Include a number of pictures which can be photocopied from books on the Holocaust, or downloaded from a variety of sites, such as www.aish.com/holocaust.
All the photos are courtesy of Yad Vashem
Never Shall I Forget
By Elie Wiesel
Never shall I forget that night,
the first night in the camp
which has turned my life into one long night,
seven times cursed and seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the little faces of the children
whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke
beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames
which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence
which deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.
Never shall I forget those moments
which murdered my God and my soul
and turned my dreams to dust.
Never shall I forget these things,
even if I am condemned to live
as long as God Himself.
By Dan Pagis
No no: they definitely were
human beings: uniforms, boots.
How to explain? They were created
in the image.
I was a shade.
A different creator made me.
And he in his memory left nothing of me that would die.
And I fled to him, rose weightless, blue,
forgiving - I would even say: apologizing - smoke to omnipotent smoke
without image or likeness.
By Primo Levi
You who live secure
In your warm houses,
Who return at evening to find
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider whether this is a man
Who labours in the mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a crust of bread
Who dies at a yes or a no.
Consider whether this is a woman,
Without hair or name
With no more strength to remember
Eyes empty and womb cold
As a frog in winter.
Consider that this has been:
I commend these works to you.
Engrave them on your hearts
When you in your house, when you walk on your way,
When you go to bed, when you rise.
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house crumble,
Disease render you powerless,
Your offspring avert their faces from you.
The Execution of Memory
By Jerry Ficowski
When the first patches of snow
melt on the mud banks
by the little town spats splash
a black procession
of grey-bearded hassidim returns
they recognize old Abierooks
Hebrew verses of twigs
Here once a synagogue stood
with a bird-belfry of poplars
Boughs lifted like hands
greet the salvo of silence
and memory killed
falls a leafless skeleton of shadow headlong
and the sudden passing of time
with the thaw bleeds again
I would like just to be silent
but being silent I lie
I would like just to walk but walking I trample
Germany invades Poland
After creating a series of provocations, Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939. In response to the invasion, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany on September 3. First Jewish ghetto established. On October 8, 1939, Hans Drexler, the commander of Piotrkow Trybunalski, a town in central Poland, created by decree a ghetto for the vibrant community of 18,000 Jews. The Piotrkow Ghetto is the first known ghetto to have been formed in occupied Poland.
Jews in Poland must wear the Jewish Badge
On November 23, 1939, Hans Frank, as governor-general, ordered all Jewish men and women aged ten and above, "to wear on the right sleeve of their garments and upper garments a white band bearing a [blue] Star of David at least ten centimeters wide."
Nazis perform "Euthanasia" on mental patients
The Nazis used poison gas to murder millions of human beings whom they deemed undesirable. "Gas vans" were first deployed in the 1940 "Euthanasia" operation to rid Germany of 70,000-100,000 mentally ill or retarded, chronically ill, and criminal persons.
The largest military offensive in history began on June 22, 1941. The armed forces of Germany and its allies attacked the Soviet Union along a frontier 1,800 miles long. The Red Army were unprepared for the brutal and seemingly unstoppable Wehrmacht, which attained prodigious success in the first few weeks, killing or taking prisoner masses of Soviet soldiers.
Killings by the Einsatzgruppen in the USSR
By the Spring of 1943, when the Germans began their retreat from Soviet Territory, the Einsatzgruppen had murdered approximately 1.25 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of other Soviet nationals including Prisoners of War, by order of Heydrich.
Goering orders Heydrich to prepare a plan for the "Final Solution of Jewish Problem."
On July 31, 1941, Hermann Goering instructed Reinhard Heydrich to compose and submit "all the necessary preparations with regard to organizational, practical and financial aspects for an overall solution of the "Jewish question" in the German sphere of influence in Europe".
On January 20, 1942, a meeting took place in a villa in Wannsee, on the outskirts of Berlin, to discuss the measures and inter-ministerial coordination needed to implement the "Final Solution of the Jewish Problem". It was attended by the State Secretaries of the most important German government ministries. Heydrich's plan targeted all 11 million Jews in Europe. The directors of the government offices presented no obstacles; the meeting lasted only 60-90 minutes.
April 19: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Begins
The final liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto began on the Eve of Passover, April 19, 1943. The Germans had amassed a military force to carry it out, but did not anticipate any opposition from the weak and starving ghetto dwellers.
After three days of street battles, the Germans began to torch the ghetto, building by building. Most of the Jews who emerged from their hideouts, including entire families, were murdered by the Germans on the spot.The ghetto Jews gradually lost the strength to resist. Even before thewar ended, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising became a symbol of Jewish resistance.
1943: Danish Jews Rescued
In Denmark, all segments of the population went into action to save the Jews. King Christian X expressed his firm objection to the German plans, the heads of the Danish churches published a strong protest and urged the public to help the Jews, and, the universities were shut down for a week, with the students lending a hand in the rescue operation. Within three weeks, 7,200 Jews and another 700 non-Jewish relatives were taken to the safety of Sweden.
April 7: Two Jewish Prisoners Deliver "Auschwitz Protocols"
Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, two Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz, escaped from the camp on April 7, 1944, and provided detailed reports on the murder practiced there. On May 16, the gist of the report was forwarded to the West which then understood clearly that Auschwitz was, in fact, an extermination camp.
June 6, 1944: "D-Day"
The great Allied invasion of Hitler's fortress Europe, the largest amphibious operation in military history, began under General Dwight David Eisenhower at 6:00 a.m. as forces began to land along the coast of northern France. Within 10 days Hitler's generals convinced him to authorize a retreat.
October 18, 1945: Nuremberg Trials Begin
An international tribunal in Nuremberg began to hear the cases of 22 Nazi leaders in government, the army, and the economy. It was the first trial in history meant to administer punishment by means of proper jurisprudence, including adequate defense for the accused, and not by executions or the summary verdicts of lightning trials. The court declared that the following of superior orders was not a cause for the perpetration of a crime.In the rulings, delivered on September 30 and October 1, 1946, 12 defendants were sentenced to death.
May 10, 1933: Nazis burn thousands of anti-Nazi, Jewish-authored, and "degenerate" books
The rationale behind public book-burning, the suppression of free speech and ideas, swiftly evolved into a general tactic that was cast into an administrative framework.
January 30-February 1, 1933: Hitler becomes Chancellor
Hitler took over all mechanisms of governance and functions of state, making Nazi Germany a totalitarian dictatorship.
Nuremberg Laws enacted
The term "Nuremberg Laws" refers to anti-Jewish legislation adopted at the Nazi Party Convention, where the Reichstag were guests, in Nuremberg on September 15, 1935. Jews were deprived of electoral rights and made into second-class citizens. The immediate result was the dismissal of all Jewish civil servants, employees, and workers who still held their jobs. Jews were forbidden to marry nationals of German or kindred blood.
July 6-15, 1938: Evian Conference
Eleven days after the Anschluss, as the persecution spree ruled out the possibility of an orderly departure of refugees from Germany and Austria, President Roosevelt proposed an international conference at Evian, to establish a new international organization that would elaborate an overall solution to the refugee problem. Representatives of 29 states met in Evian and explained why they could not take in masses of refugees from Germany and Austria.
October 5, 1938: Passports of German Jews marked with the letter "J"
The Swiss Alien Police, wishing to stanch the influx of refugees, asked the Germans to introduce a symbol of some kind so that they could identify Jews at the border checkpoints. Jews were given two weeks to deposit their passports with the police and were allowed to reclaim them only after they were imprinted with the letter "J".
Back to Teaching the Holocaust Activity