GO11 Resources for Holocaust Memorial Day
Guidance for Schools
Information and Resources for Holocaust Memorial Day
Teachers need to preview all resources for suitability for their students
Guidance for Schools: Resources for Holocaust Memorial Day
Haringey Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE)
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY (HMD) 2017
The theme for HMD 2017 is: How Can Life Go On?
The Holocaust refers to the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people – the systematic, state-planned persecution and extermination by the Nazi regime and its collaborators of six million European Jews, simply for being who they were. The Nazis believed and promoted a racist doctrine that Aryan people were a superior master race, whose lives were more valuable and whose biological purity must be safeguarded at all costs. People were divided into Aryan and non Aryan groups, and policies and laws were implemented against the Jews who were considered racially inferior and at the bottom of the Aryan hierarchy. Life became increasingly difficult for Jewish people in Germany from the time the Nazis assumed power in 1933. Discrimination against Jews began immediately: they were gradually denied civil and human rights, intermarriage was forbidden, populist anti-semitic propaganda and persecution was widespread, and arrests and imprisonments in camps began.
On the eve of the Second World War, Hitler threatened the “annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe”, and in each area invaded by the Nazis after war began, Jews were forced to live in ghettos, deported to concentration camps or murdered in mass shootings (some 1.5 million) by the notorious Einsatzgruppen. With the development of the ‘Final Solution’ in 1942, all Jews were transported to death camps or labour camps, where they were either murdered in the gas chambers on arrival or worked to death. Almost three-quarters of European Jews, about half of the world Jewish population, were murdered in the Holocaust, widely regarded as the most terrible chapter in human history. Others groups considered different, and not ideal Aryans, who threatened racial purity, also suffered discrimination and persecution.
Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is commemorated each year on 27th January – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death and concentration camp. It remembers all the people who suffered, died and survived the Holocaust and other genocides, ethnic cleansings and mass slaughters of the 20th and 21st Centuries. No one knows the exact number of the people who died in the Holocaust although it is estimated that 15 million had their lives cut brutally short, including Jews, the disabled, the mentally ill, gay men and women, communists, political prisoners, Soviet prisoners of war, Slavs, Roma, ethnic Poles, anyone of African descent, and people such as beggars, vagrants, prostitutes, nonconformists, drug addicts and alcoholics. Jehovah’s Witnesses held beliefs that did not permit them to swear allegiance to Hitler, as they understood themselves to be citizens of Jehovah’s Kingdom. They were persecuted, imprisoned and sent to concentration camps, as were Christian pastors and priests who opposed the regime and many more who, for one reason or another, were considered and treated as inferior.
This mass murder of people in the Holocaust and now in other genocides and atrocities would not have been or still be possible without whole societies being told and believing that certain groups of people are inferior, dangerous, different, ideologically wrong and not fully human. History and current events show us clearly that holding people in contempt or dismissing them as inferior, or bullying and abusing power, can lead to shocking consequences.
How can life go on for people rebuilding their shattered lives who have witnessed and survived horror? The question posed is a broad, open ended theme that asks us to:
- think about genocide and to explore our understanding, responses and responsibilities;
- identify the slow dehumanization of people and groups and the stages along the way, that lead to genocide, brutality and inhumanity;
- wonder about how lives can be rebuilt after unimaginable suffering and how nations can heal when communities have been torn apart?
The Holocaust is one of the most devastating chapters in human history. Its aftermath and subsequent genocides continue to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations.
How do people deal with the trauma and pain of remembering?
How might films, colours, tastes, smells, clothes, trigger painful memories?
Why do some people remain silent for years or forever, while others feel compelled to speak up and out in response to their experience? We are invited and encouraged to look at ‘real life stories’ that survivors have shared and there are many on the Holocaust Memorial Day website.
This year’s quest encompasses the following related themes that schools may want to explore in response to the big question of ‘how can life go on?’
- Displacement; People’s stories and the response of nations.
- Justice – what is the meaning of justice after genocide?
