Holocaust Memorial Day

A lesson plan for the Grade XI, XII and English speakers

Here is a collection of quotes to stimulate thought and discussion about various aspects of the Holocaust.
I imagine the quotes being used with good Grade XI., XII and English Speakers' class.
Lesson Plan 1 - Reading, group work, presentation
1. Divide into groups. Give each group a quote or two to work on and then they read and present to the class. Allow discussion.
You could create some general leading questions for all groups to focus on. Here are some ideas.

What is the main idea expressed in the quote? Why do you think the person who is quoted, said the things he/she said. How does the quote make you feel? Does your quote contain an opinion. If so, do you agree with that person? Can you relate anything in the quote to your life personally/ to life today/ to the society you live in? What questions remain in your mind/ are left unanswered/ after reading the quote?

Lesson Plan 2 - Personal writing
2. Make quite a few copies of the quotes, cut them up and allow pupils to browse through them  for 15 minutes.Then they must choose one quote to focus on in writing a personal response.

They can relate to any of questions below in their response.

What is the main idea expressed in the quote? Why do you think the person who is quoted, said the things he/she said. How does the quote make you feel? Does your quote contain an opinion. If so, do you agree with that person? Can you relate anything in the quote to your life personally/ to life today/ to the society you live in? What questions remain in your mind/ are left unanswered/ after reading the quote? What would you like to say to the person quoted or mentioned?

NOTE: If the quotes are too difficult to be dealt with without help, the teacher may read some of the difficult ones aloud, providing the necessary vocabulary. Then the class could be broken up into groups or the quotes handed out for the writing activity.


This file can be opened in WORD format


  • "Don't for a minute think that indoctrinating wide-eyed school children with the lies and slanders against Germans, Slavs, Catholics, Christians, Europeans, and whites in general isn't a primary purpose of the Holocaust-mongers. ... The Holocaust is a religion. Its underpinnings in the realm of historical fact are non-existent -- no Hitler order, no plan, no budget, no gas chambers, no autopsies of gassed victims, no bones, no ashes, no skulls, no nothing.... Secondly, it's a religion for losers.... Suffice it to say that the rise of religions such as this generally coincides with the decline and fall of nations which tolerate them."
    Mark Weber  IHR Newsletter, May 1989. 
       
  • "In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic.

Then they came for me -- and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
-Martin Niem?ller 

  
  
 "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances - to choose one's own way."
-Victor Frankl

  • While the Einsatzgruppen murdered Jews in the Soviet Union, Hitler constructed death camps to efficiently murder massive numbers of Jews in the rest of Europe. Hitler gave Himmler the task of creating the death camps. Six major annihilation camps were established in what is now Poland: Auschwitz, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobib?r, Majdanek, and Treblinka. Trains transported Jews, first from the Polish ghettos, and then from France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Greece, and Hungary. Each day, gas chambers killed thousands of Jews, whose bodies were then burned in huge crematoria and in open pits. Himmler's perverted logic twisted these unbelievable atrocities into acts of greatness:
  • Most of you know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500 or 1000. To have stuck it out and at the same time--apart from exceptions caused by human weakness--to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written....  Himmler
     

  • Rescuers possessed an inner core of unshakable values and beliefs. Social psychologist Dr. Eva Fogelman describes Hitler's twelve-year reign in Conscience and Courage:
    It was a reign which, nearly half a century later, still challenges our understanding. Evil was rewarded and good acts were punished. Bullies were aggrandized and the meek trampled. In this mad world, most people lost their bearings. Fear disoriented them, and self-protection blinded them. A few, however, did not lose their way. A few took their direction from their own moral compass.

 

  • Personal accounts by survivors of the Holocaust are powerful. They connect us, person to person, with an era in history that is difficult, yet necessary, to comprehend. Survivor testimony translates the countless unimaginable victims into a single person's feelings and thoughts.

There are 350,000 survivors of the Holocaust alive today...
There are 350,000 experts who just want to be useful with the remainder of their lives. Please listen to the words and the echoes and the ghosts. And please teach this in your schools.
--Steven Spielberg, Academy Award acceptance speech

 

  • Exile: Flight in and through Europe
    Many survivors either sensed the danger awaiting them if they stayed in their hometowns accross Europe, or were forced to leave their homes. For those who left, it often meant that they would see their friends and relatives for the last time. Life in exile was full of fear and uncertainty. It consisted of dependence on the charity of strangers and a lot of luck. One had to keep one step ahead of Nazi hunger for Lebensraum.
    So, on August 10, one day before my birthday, my father and my sister--I had an older sister who did not go to England because she was too old to go as a child and she would have had to go as a servant and my father didn't want that--we went to the railroad station in Berlin. There were maybe 50 or 100, I don't know the number, other children. All were Jewish. I think we were the only half Jews on this Kindertransport saying goodbye to their parents.
    --Helga Waldman

 

  • The chances of surviving the war in any of the Nazi death, concentration, or labor camps were slim to none. Those who did survive are the sole witnesses to the horrors put into action behind the barbed electric fences surrounding Nazi compounds. Their stories remind us of the atrocities humans are capable of when led to believe those who are different from them are sub-human or otherwise undesirable. 
     
  • There are some hopeful and heart-warming stories survivors tell of rescue at the hands of non-victims. Whether officially recognized as righteous gentiles or not, these brave souls risked their lives and the lives of their families in order to preserve a sense of humanity in the brutal chaos caused by Nazi persecution. Many stories of rescue will never be told.
    Their lives (my parents) were saved by the gentile farmers in that town. There were some very righteous non-Jewish people who had the courage to speak up. Many, many of them...Many of them lost their lives...Sometimes not enough is written about those courageuous non-Jews.
    --Ernest Dr?cker

Quotes mostly taken from http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/


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