These videos and accompanying lesson plans have been curated by Museum historians and educators for use in middle and high school classrooms to support accurate and effective teaching about the Holocaust.
Teaching Holocaust history requires a high level of sensitivity and keen awareness of the complexity of the subject matter. These guidelines reflect approaches appropriate for effective teaching in general and are particularly relevant to Holocaust education.
- Americans and the Holocaust Tour
In this 39-minute tour, Dr. Daniel Greene, US Holocaust Memorial Museum historian and exhibition curator, walks through the Americans and the Holocaust exhibition and provides an overview of the history, themes, and artifacts presented throughout. The viewing guide includes reflection questions to consider while watching the tour and concluding writing prompts.
- Animated Video Series: Behind Every Name
This series of animated videos is based on first-hand accounts from the Museum’s collection. Each video tells a personal story of a Holocaust victim, survivor, rescuer, or eyewitness using recorded testimony, diaries, memoirs, letters, and photographs. Videos are 5-8 minutes.
The accompanying lesson plan explores these stories and provides opportunities to analyze artifacts.
- Anne Frank: Her World and Her Diary
Anne Frank was one of six million Jewish victims murdered during the Holocaust. Anne's diary, written during her two years in hiding with her family in Amsterdam, remains one of the world's most widely read works of nonfiction. This 12-minute film places Anne Frank’s life and words within the wider historical context of the Holocaust.
The accompanying lesson plan provides activities and historical context for before, during, and after reading Anne Frank's diary. Students will examine Anne Frank’s diary as both a historical and a deliberately-created literary text, and will understand how the Holocaust affected the lives of the Frank family.
- Bearing Witness: Elie Wiesel and Night
This 8-minute film places Wiesel’s experiences and Night within the wider historical context of the Holocaust. The accompanying lesson plan helps teachers and students understand the fuller historical context of the events described in Wiesel’s writing, the purpose of a memoir, and the concept of bearing witness while examining Night's historical and literary contexts.
- European Antisemitism from its Origins to the Holocaust
This 13-minute film introduces the history of antisemitism from its origins in the days of the early Christian church until the era of the Holocaust in the mid-20th century. It raises questions about why Jews have been targeted throughout history.
The accompanying lesson plan focuses on the history of antisemitism and its role in the Holocaust to better understand how prejudice and hate speech can contribute to violence, mass atrocity, and genocide.
- First Person: Conversations with a Holocaust Survivor
Watch recordings of Holocaust survivors during First Person conversations as they share their experiences in their own words. This signature Museum program features an hour-long discussion with a survivor and journalist, Bill Benson, and includes questions from the audience.
The accompanying lesson plan guides teachers and students through the recorded programs.
- The Path to Nazi Genocide
This 38-minute film examines the Nazis’ rise and consolidation of power in Germany. Using rare footage, the film explores their ideology, propaganda, and persecution of Jews and other victims. It also outlines the path by which the Nazis and their collaborators led a state to war and to the murder of millions of people.
The accompanying worksheet guides students through while watching. An answer key is available for educators.
- Three Minutes in Poland
This 3-minute film footage David Kurtz shot of Nasielsk, Poland, in 1938, provides the only known moving images of the predominantly Jewish town shortly before Germany invaded.
The accompanying lesson plan is designed to engage students in understanding the individuality of Jewish lives affected by or lost in the Holocaust and the cumulative effects of the Holocaust on communities.
- Trauma and Resilience: Post-War Survivor Testimony
Each person who lived during the Holocaust had a unique experience, and the context they were in mattered. There is no “one” Holocaust story but millions of unique experiences. This 20-minute film highlights various experiences of Holocaust survivors and helps students understand the complexity of the Holocaust and the impact the war and the Holocaust had on so many lives.
The accompanying lesson plan provides various activities for students to learn from survivor testimony.
- Why Didn’t They Just Leave: Challenges of Escape
During the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees tried to escape Europe and immigrate to the United States, but not everyone was successful. As the German government started to restrict the ability of Jews to earn a living, own property, and go to school, it became difficult to leave and challenging to find a country willing to accept them. This 13-minute video will help students understand the complex factors that led German Jews to seek to emigrate from Nazi Germany and the complex factors that impeded their immigration to the United States in the 1930s and 1940s.
The accompanying lesson plan utilizes primary sources to reinforce the themes discussed in the video.