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Volume 18, No.2 / Winter 2005            
Yehuda Bauer: Teaching about the Holocaust (Part 2)
Classroom Applications

Introduction
Section 1
Highlights of Yehuda Bauer's Thoughts about the Holocaust
Stories of Jewish Rescuers’ Negotiations with the Nazis
Section 2
Classroom Applications
Glossary
Credits
First Issue


In this section we provide suggestions for the integration of stories, primary sources, testimonies, and maps into the classroom lessons and activities.  Yehuda Bauer considers the integration of these materials essential.

 Classroom Applications

 

  1. Integrating Stories of Individuals in Teaching about the Holocaust
  2. Integrating Primary Sources in Teaching about the Holocaust
  3. Integrating Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors in Classrooms
  4. Integrating Maps in Teaching about the Holocaust

 

 

1.    INTEGRATING STORIES OF INDIVIDUALS IN TEACHING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST

 

     As Dr. Bauer observed in his discussion of teaching and research on the Holocaust (Part II), reading stories of individuals living through the era of the Holocaust is critical for students to gain insights into what the historical period was like and the moral dilemmas ordinary people faced daily.  Such stories are interspersed throughout Dr. Bauer’s works.  Let us analyze two of these stories and consider how historians work with such stories in their research and teaching:

 

Story 1: The Story of Maczek    

     [T]here is the story of Maczek.  Actually, his name is Mordechai.  His name is the only thing that he knows about himself.  Before the war, at the age of three, he was handed over by his mother to a Jewish orphanage in Lodz.  This is what he was later told.  Then came the war, and he was raised in Cracow by a Polish woman named Anna Morawczika.  Naturally he thought she was his mother.

     At the age of six while playing on the street, he was hit by accident by a car full of German soldiers.  The soldiers wanted to take him to the hospital, but Anna Morawczika opposed it with all her might.  She knew he would be murdered instantly if it were found out that he had been circumcised (usually Christians were not circumcised at this time).

     When the war was over, a woman presented herself at Anna’s. Anna told Maczek that this woman was his mother.  This time, both women took the boy and put him in the Jewish orphanage in Lodz.  The mother disappeared, never to be seen again.  Maczek was brought to Israel.  Anna, who had saved him, passed away shortly thereafter.  Maczek does not know to this very day who he is.  All he knows is that a Polish woman saved his life because she loved him—a Jewish boy orphan.

  As quoted in, “Speech to the Bundestag,” reprinted in Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven: Yale UP, 2001).

 

Story 2: The Story of Yoheved, A Young Jewish Girl

     A young Jewish girl, Yoheved, managed to escape from the Bendzin ghetto to the “Aryan” part of town during the final liquidation of the ghetto.  Passing as a Pole, she was sent by the Polish underground as a housemaid to a Gestapo family in Vienna.  She spied on the Gestapo officer, was discovered, and was sent to Auschwitz as a Polish resister.  Sent to the barracks (block) reserved for people awaiting execution the next day, she was recognized by a Jewish inmate, Yossel Rosensaft, who had been in the concentration camp for some time and knew his way around.  Rosensaft knew Yoheved’s parents and tried to save her.  He collected gold from the workers in “Canada” (a place of riches), who sifted through the clothes of dead Jews and always found valuable rings, money, and so on, and offered it to an SS man who agreed to erase Yoheved’s name from the execution list, give her a camp number, and transfer her to the women’s camp.  Today, Yoheved is a member of an Israeli Kibbutz.

     As quoted in Yehuda Bauer, A History of the Holocaust (Revised Edition) (New York: Franklin Watts, 2001): 243-4.

 

Connections:

 

  Both stories deal with Jewish young people growing up in Poland during the era of Nazi occupation and World War II.  What do the stories tell you about the experience of young Jews in this era?  What happened to their relationships with parents and other family members?  How dependent were they on other people for their survival?  What role did luck play in their survival?
  Many child survivors of the Holocaust say that they had to grow up rapidly during these years.  From what we know of Maczek and Yoheved, were they dealing with adult issues in their youth?
  How do these stories add to your understanding of the Holocaust?  Do they provide you with any details or information that you might not have received in a more general description of the ghettos and death camps?
  If you had an opportunity to speak with Maczek and Yoheved today, what would you want to ask them about their Holocaust years and their post-Holocaust experiences?