- Rebuilding communities
- Reconciliation and Forgiveness
- Facing hate: denial and trivialisation
- Facing hate in communities today
- Teaching about living
HMD invites us to reflect on the consequences of prejudice, to face hateful attitudes and crimes towards minorities, and see how antisemitism and other racisms, Islamophobia, prejudice and the general demeaning of others, can fuel discrimination, violence and hate. It asks us to learn from the Holocaust, recent genocides and current events and to do all we can to raise awareness and prevent these appalling crimes against humanity from happening again.
This is not only a crucial question in the aftermath of the Holocaust and other genocides. The civil war in Syria has killed over a million people, others are irreparably wounded. The majority are left poor; half of the children no longer attend school and many hospitals are closed. Within this intractable and complicated military and ideological conflict are heart-warming stories of ordinary Syrians who have joined the White Helmets to rescue people from the rubble of buildings exploded by the fires of war. The White Helmets are being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Media attention is currently focused on the great exodus from Syria. Weekly, we are witnessing one of the worst human tragedies since the Holocaust. On our TV screens and in the news we see long lines of refugees walking to escape the terror, seeking refuge in countries where they are not welcome and living in makeshift camps. In Northern Greece over 300 Syrian children of all ages have lost their parents and there is no one to take care of them. The question posed by HMD 2017 is one that everyone needs to address as numerous Middle Eastern refugees flee their countries and war.
War affects everyone, those on the winning side and those who lose, as well as peacekeeping forces that go to help. The cost of war and violence is huge. It disrupts life, affecting ordinary people, who bear the brunt of the effects and aftermath of war. Exile, displacement, loss of family, friends and significant others, as well as homes and possessions are just some results of war. Many are traumatized by the brutality and inhumanity they experience at the hands of other human beings and suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome and other mental disorders. Those who survive, when their own people are exterminated, frequently feel guilty that they are alive, while others they have been close to, are dead.
Some people use their harrowing experience to educate everyone about the consequences of prejudice and hate, to stop future atrocities and also to speak for those whose stories can never be told. Others who have been through trauma, want to distance themselves, by trying to forget what has happened to them as they rebuild their lives. They go quiet, and try to dumb down their emotions. They can also be oppressed by guilt and shame for the complicit roles they have been forced to take, by obeying orders given by guards or soldiers to assist in the abuse, rape or slaughter of other citizens and prisoners of war. Some people wonder why they survived while everyone they were close to, is gone forever. How are bystanders affected and how do they respond? The narratives of peace keeping generals and soldiers are also instructive as they ask themselves if they did all that was possible or could they have done more?
The Haringey Context
19.4 % of children on the school roll in Haringey are refugees and we have the highest proportion of refugee children in the U.K. Refugees are a diverse group and come from Somalia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Albania. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Zimbabwe. Schools play a vital role in promoting the wellbeing of refugee children. Some have experienced traumatic events, including violence, separation and bereavement. We also have over 2000 asylum seekers in our schools. Exploring issues and appropriate themes sensitively that are related to Holocaust Memorial Day, can increase and foster understanding of the lives and experience of some of the children we find in our schools. HMD enables schools to explore critical moral issues, investigate human behaviour, respond to inspirational stories and consider what it means to be a responsible British citizen.
A focus on HMD can help schools to plan lessons that
- identify the roots and consequences of prejudice, racism and stereotyping and challenge intolerance;
- consider what it means to live in a British plural, society and explore meanings of diversity and difference and the opportunities and challenges this presents (cultural, religious, social);
- reflect on the dangers of doing nothing and being indifferent to the treatment and oppression of others;
- enable students to be inspired by and learn from real life survivor stories of courage and faith;
- Use an encounter with a survivor or a field trip, visit, film clip, book, poetry and art sharing their experiences to stimulate enquiry;
- initiate actions and projects, raise money for charities, hold a remembrance event, work with artists and poets in residence, develop or sign a charter on a chosen theme and document responses.
