Educational Resources

 


An Overview of the Holocaust: Topics to Teach

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has identified topic areas for you to consider while planning a course of study on the Holocaust. We recommend that you introduce your students to these topics even if you have limited time to teach about the Holocaust. An introduction to the topic areas is essential for providing students with a sense of the breadth of the history of the Holocaust.

1933-1939
Dictatorship under the Third Reich
Early Stages of Persecution
The First Concentration Camps

1939-1945
World War II in Europe
Murder of the Disabled (Euthanasia Program)
Persecution and Murder of Jews
Ghettos
Mobile Killing Squads (Einsatzgruppen)
Expansion of the Concentration Camp System
Killing Centers
Additional Victims of Nazi Persecution
Jewish Resistance and Non-Jewish Resistance
Rescue
United States
Death Marches
Liberation

POST-1945
Postwar Trials
Displaced Persons Camps and Emigration

In addition to these core topic areas, we recommend that, in your courses, you provide context for the events of the Holocaust by including information about antisemitismJewish life in Europe before the Holocaust, the aftermath of World War I, and the Nazi rise to power.

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Online Resources

Films

  • European Antisemitism from Its Origins to the Holocaust (13 minutes) Prepares high school and college students for a discussion of why Jews have been targeted throughout history and how antisemitism offered fertile ground to the Nazis. 
  • The Path to Nazi Genocide (38 minutes) Provides a concise overview of the Holocaust and provokes reflection and discussion about the role of ordinary people, institutions, and nations. 
  • Defying Genocide (19 minutes) Chronicles the story of Damas Gisimba, an orphanage director who helped save some 400 people during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. 

Animated Maps

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Primary Sources

  • Artifacts, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Documents, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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Encyclopedic

  • The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Organized by theme, this site uses text, historical photographs, maps, images of artifacts, and audio clips to provide an overview of the Holocaust. It is the first step in a growing resource for middle and secondary level students and teachers, with content that reflects the history as it is presented in the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition, The Holocaust.

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First Person Testimonies

  • Learning Voices of the Holocaust, British Library. An online library of oral history testimonies created from interviews with survivors living in Britain. Provides a teacher's guide with materials for classroom activities. Also presents background on various aspects of Holocaust history, maps, a Holocaust chronology and a glossary, all aimed at students. Prepared by the British Library.
  • Telling Their Stories: Oral Histories Archives Project, The Urban School of San Francisco. Presents text and video clips of oral history interviews with Holocaust survivors and liberators, as well as Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in relocation camps in Utah and Wyoming during World War II. A project of the Urban School of San Francisco.
  • The Voices of Survivors, Yad Vashem. Throughout our website the voices of the survivors infuse our online exhibitions, historical narratives, teaching units and ceremonies with content and with meaning. We have gathered many of those testimonies in this section where they can be easily accessed by either topic or location. This section will continue to grow as more and more testimonies are added to the website.

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