 

 

2.   INTEGRATING PRIMARY SOURCES IN TEACHING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST 

                                 

                                                      Primary Sources

     Dr. Bauer listed some of the key documents pertaining to the Holocaust that he believes are essential for examining the dynamics of the Third Reich.  We are studying three of the recommended documents in detail, as an historian would approach such sources.    The three documents are the following:

 

1)   The Nuremberg Laws (1935);
2)   Regulation for the Elimination of Jews from the Economic Life of Germany (November 12, 1938);
3)   Schnellbrief (September 21, 1939)

 

     It might be useful for the class to share the work of reviewing and analyzing the three documents.  The class could be divided into three groups, with each group focusing on one of the documents.   In the final twenty minutes of class the three groups could come together to share their respective documents.   If two class periods are available, the first period could be devoted to the three groups working on their respective documents; the second period could be the debrief from the three groups. 

 

Document 1

The Nuremberg Laws

 

1. Reich Citizenship
2. Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor
3. First Regulation of the Reich Citizenship Law

 

     The Nuremberg Laws are a series of measures designed to define and protect German citizens.  They were promulgated in the fall of 1935 and served as a basis for future antisemitic legislation in the Third Reich.

 

Reich Citizenship Law

September 15, 1935

                                                      

The Reichstag has unanimously enacted the following law, which is promulgated herewith:

 

                                                   Paragraph 1

1)   A subject of the State is a person who enjoys the protection of the German Reich and who in consequence has specific obligations towards it.

2)   The status of the subject of the State is acquired in accordance with the provisions of the Reich and State Citizenship Law.                  

                                             Paragraph 2

1)   A Reich citizen is a subject of the State who is of German or related blood, who proves by his conduct that he is willing and fit faithfully to serve the German people and Reich.

2)   Reich citizenship is acquired through the granting of a Reich Citizenship Certificate.

3)   The Reich citizen is the sole bearer of full political rights in accordance with the Law.

                                             Paragraph 3

The Reich Minister of the Interior, in coordination with the Deputy of the Fuhrer, will issue the Legal and Administrative orders required to implement and complete this Law.

 

Nuremberg, September 15, 1935

At the Reich Party Congress of Freedom

                            The Fuhrer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler

                            The Reich Minister of the Interior Frick

 

Nuremberg Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor

                             September 15, 1935

 

Moved by the understanding that purity of the German Blood is the essential condition for the continued existence of the German people, and inspired by the inflexible determination to ensure the existence of the German Nation for all time, the Reichstag has unanimously adopted the following Law, which is promulgated herewith:

 

                                                Paragraph 1

1)   Marriages between Jews and subjects of the state of German or related blood are forbidden.  Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent the law.

2)   Only the State Prosecutor can initiate annulment proceedings.

                                                Paragraph 2

Extramarital intercourse between Jews and subjects of the state of German or related blood is forbidden.

                                                 Paragraph 3

Jews may not employ in their households female subjects of the state of German or related blood who are under 45 years old.

    &Paragraph 4

1)   Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich or National flag or display the Reich colors.

2)   They are, on the other hand, permitted to display the Jewish colors.  The exercise of this right is protected by the State.

         Paragraph 5

1)   Any person who violates the prohibition under paragraph 1 will be punished by a prison sentence with hard labor.

2)   A male who violates the prohibition under paragraph n 2 will be punished with a prison sentence with or without hard labor.

3)   Any person violating the provisions under paragraphs 3 or 4 will be punished with a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine, or with one or the other of these penalties.

     Paragraph 6

The Reich Minister of the Interior, in coordination with the Deputy of the Fuhrer and the Reich Minister of Justice, will issue the Legal and Administrative regulations required to implement and complete this Law.

         Paragraph 7

The Law takes effect on the day following promulgations except for paragraph 3, which goes into force on January 1, 1936.

 

Nuremberg, September 15, 1935

At the Reich Party Congress of Freedom

    The Fuhrer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler

    The Reich Minister of the Interior Frick

    The Reich Minister of Justice Dr. Gurtner

    The Deputy of the Fuhrer R. Hess

 

First Regulation of the Reich Citizenship Law

November 14, 1935

 

. . . .

 

     Paragraph 4

1)   A Jew cannot be a Reich citizen.  He has no voting rights in political matters; he can not occupy a public office.

2)   Jewish officials will retire as of December 31, 1935.

 

     Paragraph 5

1)   A Jew is a person descended from at least three grandparents who are full Jews by race.