Further Resources and Websites
Please note: Teachers need to preview all resources for suitability for their students. Some children may be particularly vulnerable because they have been traumatised by experiences of their own families and friends.
Teachers need to select those to be researched or viewed by students with care, as there are some powerful, graphic and horrific images on some resources.
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust here you will find a range of age appropriate resources on a number of themes, as well as life stories of the survivors and further references to look up.
Haringey Council HMD Resources
Haringey Holocaust Memorial Day Working Group plans and puts on events each year in partnership with Haringey Council. Each year resources are uploaded to the website to commemorate HMD. There is usually an annual event at Bruce Castle. In 2017, the event takes place on Sunday 29th January from 2.p.m. Frequently there are resources or exhibitions put on for schools and music. Please find videos made with Haringey students who have interviewed survivors and also been to and shared their experiences of visiting Auschwitz.
http://www.haringey.gov.uk/local-democracy/about-council/equalities/holocaust-memorial-day The links on the left take you to videos and also give details of past events and resources. The video on the Y word comments on kicking anti -racism and antisemitism out of football.
Holocaust Memorial Day website
Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre
A wealth of material including comprehensive teaching resources, lesson plans and guidance
The National Holocaust Centre and Museum http://www.nationalholocaustcentre.net have a section on survivor stories
The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) have some useful resources for HMD with a page dedicated to survivor stories that is easy to use and navigate with a picture of each survivor- a click takes you immediately to their storieshttp://www.het.org.uk/education/outreach-programme/survivor-stories
http://www.het.org.uk/lessons-from-auschwitz-programme – about teacher training opportunities for schools and teachers to visit Auschwitz
University College London (UCL) has a dedicated Holocaust Education Centre to support and train teachers and good courses are offered regularly http://www.holocausteducation.org.uk
The Holocaust Explained http://www.theholocaustexplained.org is a website for students to help with school work and homework
The Holocaust Research Project http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org has lots of useful facts
The Wiener Library http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk
is Britain’s largest library and archive on the Holocaust and Nazi era, based in central London and open to the public five days a week free of charge. It hosts class and teachers’ visits related to RE, History, Politics, Citizenship, German Studies and Art. Also supports Key Stage 5 extended projects
Haringey-based www.explorejudaism.co.uk runs classroom sessions on the Holocaust, including a modified programme for younger pupils
Film introductions (useful for Teachers own research and secondary ) Useful and comprehensive accounts of the development of The Holocaust, available through Amazon or EBay, include:
- ‘Genocide’ – episode 20 of the acclaimed ‘World at War’ TV series. 50 mins
- ‘Genocide’ – Oscar-winning documentary produced by the film division of the Simon Wiesental Centre. I hr 20 mins. The Centre http://www.wiesenthal.com is a global human rights organisation researching the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context
Comprising the testimonies of survivors, witnesses and perpetrators of The Holocaust, Claude Lanzmann’s nine-hour epic, ‘Shoah’, was voted no.2 in the ‘Greatest Documentaries of All Time’ British Film Institute poll.
Ted Talks Holocaust Survivors
Genocide Survivors: Contributors not Victims. Myra Giberovitch
What my mama told me: Edith Eva Eger at TEDxLaJolla
Mala Tribich A Holocaust Survivor on memory, legacy, and the future
Ibby Knill Ted xYouth@Bath
Samantha Lakin on exploring stories of the Rwandan Genocide TEDx Fulbright Santa Monica
From schoolyard bullying to genocide: Barbara Coloroso TEDxCalgary – Very good and relevant to school
More suitable for secondary
Gerda Wiessmanns Moving and vivid story of remembering the Holocaust.
The White Helmets in Syria– heart-warming hope in the midst of devastation- ‘To save a life is to save the whole of humanity’. There is a lot on the internet about the White Helmets for further research
A Good Man in Hell: General Romeo Dallaire and the Rwanda Genocide
Teachers should watch this first and decide if this is appropriate for their KS4 students and above. An exceptional film that contextualises the RWANDAN genocide. Romeo Dallaire recalls how harrowing it was to be a UN General when no countries were willing to send soldiers to stop the Rwandan Genocide. Raises ethical and moral dilemmas and is an example of a man who is still asking questions about whether he could have done better. Compelling and sobering.
