Yehuda Bauer: Teaching about the Holocaust (Part 2)
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
Integrating Stories of Individuals in Teaching about the
Integrating Primary Sources in Teaching about the
Integrating Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors in
Integrating Maps in Teaching about the Holocaust
STORIES OF INDIVIDUALS IN TEACHING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST
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
Story 1: The Story of Maczek
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.
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
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
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
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.
quoted in Yehuda Bauer, A History of the Holocaust
(Revised Edition) (New York: Franklin Watts, 2001): 243-4.
||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?
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?
PRIMARY SOURCES IN TEACHING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST
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
The Nuremberg Laws
Regulation for the
Elimination of Jews from the Economic Life of Germany
(November 12, 1938);
(September 21, 1939)
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.
The Nuremberg Laws
||Law for the
Protection of German Blood and Honor
Regulation of the Reich Citizenship Law
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
Reichstag has unanimously enacted the following law,
which is promulgated herewith:
1) A subject of the
State is a person who enjoys the protection of the German
Reich and who in consequence has specific obligations
2) The status of the
subject of the State is acquired in accordance with the
provisions of the Reich and State Citizenship
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
3) The Reich citizen
is the sole bearer of full political rights in accordance
with the Law.
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
Fuhrer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler
Reich Minister of the Interior Frick
Nuremberg Law for the
Protection of German Blood and German Honor
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
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.
Extramarital intercourse between
Jews and subjects of the state of German or related blood is
Jews may not employ in their
households female subjects of the state of German or related
blood who are under 45 years old.
1) Jews are forbidden
to fly the Reich or National flag or display the Reich
2) They are, on the
other hand, permitted to display the Jewish colors. The
exercise of this right is protected by the State.
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.
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.
takes effect on the day following promulgations except for
paragraph 3, which goes into force on January 1, 1936.
September 15, 1935
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
. . . .
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.
Jew is a person descended from at least three grandparents
who are full Jews by race.
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
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.
• Why was it
necessary for the Nazis to enact this legislation in 1935?
What was the overall purpose of the legislation?
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?
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
1) From January 1, 1939, Jews
(paragraph 5 of the First Regulation of the Reich
Citizenship Law of November 14, 1935, Reichsgetsetzblatt,
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
3) Jewish trade enterprises
[Third Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law of June 14, 1938 . . .) which
violate this decree will be closed by police.
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.
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.
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.
November 12, 1938
Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan
Field Marshal General
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
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
Instructions by Heydrich on
Policy and Operations concerning Jews
in the Occupied Territories
September 21, 1939
[Another document recommended by Dr. Bauer is the
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.]
To Chiefs of all Einsatzgruppen of the
Subject: Jewish Question in
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:
final aim (which will require extended periods of time)
stages leading to the fulfillment of this final aim
(which will be carried out in short periods).
planned measures require the most thorough preparation with
regard to technical as well as economic aspects.
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
give practical consideration [to the problems involved].
time being, the first prerequisite for the final aim is the
concentration of the Jews from the countryside into the
is to be carried out speedily.
doing so, distinction must be made
1) between the zones
of Danzig and West Prussia, Poznan, Eastern Upper Silesia,
2) the other occupied
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
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.
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
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 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
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.
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.
. . .
The Chiefs of the
Einsatzgruppen are to report to me continuously on the
1) Numerical survey
of the Jews present in their areas.
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
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
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.
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.
the reporter see the directions as ominous?
the reporter regard the directions as regular
precautions for a wartime situation?
the reporter view the creation of Jewish Councils as
sinister or as an efficient way of Nazis dealing with
TESTIMONIES OF HOLOCAUST EYEWITNESSES (survivors, rescuers,
resisters, liberators) IN CLASSROOMS STUDYING THE HOLOCAUST
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.
the survivor comes:
permission to videotape the visit.
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.
the eyewitness(es) to bring in any artifacts that they
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.
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.
- If the
eyewitness has a memoir, have students read in advance
of the visit.
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.
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
Consider the need for transportation. Many eyewitnesses
no longer drive.
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:
- Have a
team of recorders. Students can do artwork,
photography, and writing projects based on their
response to the survivor’s testimony..
Videotape the witness, if you have permission. Then you
will have a permanent resource.
tissues and water available for the eyewitness.
- Set a
time limit of one hour. This can be a grueling and
supportive. Telling the story is repeating the trauma,
so it is painful.
sensitive to dialects and accents. Prepare your
students for this.
sure to thank the survivor for visiting and speaking.
Perhaps a bouquet of flowers.
After the visit:
the survivor the day after. Perhaps too he or she may
have a question about the visit.
- Do an
activity afterwards to process what was said—perhaps
response letters to the survivor.
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.
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.
home or school students can do computer projects,
finding good websites and maps to develop the
eyewitness’s testimony further.
IN TEACHING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST
map exercises, use A History of the Holocaust as a
reference for specific maps.
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).
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?
at the map on page 26—
Years of Jewish Life in Europe:
of Jewish Communities in Europe as of 1939
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.
do you find that Jewish communities have existed the
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
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.
• 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.
the map on page 148—The German Partition of Poland,
• 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?
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.
• Where were most
Jews located? Which countries lost the greatest number of
• Bulgaria and
Denmark saved many of their Jews. Why? Did the geography
of these countries help the Jews? Research this question.
||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.
• Where are most of
the concentration camps located? Where were the death camps
located? Research the reasons.
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?