The Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, and Genocide

Check out these resources below as examples of culturally responsive and appropriate resources for teaching about these important topics. Along with these content supports, it is important to take time to reflect and review not only your classroom curriculum, but to formally review the curriculum of your school and district. Also, please take time to review resources that encourage you to self-reflect on how you, your students, and your colleagues engage in this work as well.

 

Maine Resources

Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine - The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine promotes universal respect for human rights through outreach and education. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other events past and present we encourage individuals and communities to reflect and act upon their moral responsibilities to confront prejudice, intolerance and discrimination.

Maine Center for Small Town Jewish Life - The Center for Small Town Jewish Life cultivates transformational learning and vibrant Jewish community rooted in the state of Maine. They envision a socially equitable, multigenerational, and geographically diverse Jewish world sustained by intentional collaboration.

Documenting Maine Jewry - Documenting Maine Jewry is a community-based history project providing information on Jewish citizens of Maine through a state-of-the-art genealogical and historical resource reflecting the Jewish traditions of memory, remembrance and inter-generational learning.

Maine Jewish Museum - The Mission of the Maine Jewish Museum is to celebrate and honor the contributions and diversity of Maine’s Jewish immigrants in the context of the American experience. Through exhibits, programming, and dialogue the Museum seeks to build bridges of appreciation and understanding with people of all backgrounds.

Maine State Museum - The Maine State Museum’s exhibition, Maine + Jewish: Two Centuries, presented the experiences of one of Maine’s most enduring communities, from 19th-century immigrants to more recent residents and summer visitors. It was organized by guest curator Amy E. Waterman of Brunswick, supported by museum staff, an advisory committee of scholars and community members, and a partnership with Colby College’s Center for Small Town Jewish Life.

Maine Jewish Film Festival - The Maine Jewish Film Festival is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a forum for the presentation of films to enrich, educate and entertain a diverse community about the global Jewish experience.

The Holocaust

Facing History and Ourselves (Holocaust Resources) - At Facing History and Ourselves, they believe the bigotry and hate that we witness today are the legacy of brutal injustices of the past. Facing our collective history and how it informs our attitudes and behaviors allows us to choose a world of equity and justice. Facing History’s resources address racism, antisemitism, and prejudice at pivotal moments in history; they help students connect choices made in the past to those they will confront in their own lives. Through their partnership with educators around the world, Facing History and Ourselves reaches millions of students in thousands of classrooms every year.

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum - A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. The Museum provides a powerful lesson in the fragility of freedom, the myth of progress, and the need for vigilance in preserving democratic values. With unique power and authenticity, the Museum teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide. And we encourage them to act, cultivating a sense of moral responsibility among our citizens so that they will respond to the monumental challenges that confront our world. They also have a collection of "First Person: Conversations with Survivors" speaker series available on YouTube. The USHMM is also working on a student/educator led project called History Unfolded where citizen historians contribute to telling the story of the Holocaust through local newspapers of the 1930s and 1940s. There is also a collection of teaching resources sorted by topic.

Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC - The Museum of Jewish Heritage is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. As a place of memory, the Museum enables Holocaust survivors to speak through recorded testimony and draws on rich collections to illuminate Jewish history and experience. As a public history institution, it offers intellectually rigorous and engaging exhibitions, programs, and educational resources. The Museum protects the historical record and promotes understanding of Jewish heritage. It mobilizes memory to teach the dangers of intolerance and challenges visitors—including more than 60,000 schoolchildren a year—to let the painful lessons of the past guide them to envision a world worthy of their futures.

Anti-Defamation League - The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is a global leader in exposing extremism and delivering anti-bias education, and is a leading organization in training law enforcement. ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

Yad Vashem - Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies (ISHS), established in 1993, focuses upon – and excels in – providing quality Holocaust education to diverse audiences from Israel and across the world. In order to achieve this, the ISHS trains educators to teach the Holocaust, develops pedagogic and didactic tools to be utilized by teachers, and conducts educational workshops for youth and soldiers from Israel and abroad. The ISHS has developed a unique multi-disciplinary educational philosophy, based upon teaching the Holocaust in an age-appropriate manner. Educators are taught to bring their students safely in and safely out of the learning environment with the provision of age and level appropriate materials to aid the learning process.

Echoes & Reflections - Echoes & Reflections is the premier source for Holocaust educational materials and dynamic content, empowering teachers and students with the insight needed to question the past and foresight to impact the future. They partner with educators to support them, foster confidence, and amplify their skills and resources to teach about the Holocaust in a comprehensive and meaningful way. Since 2005, Echoes & Reflections has impacted more than 60,000 educators, reaching an estimated 6 million students across the United States—and at no cost. Through our Holocaust education programs and resources, educators gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to teach this topic effectively.