Lopez Lomong, was ripped from his mother’s arms at the age of six and forcibly taken to train as a boy rebel soldier in Southern Sudan. His faith in Christ helped him to escape and running for his life in the savannah, led him later to America where he became an Olympic runner. A brief inspirational story can be found here:
For Primary Schools: Non-Fiction and Fiction
The Butterfly – Patricia Polacco
Beautifully illustrated – this book tells the true story of a friendship between Monique a French girl whose family are part of the Resistance and a ghost at the end of her bed, who turns out to be Sevrine, a Jewish girl who is hiding in her house. Both girls become friends until they are discovered.
Passage to Freedom, The Sugihara Story – Ken Mochizuki
In 1940, five-year-old Hiroki Sugihara, the eldest son of the Consul to Lithuania, saw hundreds of Jewish refugees from Poland standing outside the Consulate window. They had come to ask Hiroki’s father if he could issue visas for them to escape the Nazi threat. The story is based on Hiraki’s words, that depict the courage of his father who cares and prioritizes the welfare of others and Hiraki’s respect for him.
Rose Blanche – C Gallaz and Roberto Innocenti
A beautifully illustrated story for all ages about a girl in Germany who finds a concentration camp in the woods. Unforgettable and full of realism.
I am a Holocaust Torah – Rabbi Alex J Goldman
The story of the saving of 1,564 Torah scrolls stolen by the Nazis. An excellent teacher resource that is useful for lessons and assemblies.
Suitable for Key Stage 2 and above
The Last Goodbye (Kindertransport)
An education ‘pack’ on the escape of 10,000 unaccompanied children of the Kindertransport in 1938 and 1939. It features the rescue of children from Nazi Europe and is illustrated with the paintings of Hans Jackson, a holocaust artist. It tells of the children’s experience of upheaval, leaving their families and settling n Britain. It offers teaching activities and encourages reflection on what it means to be a refugee. Available from the Jewish Museum in Camden. www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/
Twenty and Ten – C H Bishop
During the German occupation of France, twenty French children were brought to a refuge in the mountains. One day a young man came to their school with a request. Could they take in and hide ten Jewish refugee children? Of course the children understood, but how would they hide them if the Nazis came? Based on a true story…one of many such incidents during the war.
Terrible Things – Eve Bunting
In this allegory, the animals of the forest are carried away, one type after another, by the Terrible Things, not realizing that if perhaps they would all stick together and not look the other way, such terrible things might not happen.
If the stars could only speak – Batsheva Dagan Holocaust Centre
A moving and sensitively written children’s book by Holocaust survivor and educationalist Batsheva Dagan for use with children over the age of 10. It tells the anguishing story of a Jewish mother, whose is separated from her children and eventually and happily reunited with them. It offers an excellent and sensitive introduction to the difficult issues of the Holocaust.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit – Judith Kerr (Collins)
A story about Anna’s lost childhood, when she wakes up one morning to find her father, who has worried about his family’s safety and is making plans to meet them in Zurich, has gone, disappeared. It tells the story of the Second World War and becoming refugees through the experience of one family. Touching, funny and sad.
Hana’s Suitcase – Karen Levine (Evans)
Hana’s suitcase tells the story of Hana Brady and the suitcase with her name painted on it. One small piece of her life that she took with her on her final journey to the Gas Chambers of Auschwitz. Her story would remain untold if not for a Japanese Curator of a small Holocaust museum in Tokyo who after being sent the case to put on display, was compelled by her child students to try and find out what happened to the little girl who had owned the case originally.
