The Holocaust Through Primary Resources

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10410

Primary sources can make you feel like you are a part of history. They can take you places you'd rather not be but teach valuable lessons. Travel to a terrible time in 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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  • Which person pictured below is most like you? Why?

different people

  • Who did you think in the photo was most like you?
  • Do you know people who look like the others pictured?
  • Have you ever heard of or seen someone getting teased for being different in some way?
  • Have you ever been teased or bullied for being different?
  • Why do you think some people bully others?

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

A Jew is a person who follows the Jewish religion or belongs to the Jewish ethnic group. They may celebrate holidays like Hanukkah and Passover and go to places of worship called synagogues.

All the Jews in Germany in the 1930s had to wear the Star of David — a symbol used in the Jewish culture — so that people could isolate and persecute them.

Persecute means to mistreat someone because of their race or religious beliefs.

Poland, 1941

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

The period from 1933 to 1945 in Germany and Europe was a sad time in their history. They were in a world war for the second time in 20 years.

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.

  1. Go to Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar to download and print a copy of the Graphic Organizer - KWL Chart.
  2. 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 answers to about the Holocaust and write them down.
  4. You will finish the last column at the end of the lesson.

To complete the last column, use primary resources to learn firsthand about the Holocaust. (If you need a review of primary resources, you can look at our lesson under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar.)

Watch the video below for a brief overview of the Holocaust.

This video includes real pictures of children and people during that period who were persecuted during this time in history just because they were different from those who hurt them. It is also a reminder of what can happen when others don't stand up and try to stop it.

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After watching this video, review your chart's What you Know section and check to see if the information you wrote was accurate.

You can change or add information to your chart anytime 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 ready, continue to the Got It? section to study more primary sources.

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