The First South Florida Holocaust Museum - The State of Florida Department of Education commissioned the Center to write the first statewide resource manuals on Holocaust studies for grades, K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12. These manuals can also be downloaded here for educational use.

Google Arts & Culture: Stories of the Holocaust - The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the persecution and murder of 6 million Jewish people and 5 million non-Jewish minorities by the Nazi regime. Google Arts & Culture remembers the suffering and loss - as well as the perseverance, survival, and strength - of its victims.

Centropa - Centropa is a non-profit, Jewish historical institute dedicated to preserving 20th century Jewish family stories and photos from Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and disseminating these stories and photos through films, books and exhibitions.

Three Steps for Improving Lesson on the Holocaust - This article from Education Dive provide tips and resources for teaching about the Holocaust.

Other State DOE Resources

The North Carolina Council on the Holocaust - Through its education and commemoration programs, the Council strives to help prevent atrocities similar to the systematic program of mass murder by the Nazis of six million Jews and other targeted groups, including Roma (gypsies), homosexuals, handicapped persons, and religious and political dissidents, from 1933 to 1945. Check out their educator's guide and resources page

The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education - On a continual basis, the Commission shall survey the status of Holocaust/Genocide Education; design, encourage and promote the implementation of Holocaust and genocide education and awareness; provide programs in New Jersey; and coordinate designated events that will provide appropriate memorialization of the Holocaust on a regular basis throughout the state. The Commission will provide assistance and advice to the public and private schools and will meet with county and local school officials, and other interested public and private organizations, to assist with the study of the Holocaust and genocide including curricular resources.

Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission - Dedicated to promoting and providing guidance on Holocaust and genocide education and commemoration across the State, the Commission represents the State’s continued visionary leadership to combat the evils of genocide and foster the promotion of human rights including an educator resource page.

Utah Holocaust & Genocide Education - History is replete with crimes against humanity, including the Holocaust as well as other genocides against groups in Armenia, Sudan, Cambodia, just to name a few. A great irony in the study of history is that to gain some understanding of unspeakable events, we must, in fact, speak of them and educate our children about these horrific events. Utah public education officials have taken seriously the study of difficult history. A reading of the Utah K-12 social studies standards will show that Utah students are expected to learn about the specific genocidal event called the Holocaust, as well as other examples of genocide. This study begins with a standard in 5th grade, and continues with seven more specific examples, at multiple grade levels, until 12th grade.

Arizona Holocaust and Genocide Education Resources - This webpage has been set up by the Arizona Department of Education to provide resources, training, and support for educators in meeting this requirement. It also houses the work of the Task Force on The Holocaust and Other Genocides- a Toolkit for teachers and students.

Kentucky - Required Instruction of the Holocaust and Other Cases of Genocide: Guidance for Curriculum Implementation - Education about the Holocaust and other cases of genocide is complex and involves investigation into human behavior. Through Holocaust and genocide studies, educators and students have the opportunity to analyze how societies, institutions and individuals can be turned against a segment of a population. Discrimination and acts of genocide can arise from multiple compounding factors, such as fear, peer pressure, indifference, greed, resentment, the act of scapegoating and the oversimplification of complex problems. Preventative measures that promote tolerance and understanding emphasize the need for all to reinforce values that protect and preserve free and just societies. Through these studies, students may assess the fragility of all societies and of the institutions that are charged with protecting the security and rights of all.

Genocide

Facing History and Ourselves (Genocide Resources) - At Facing History and Ourselves, they believe the bigotry and hate that we witness today are the legacy of brutal injustices of the past. Facing our collective history and how it informs our attitudes and behaviors allows us to choose a world of equity and justice. Facing History’s resources address racism, antisemitism, and prejudice at pivotal moments in history; they help students connect choices made in the past to those they will confront in their own lives. Through their partnership with educators around the world, Facing History and Ourselves reaches millions of students in thousands of classrooms every year.

What is Genocide? - The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shares resources related to defining and teaching about genocide throughout history.

Holocaust & Genocide Materials Selection Guide - This resource has been developed (based on Oregon state statute) to help educators select high quality and appropriate resources when teaching about genocide and/or the Holocaust.

Teaching About Genocide - As students study the Holocaust, they frequently—and understandably—struggle with understanding not only how the Holocaust was able to happen, but also why and how genocide continues to occur in the world, and what has been, and can be, done to prevent such atrocities from occurring. This multipart resource from Echoes and Reflections is intended to help teachers support students’ understanding of genocide in the context of their Holocaust education. Why is it valuable to teach about genocide in the context of learning about the Holocaust?

What's Going On? - In this lesson plan from IWitness/USC Shoah Foundation, students will listen to the 1971 hit song, "Whats Going On" by Marvin Gaye. As students read and listen to the lyrics, they will make connections between social issues of the mid-20th Century to issues that they may see and experience on the news today. Then, by watching and hearing experiences of multiple genocide survivors, they will identify the consequences of dehumanization, violence and prejudice and will recognize the impacts of each on society. By the end of the activity students will create their own original song that addresses a current world issue and will share how they think they can make a difference to break these patterns.