2)   A Mischling who is a subject of the state is also considered a Jew if he is descended from two full Jewish grandparents

a)   who was a member of the Jewish Religious Community at the time of the promulgation of this Law, or was admitted to it subsequently;

b)   who was married to a Jew at the time of the promulgation of this Law, or subsequently married to a Jew;

c)   who was born from a marriage with a Jew in accordance with paragraph 1, contracted subsequently to the promulgation of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor of September 15, 1935 (Reichsgesetzblatt, I,  1146);

d)   who was born as the result of extramarital intercourse with a Jew in accordance with paragraph 1, and was born illegitimately after July 31, 1936.

 

Connections:

 

     Why was it necessary for the Nazis to enact this legislation in 1935?  What was the overall purpose of the legislation?

     Looking specifically at the Reich Citizenship Law, what is the difference between a subject and a citizen?  What does it mean to be a “bearer of full political rights”?  What does it mean to be a subject with obligations to the German Reich without having full political rights?

     Study the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor.  What is the purpose of this law?  Should people have a right to marry whom they wish or should the State be able to say that a person is forbidden to marry someone because of a group to which he or she belongs?  Why?

     Look up on the internet the Supreme Court Case of Loving v. Virginia (1967).    Discuss how issues in this case relate to the question of who controls the right to decide on marriage—individuals or the State.     

     How did the Nazis define Jews legally in the First Regulation of the Reich Citizenship Law, November 14, 1935?  Why were distinctions made between Jews and Mischlinge?  Why was it so important for the Nazi state to define Jews legally?        

 

 

     Document 2

 

Regulation for the Elimination of the Jews from the Economic Life of Germany, November 12, 1938

 

On the basis of the regulation for the implementation of the Four Year Plan of October 18, 1936 (Reichsgesetzblatt, I, 887) the following is decreed:

    Paragraph 1

1) From January 1, 1939, Jews (paragraph 5 of the First Regulation of the Reich Citizenship Law of November 14, 1935, Reichsgetsetzblatt, I, 1333)

are forbidden to operate retail stores, mail-order houses, or sales agencies, or to carry on a trade (craft) independently.

     2) They are further forbidden, from the same day on, to offer for

sale goods or services, to advertise these, or to accept orders at markets of all sorts, fairs or exhibitions.

3) Jewish trade enterprises [Third Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law of June 14, 1938 . . .) which violate this decree will be closed by police.

     Paragraph 2

1) From January 1, 1939, a Jew can no longer be the head of an enterprise within the meaning of the law of January 20, 1934, for the Regulation of National Work.

2) Where a Jew is employed in an executive position in a commercial enterprise he may be given notice to leave in six weeks.  At the expiration of the term of the notice of all claims of the employee based on his contract, especially those concerning pension and compensation rights, become invalid.

     Paragraph 3

1) A Jew cannot be a member of a cooperative.

2) The membership of Jews in cooperative expires on

    December 21, 1938.  No special notice is required.

     Paragraph 4

The Reich Minister of the Economy, in coordination with the Ministers concerned, is empowered to publish regulations for the implementation of this decree.  He may permit exceptions under the Law if these are required as a result of the transfer of a Jewish enterprise to non-Jewish ownership, for the liquidation of a Jewish enterprise or, in special cases, to ensure essential supplies.

Berlin, November 12, 1938

Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan

Goring

Field Marshal General

 

Connections:

    

     Before Kristallnacht (The November Pogrom—November 9-10, 1938), the Nazis had taken measures to compel Jews to sell their property to “Aryans” at greatly reduced rates.  This process, known as Aryanization, was voluntary in the early Nazi era and became mandatory by 1937-8.  How did the Regulation for the Elimination of Jews from the Economic Life of Germany further diminish the economic situation for German Jews?

 

     Jews were the victims of destruction and property loss during Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938.  In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, why did the Nazi state find it important to eliminate Jews from the German economy?

 

     For German Jews, what were the social and political effects of such legislation?

 

         

Document 3

 

The Schnellbrief:

Instructions by Heydrich on Policy and Operations concerning Jews

in the Occupied Territories

September 21, 1939

 

 

    [Another document recommended by Dr. Bauer is the Schnellbrief by Reinhard Heydrich, concerning the creation of ghettos in Eastern Europe in the early stages of World War II.    Here, the Chief of the Security Police clarifies how Jews are to be concentrated in certain areas and how Jewish leaders are to be designated to carry out the Nazi policies regarding Jews.]

 

     Schnellbrief

     To Chiefs of all Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police

    Subject: Jewish Question in Occupied Territories

 

I refer to the conference held in Berlin today, and again point out that the planned total measures (i.e. the final aim—Endziel) are to be kept strictly secret.

