable lessons. Travel to a terrible time in our history and see how you feel!



learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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What child is most like you, and why?

different people

Which child did you pick above, and why?

  • Do you know children that look like the others pictured above?
  • Did you ever hear of, or see, kids getting teased for being different in some way?
  • Have you ever been teased or bullied for being different?
  • Why do you think some kids bully other kids?
  • Do you think adults bully one another?

Share your answers with your parent or teacher.

Imagine having to wear a big sign to point out your differences, just to warn certain people that they weren't allowed to like or be friends with you. That is exactly what happened to the Jews in Germany in the 1930s.

All of the Jews had to wear the Star of David — a symbol used in the Jewish culture — so people could isolate and persecute them. Persecute means to treat someone very badly because of their race or religious beliefs.

Poland, 1941

Image by Zermin, provided to Wikimedia Commons by the German Federal Archive, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.

The chancellor, or leader, of Germany, Adolf Hitler, believed Jews were an inferior race and should be exterminated (killed).

The period of time from 1933-1945 in Germany and all of Europe was a sad time in their history. For the second time in 20 years, they were in a world war. World War II was raging on and Hitler and his NAZI party were killing millions of innocent people, mainly the Jewish people.

The extermination of Jews and other races thought to be inferior is called the Holocaust.

Before starting the lesson, you will fill out a K-W-L chart (Know-Want to know-Learned) about the Holocaust.

  1. Go to Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar to download and print a copy of the Graphic Organizer - KWL Chart.
  2. Once you print it out, fill out the “K” (Know) section. Think about everything you know about the Holocaust and write it in the column.
  3. In the next column, “W” (Want to know), think about the questions you want the answers to about the Holocaust and write them.
  4. You will finish the last column at the end of the lesson.

Now, you are ready to begin. You will now use primary resources to learn first-hand information about the Holocaust. If you need a review on primary resources, you can look at our lesson found under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

First, you will watch a video created by the FDR Library's Education staff that will give you a brief description of the Holocaust. This video includes real pictures of children and people during that time period who were persecuted during this time in history just because they were "different" from those that hurt them. It is also a reminder of what can happen when other people don't stand up and try to stop it.

The Holocaust from FDRLibrary:

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After watching this video, go back over the "What you know" section of your chart and check to see if the information you wrote was accurate. You can change or add information to your chart at any time during this lesson.

Now, look at the "Want to know" section of the chart.

  • Did the information in the video answer any of your questions?
  • Do you have any new questions about the Holocaust?

When you are ready, continue on to the Got It? section to study more primary sources.

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