Burma's Path to Genocide - This exhibition from the the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum explores how the Rohingya went from citizens to outsiders and became targets of a sustained campaign of genocide.

Ghosts of Rwanda - FRONTLINE marks the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide with a documentary chronicling one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. In addition to interviews with key government officials and diplomats, the two-hour documentary offers groundbreaking, eyewitness accounts of the genocide from those who experienced it firsthand: from Tutsi survivors who recount the horror of seeing their friends and family members slaughtered by neighbors and coworkers; to the UN peacekeepers stationed amid the carnage who were ordered not to intervene; to those holding positions of power at the White House. Through these accounts, FRONTLINE illustrates the social, political, and diplomatic failures that enabled the slaughter of 800,000 people to occur unabated and unchallenged by the global community.

Genocide in Darfur, Sudan - This curriculum was developed so that students may understand perspectives of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan - the history, the current issues, and what students can do to help the victims.

Darfur and the Janjaweed Lesson Plan - Students have probably heard about the crisis in Sudan on the news, and this lesson offers them background about the situation in Darfur. It can also serve as reference material for students studying other humanitarian and environmental disasters. The lesson covers the current conflict between the people of Darfur and the Janjaweed militia, its historical and religious roots, its impact on neighboring countries, and the international response.

Worse Than War - Worse Than War documents Daniel Goldhagen’s travels, teachings, and interviews in nine countries around the world, bringing viewers on an unprecedented journey of insight and analysis.

Teaching Genocide (Holocaust & Genocide Studies/University of Minnesota) - This website sharing information about teaching about teaching genocide covering when to begin, goals, choosing lessons, and more.

Ten Resources for Teaching About Genocide (USC Shoah Foundation) - Never forget. Never again. These are common phrases used in Holocaust and genocide education. These are important statements especially when they evoke the real reason to study, learn, and teach about genocide. We must bring this content to students to empower them and encourage them to see beyond themselves. If done right, students become aware of the steps that lead to such atrocities. Teaching about genocide is the only way to have a lasting impact on our students, to affect their worldview, to help them understand that they can make a difference. The author talks about the power of teaching with testimony.

To Repair the World: Becoming a Human Rights Defender - Whether you are teaching about the Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the oppression of the African American slave trade, or the struggles of Native Americans to maintain their culture and land, it is important that your students examine role models from a variety of historical situations. In an age of standardized testing and data-driven instruction, it is important that we as educators provide examples of role models who saw injustice and resisted it, inspiring our students to do the same in their communities, nation, and world. This website provides four steps and resources that support the teaching of human rights.

Holocaust and Genocide: Books/Genocide in Other Nations - Metropolitan State University has a list of books sorted by country that cover genocides that have happened around the world during the past century.

World Without Genocide - The World Without Genocide website recommends books to increase your understanding of the politics of genocide in the world. The first step in genocide prevention is to learn about genocides, past and present. They recommend books from many genres – history, memoir, fiction, journalists’ accounts, diaries, essays and historical fiction.

The Ten Stages of Genocide - Genocide is a process that develops in ten stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it. The process is not linear. Stages may occur simultaneously. Each stage is itself a process. Logically, later stages are preceded by earlier stages. But all stages continue to operate throughout the process. Learn more about each of these ten stages as well as check out the educational resources that are provided by Genocide Watch.

Human Rights Watch - Human Rights Watch investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world. They are roughly 450 people of 70-plus nationalities who are country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others who work to protect the most at risk, from vulnerable minorities and civilians in wartime, to refugees and children in need. They direct their advocacy towards governments, armed groups and businesses, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies and practices. There is a Human Rights Education page as well as resources related to teaching about specific topics like Uyghurs.

Anti-Semitism, Religious Persecution, and Freedom of Religion

Facing History and Ourselves (Antisemitism & Religious Intolerance Resources) - At Facing History and Ourselves, they believe the bigotry and hate that we witness today are the legacy of brutal injustices of the past. Facing our collective history and how it informs our attitudes and behaviors allows us to choose a world of equity and justice. Facing History’s resources address racism, antisemitism, and prejudice at pivotal moments in history; they help students connect choices made in the past to those they will confront in their own lives. Through their partnership with educators around the world, Facing History and Ourselves reaches millions of students in thousands of classrooms every year.

Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance - The Boniuk Institute at Rice University is dedicated to nurturing religious tolerance and advancing religious literacy, respect and mutual understanding among people of all and no faiths, especially youth through research efforts, educational initiatives and community engagement. Check out their curricular resources page.

Religion and the First Amendment - In this lesson from PBS Learning Media students learn about the First Amendment and its protection of religious freedom.