    Distinction must be made between:

  1. the final aim (which will require extended periods of time) and
  2. the stages leading to the fulfillment of this final aim (which will be carried out in short periods).

      The planned measures require the most thorough preparation with regard to technical as well as economic aspects.

       It is obvious that the tasks ahead cannot be laid down from here in full detail.  The instructions and directives below must serve also for the purpose of urging chiefs of the Einsatzgruppen to give practical consideration [to the problems involved].

 

I.

 

For the time being, the first prerequisite for the final aim is the concentration of the Jews from the countryside into the large cities.

      This is to be carried out speedily.

      In doing so, distinction must be made

1)   between the zones of Danzig and West Prussia, Poznan, Eastern Upper Silesia, and

2)   the other occupied zones.

   As far as possible the areas referred to under 1) are to be cleared of Jews; at least the aim should be to establish only few cities of concentration.

  In areas under 2), as few concentration centers as possible are to be set up, so as to facilitate subsequent measures.  In this connection it should be borne in mind that only cities which are rail junctions, or are at least located on railroad lines, should  be selected as concentration points.

   On principle, Jewish communities of less than 500 persons are to be dissolved and transferred to the nearest concentration center.

    This decree does not apply to the area of Einsatzgruppen 1, which is situated east of Cracow and is bounded roughly by Polanice, Jaroslaw, the new line of demarcation, and the former Slovak-Polish border.  Within this area only an approximate census of Jews is to be carried out.  Furthermore, Councils of Jewish Elders (Judische Altestenrate or Judenrate), as outlined below, are to be set up.

 

II

Councils of Jewish Elders

1)   In each Jewish community, a Council of Jewish Elders is to be set up which, as far as possible, is to be composed of the remaining authoritative personalities and rabbis.  The Council is to be composed of up to 24 male Jews (depending on the size of the Jewish community).

      The Council is to be made fully responsible, in the literal sense of the word, for the exact and prompt implementation of directives already issued or to be issued in the future.

2)   In the case of sabotage of such instructions, the Councils are to be warned that the most severe measures will be taken.

3)   The Judenrate (Jewish Councils) are to carry out an approximate census of the Jews of their areas, broken down if possible according to sex (and age groups): a) up to 16 years, b) from 16 to 20 years, and c) above; and also according to the principal occupations.  The results are to be reported in the shortest possible time.

4)   The Councils of Elders are to be informed of the date and time of the evacuation, the means available for evacuation, and, finally, the departure routes.  They are then to be made personally responsible for the evacuation of the Jews from the countryside.

      The reason to be given for the concentration of the Jews in the cities is that the Jews have taken a decisive part in sniper attacks and plundering.

5)   The Councils of Elders in the concentration centers are to be made responsible for the appropriate housing of the Jews arriving from the countryside.

      For reasons of general police security, the concentration of the Jews in the cities will probably call for regulation in these cities which will forbid their entry to certain quarters completely and that—but with due regard for economic requirements—they may, for instance, not leave the ghetto, nor leave their homes after a certain hour in the evening, etc.

6)   The Councils of Elders are also to be made responsible for the suitable provisioning of the Jews during the transport to the cities.

      There is no objection to the evacuated Jews taking with them their movable possessions in so far as that is technically possible.

7)   Jews who fail to comply with the order to move into cities are to be given a short additional period of grace where there was sufficient reason for the delay.  They are to be warned of the most severe penalties if they fail to move by the later date set.

 

III

All necessary measures are, on principle, always to be taken in closest consultation and cooperation with the German civil administration and the competent local military authorities. . . .

 

IV

The Chiefs of the Einsatzgruppen are to report to me continuously on the following matters:

1)   Numerical survey of the Jews present in their areas.

2)   Names of the cities, which have been designated as concentration centers.

3)   The dates set for the Jews to move to the cities.

4)   Surveys of all the Jewish [owned] war and other essential industries and enterprises, or those important to the Four Year Plan in their areas.

 

V

In order to reach the planned aims, I expect the fullest cooperation of the whole manpower of the Security Police and the SD.

     The Chiefs of neighboring Einsatzgruppen are to establish contact with each other immediately in order to cover the areas in question completely.

     VI

The High Command of the Army; the Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan (attention: Secretary of State Newmann), and Reich Ministry of the Interior (attention: State Secretary Stuckart), for Food and the Economy (attention: State Secretary Landfried), as well as the Chiefs of Civil Administration of the Occupied Territories have received copies of this decree.

