Symbols of the Holocaust
Lesson Plan Item
|Grade||9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade||Class||History||Length of Lesson||1-1.5 day|
|Lesson Title||Symbols of the Holocaust|
|Unit Compelling Question|
This cup, which was made in Oskar Schindler's factory, was brought to Des Moines in 1947 by the Karp family. The Karps were natives of Poland and were sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz during World War II. Oskar Schindler rescued the family from the concentration camp and transported them to Brunnlitz, Czechoslovakia, where they worked in his factory until the end of the war. When Phyllis Karp was asked why she wanted to bring the cup to the United States, she said "This will remind me, every day, that there is a better tomorrow."
A symbol is a tangible artifact that represents an abstract concept. The American flag represents the nation, its people, history, and values. Because symbols can evoke strong emotional responses, they can create strong conflicts when people understand them in different ways, . Civil War monuments are a good example in the present day of how a statue can be a symbol of heroic courage to preserve a homeland or of the defense of slavery and racial oppression.
In the 1930s as Hitler and the Nazis came to power, Germans were suffering economic hardship and national shame at the loss of WW I. Hitler blamed the nation's problems on the Jews. Their civil rights were taken away and they were subject to public shaming. Some Jews fled, but Hitler began revoking their passports and refused them the right to leave. According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, "After the September 1939 German invasion of Poland (the beginning of World War II), anti-Jewish policy escalated to the imprisonment and eventual murder of European Jewry." .
Six million Jews were systematically killed, and millions more had their lives disrupted. Some Nazi death camps have been preserved as museums that testify to the reality of this unspeakable atrocity. Aschwitz and Trblinka in Poland are two of the most infamous. Local monuments to the Holocaust around the world keep the memory of that period alive.
However, some of the most powerful symbols are everyday objects owned by Jewish victims that bring home their ordinary humanity. At the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, there is a room filled with the shoes of Jews they removed as they entered the gas chambers. Looking at them, the visitors recreate the last moment in the lives of the thousands of owners of those shoes. A drinking cup, a bracelet--any items preserved from the victims remind viewers that of their humanity.
In recent years, some right-wing political groups have tried to deny the reality of the Holocaust. The symbols are powerful evidence that the Holocaust was real. Preservation of the death camps, museums, and thousands of items in local museums are a ever-disturbing reminder of a modern day atrocity. Post-war sympathy for the Jews led to the creation of the nation of Israel to provide a Jewish homeland.~ Dr. Tom Morain, Graceland University
|Lesson Supporting Question|
|Primary Sources Used|
unit_terms_.docx, unit_project_.docx, unit_ec.docx, kwl_chart_.docx, holocaust_unit_day_1_1.pptx, final_-_official_concept_map_.docx
|Lesson Themes||Civil Rights, Religion, Communal Groups, World War II|
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
|Author||Glenna Whiteman||Reviewer||Dr. Lisa Millsaps, University of Northern Iowa||Created||04/17/2019||Last Edited||08/22/2019|
|Lesson Plan Development Notes: Teaching Methods, University of Northern Iowa, Fall 2018|