Religious Freedom & Democracy - In the United States and globally, recent debates about group identity and immigration overlap with those about faith and citizenship. Today, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews, as well as people who belong to no religion, often find themselves living alongside neighbors whose beliefs and practices are quite different from their own. With this new diversity, there is a growing need worldwide to discuss what is necessary for people to live together, including the opportunities and limits of religious freedom in a democracy. These are not easy conversations, and the tone of recent debates about the differences between people suggests that we need to get better at talking about these issues or else risk further polarization. Check out this lesson from Facing History and Ourselves based on George Washington's 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island.

Understanding Other Religious Beliefs - This elementary lesson from Teaching Tolerance helps students learn more about different religions and discuss the importance of freedom of religion. 

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) - The ADL collection of K-12 classroom blended and online learning solutions for educators and students promotes critical thinking and learning around historical and current events topics through the lens of diversity, bias and social justice. Check out their lesson plan Antisemitic Incidents: Being an Ally, Advocate and Activist as well as their Resources to Address and Challenge Antisemitism. They also have a resource for a Brief History of Anti-Semitism.

Teaching Materials on Antisemitism and Racism (USHMM) - This website from the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum contains lesson plans and resources that promote effective teaching about antisemitism and the Holocaust.

Resources and Tools for Addressing Anti-Semitism, Intolerance & Bias - The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is working to strengthen the Jewish community by mobilizing community builders and organizations to identify and develop solutions to our community’s greatest needs. They serve as a hub to generate the kind of innovation and big thinking needed to guide our community to a vibrant future. Federation’s unique perspective, reach, and relationships within the community empower us to meet both individual and collective needs, now and for the future. Check out their resources and tools for educators.

Pride and Prejudice: Educational Resources on Anti-Semitism - The Jewish Education Project has collected resources for educators as part of their Jewish Futures Conference 2019, Pride and Prejudice: Jewish Education's Battle Amid Growing Anti-Semitism

Teaching Tolerance Resources - Teaching Tolerance has a collection of articles related to the persecution of individuals based on their religion.

Dismantling Islamophobia - Anti-Muslim bullying is different from other types of harassment. The Harvard Graduate School of Education and Usable Knowledge have shared research and resources about how schools can work against it.

Creating Cultural Competencies - Since the 1960s, the United States has witnessed a steady rise in violent incidents and policies that intimidate, harm, and exclude Muslim communities. As critical educators, we have a responsibility to actively confront and dismantle Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism in our schools and classrooms. They have designed the Countering Anti-Muslim Racism in School curriculum to help students better understand anti-Muslim racism, its historical antecedents, and its contemporary implications and consequences for Muslim communities across the United States. This initiative provides materials, curricula, and trainings that further teachers' cultural competencies and create more inclusive schooling experiences for all children. The curriculum focuses on six essential questions to guide student learning on anti-Muslim racism. 

The Challenge Islamophobia Project - The Challenge Islamophobia Project offers lessons and resources to teach all of us to rethink what we know about Islamophobia. Most teaching resources and teacher workshops about Islam and Muslims focus on increasing knowledge of religious texts, beliefs, and rituals rather than addressing the root causes of Islamophobia. This project addresses that gap by placing Islamophobia firmly within a U.S. context and shared cultural history.

Religious Persecution in Cross-National Context: Clashing Civilizations or Regulated Religious Economics? - Despite the high visibility of religiously charged international social conflicts, the unique role of religion often is overlooked in social science research and theory. Some studies ignore religion, others conflate religion with other identities. Virtually all lack adequate data. The authors respond to these deficiencies by testing a theory-driven model of a particular form of social conflict, religious persecution. They investigate the proposition that religious regulation leads to religious persecution. Using measures coded from the 2003 International Religious Freedom Reports, they consider how both social regulation and government regulation of religion in 143 countries affect the level of religious persecution in a country. They also consider and test competing hypotheses, particularly Samuel P. Huntington’s clash of civilizations thesis. In the end, they find strong support for the religious economies arguments and only limited support for the clash-of-civilizations’ thesis and other competing arguments.

BINAH: Building Insights to Navigate Antisemitism & Hate - This free digital resource, developed by EVERFI and in partnership with The Anti-Defamation League, inspires students to identify as global citizens with respect for all people. Comprised of four 15 minutes lessons, students learn through short real-world stories, helping them to explore and engage in topics like the Holocaust, the lives of Hasidic Jews, immigration, and antisemitic acts in America. The inclusion of personal stories helps students build empathy, perspective-taking, and allyship.

 

Continue the Work Beyond Your Class:

Along with these content supports, it is important to take time to reflect and review not only your classroom curriculum, but to formally review the curriculum of your school and district. Also, please take time to review resources that encourage you to self-reflect on how you, your students, and your colleagues engage in this work as well.