     Signed Heydrich

 

 

Connections:

 

The group dealing with the Schnellbrief should write an article for the New York Times in late September 1939, describing Heydrich’s role in the Nazi Party and his directions for the formation of ghettos and Judenrate (Jewish Councils).  It is particularly important to explain to American readers why the Nazi administration felt it was imperative for Jews to be concentrated within cities and supervised by Councils carrying out Nazi directive.  Also, the article should indicate what Heydrich meant by the “final aim.”  In writing the article, please indicate the reporter’s perspectives on the Schnellbrief.  Save enough time at the end of the class for the respective groups to share their articles. 

 

Exploratory Questions:

  • Did the reporter see the directions as ominous? 
  • Did the reporter regard the directions as regular precautions for a wartime situation? 
  • Did the reporter view the creation of Jewish Councils as sinister or as an efficient way of Nazis dealing with Jewish communities? 

    

      

 

3)   INTEGRATING TESTIMONIES OF HOLOCAUST EYEWITNESSES (survivors, rescuers, resisters, liberators) IN CLASSROOMS STUDYING THE HOLOCAUST

     The visit to a classroom of a Holocaust survivor or eyewitness is a memorable—and perhaps a once in a lifetime—event for students.  Bauer feels that it is very important if possible to hear the testimonies of eyewitnesses first hand.  Hearing a Holocaust survivor is touching history—a unique opportunity to bring history into the classroom.  It is a challenging and a powerful experience.

Before the survivor comes:

  1. Ask permission to videotape the visit. 
  2. By telephone conduct a preliminary interview with the person.  Ask about life before the Holocaust, the Holocaust period, and the post-Holocaust experience.   Where is the survivor from?  What ghetto and /or camp is the survivor from?  How did they get to the United States?  Be sure that this eyewitness is the one who can communicate with your class most effectively.
  3. Ask the eyewitness(es) to bring in any artifacts that they have. 
  4. Prepare the students.  Have them do research.  Have them look at a map or maps relating to the survivor.  Have them research the ghetto and/or concentration camp.  The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website is a good resource—www.ushmm.org.  Look at primary sources that relate to the survivor’s life.
  5. Tell them a brief anecdotal story about the witness so they will have questions to ask.  Have them write down five questions that relate to the survivor’s experience.   They can focus questions on general themes related to the following: family, education, gender, politics, religion, and occupation.  Practice interview techniques before the survivor arrives.
  6. If the eyewitness has a memoir, have students read in advance of the visit.
  7. Remind the students that they cannot base history on testimonies alone.  Testimonies are remembrances.  A date or some other fact may be inaccurate so students will have to check other sources, such as Encyclopedia of the Holocaust for historical facts.
  8. Focus on the pre-Holocaust history of the survivor; then the focus will not be just on Jews as victims.  See first two chapters of Bauer’s A History of the Holocaust pages 15-35.
  9. Consider the need for transportation.  Many eyewitnesses no longer drive.
  10. Caution—just because the person is a Holocaust survivor does not mean he or she will be an expert presenter.  But the students will get something valuable from the presentation as well as from the question and answer session that follows the presentation. 

During the visit:

  1. Have a team of recorders.  Students can do artwork, photography, and writing projects based on their response to the survivor’s testimony..
  2. Videotape the witness, if you have permission.  Then you will have a permanent resource.
  3. Have tissues and water available for the eyewitness.
  4. Set a time limit of one hour.  This can be a grueling and tiring experience.
  5. Be supportive.  Telling the story is repeating the trauma, so it is painful.
  6. Be sensitive to dialects and accents.  Prepare your students for this.
  7. Be sure to thank the survivor for visiting and speaking.  Perhaps a bouquet of flowers.

After the visit:

  1. Call the survivor the day after.  Perhaps too he or she may have a question about the visit.
  2. Do an activity afterwards to process what was said—perhaps response letters to the survivor.
  3. Could write and send thank you notes about what it meant to each student to have the witness speak.  Make them personal, not a form letter that students copy.  It is very rewarding for survivors to receive these letters.
  4. Create a diary or a picture.  Create a garden or a memorial.  Make a quilt.  In fact, email us with your ideas, so we can put them up on our site.
  5. At home or school students can do computer projects, finding good websites and maps to develop the eyewitness’s testimony further.

 

4)      INTEGRATING MAPS IN TEACHING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST

 

For the map exercises, use A History of the Holocaust as a reference for specific maps.

 

Yehuda Bauer integrates maps throughout A History to the Holocaust (Revised Edition) because they are essential to understanding the Third Reich and graphically chronicle the experience of European Jews during the Holocaust.  The Nazis sought lebensraum (living space) in Eastern Europe to accommodate the pure German population.   In order to fulfill this policy, Jews and other non-German peoples would have to be relocated.    Europe, according to the Nazis, had to become Judenfrei (free of Jews). 

 

It is critical to understand where events of the Holocaust were taking place and where Jews lived.  Dr. Bauer includes maps throughout his texts, but especially in A History of the Holocaust (revised edition).  Why is it important to include maps when studying the Holocaust?

 

    1.   Look at the map on page 26—

Two Thousand Years of Jewish Life in Europe:
The Age of Jewish Communities in Europe as of 1939

 

As Dr. Bauer explains in the caption:  Many of the Jewish communities of Europe had come into existence centuries before the founding of the nations to which they would become a part.  Other Jewish communities had been destroyed or their Jewish populations expelled during the Middle Ages; these communities were refounded once, twice or even three or four times.  Jews had been living in Germany for fifteen hundred years before Otto von Bismarck created the unified German nation in 1871.

 

  • Studying the map, discuss whether you would consider Jews an integral part of European history. 
  • Where do you find that Jewish communities have existed the longest period? 
  • In which countries did Jewish communities become established more recently?
  • Thinking about the history of the Third Reich, which countries became part of Nazi-occupied Europe?  How many of these countries included long-standing Jewish communities?

 

 

  1. Examine the map on page 42—Jews in the World in the Early Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century: A Comparison.  This comparative map of the populations of Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries is dealing with centuries of great population growth of all peoples.  Also, it is during this era in Europe that Jews were assimilated, gaining equal political rights with all citizens.

 

Connections:

 

     In which areas of the world do you note the greatest growth of the Jewish population between the 19th and 20th centuries?  How do you account for such growth in these areas?  What types of skills did Jews bring to these areas?

 

     Discuss the political and economic factors that contributed to the increase of Jews in Europe and North America?  What might have slowed down such growth of the Jewish populations in Asia and Africa?

 

     Where are Jews dispersed today?  Go on the internet and find demographics for Jews in the twentieth-first century. 

 

 

  1. See the map on page 148—The German Partition of Poland, 1939/41-1945.

 

 Connections:

 

     Why was Poland divided between Germany and the U.S.S.R. between September 1939 and June 1941? 

 

     What occurred in June 1941 that dramatically altered the division of Poland?

 

     Discuss the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) actions that took place along the Russian-Polish border in the summer of 1941.  How do you explain the mass murder of over a million Jews along the border? 

 

 

  1. What about the map on page 222—Plans to Implement the Final Solution?  Nazi leaders met at the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1942, to decide on the administrative measures for carrying out the “Final Solution” to the Jewish problem.  Months earlier the leadership had already determined that the mass murder of  European Jews was to become policy.  At the meeting, the number of Jews scheduled for mass murder in each country was calculated.   The conference even specified the number of Jews in countries such as Great Britain, Spain, Ireland and Switzerland that had not been conquered by Germany.

 

Connections:

 

     Where were most Jews located?  Which countries lost the greatest number of Jews?

 

     Bulgaria and Denmark saved many of their Jews.  Why?  Did the geography of these countries help the Jews?  Research this question. 

 

5.

  Look at the map on page 223—The Concentration Camps (selected sites). Auschwitz Birkenau was a concentration camp in which more than 1.3 million people were murdered: approximately one million were Jews; the rest were Poles, Soviet POW’s, Roma, and others between 1941-1944.
Concentration camps solely established for the murder of Jews were sometimes referred to as death camps.  There were other camps in which Jews and non-Jews were used as slave labor.  Most of these camps had satellite labor camps nearby.

 

Connections:

 

     Where are most of the concentration camps located?  Where were the death camps located?  Research the reasons.

 

     Distinguish between a labor camp and a death camp?  Why were so many labor camps located in Germany?    Research the reasons.

  

     What was unique about Auschwitz in the camp system?  Why is Auschwitz infamous?  Discuss why Auschwitz is often used as a symbol for the entire era of the Holocaust? 

 
 
 

Dimensions Online
Volume 18, No. 1, Fall 2004
Yehuda Bauer

Volume 17, No. 2, Fall 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust--Part II

Volume 17, No.1, Spring 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust-- Part I

Volume 16, No. 1, Fall 2002
Remembrance and Commemoration of Two Catastrophes: September 11th and the Holocaust

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