The Number on my Grandfather’s Arm – David A Adler (URJ Press)
The moving story of a young girl who learns her grandfather’s experience in Auschwitz and then helps him overcome his sensitivity about the number on his arm, this award-winning picture book gives young children just enough information about the Holocaust without overwhelming them.
Clearly written and in accessible language for primary readers, Adler explains Hitler’s rise to power, the restrictions placed on the Jews by the Nazis and the reasons that Anne and her family went into hiding. We meet a young, bright girl with courage and a lively personality who writes her diary against the backdrop of the political events that surround her and millions of other Jews.
Upstairs Room Johanna Reiss
We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust Jacob Boas
Rescue: The Story of How Gentiles Saved Jews in the Holocaust Milton Meltzer
Hiding to Survive: Stories of Jewish Children Rescued from the Holocaust Maxine B. Rosenberg
Daniel’s Story Carol Matas
Upper Primary/Secondary: LIGHT FROM THE YELLOW STAR: A Lesson of Love from the Holocaust by ROBERT O. FISCH
This is a superb and hopeful book with wonderful illustrations and reflections taken from the tombstones of people who lost their lives. Robert Fisch is a Hungarian survivor of the Holocaust, a Doctor and an artist who asks us to remember the beautiful heroes with compassion, healing and love. An absolutely inspirational book that prompts people to think about human relationships and to pose philosophical questions. Teachers could use the artistic illustrations and poetic words to help young people to create a commemorative service of remembrance.
Available from http://www.yellowstarfoundation.org/book.htm They also have teaching resources and video clips.
Examples taken from his book can be found on http://www.holocaust-trc.org/light-from-the-yellow-star/
For Secondary School
‘Left to Tell’ Immaculee ilibagiza
A Roman Catholic Tutsi who hid for 91 days, when she and seven other women huddled silently together in a cramped bathroom in a local Hutu Pastor’s house. What comes through this captivating story about the Rwandan genocide is the faith, belief and prayers of this woman who relied on and prayed to God in her darkest hours. Her story of survival, her experience of unconditional love which she passes to everyone and her ability to forgive through God are remarkable and inspirational. The YouTube video following tells Immokalee’s story briefly.
Rwandan Tutsi Forgives: YouTube https://youtu.be/DKXHK74qLdg
20 Years after the Genocide – You Tube Video is about a young German girl whose father is a Tutsi and lives in Germany. He brings his daughter back to Rwanda to get an understanding of her heritage and past.
20 Years After the Genocide in Rwanda. Faith Matters https://youtu.be/RumDNjtp6z8
BBC Documentary on Rwanda’s Untold Story 2014 https://youtu.be/c0LFbUZcO5I
Suitcase Education Booklet with teaching information and ideas – inspired by being the child of a kinder-transport refugee. – Primary School http://suitcase1938.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Suitcase-Education-Pack.pdf
Branded on my arm and in my soul: A memoir of Abraham W. Landau a holocaust survivor from Poland who settled in the USA – could be adapted by teachers for Primary
My diary of a Nazi death camp childhood Helga Weiss https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/feb/22/helga-weiss-diary-nazi-death-camp
Joseph Sher Survivor Story http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/data.show.php?di=record&da=survivors&ke=2
At Auschwitz today there are reminders of the children’s coats, shoes and suitcases, all that is left of these lives, that show that they were there. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/features/holoust/chief_rabbi.shtml
Websites to research the martyrs and inspirational figures during the Holocaust
This site is also very accessible and provides brief but excellent background to Hannah Senesh. She was an inspirational Hungarian Jew who survived during the Holocaust but was finally captured and killed. Her writings and poetry are inspirational as is her life.
Raoul Wallenberg: A Swedish Diplomat who saved Hungarian Jews
Biography of Wallenberg accessible to teachers and secondary students at KS4 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/wallenberg.html
Corrie Ten Boom survived the Holocaust, both she and Betsie, her sister, were imprisoned in Ravensbruck, because their family who were part of the DUTCH underground, hid Jews in their own house and also found people to bring up Jewish babies. Betsie died in Ravensbruck and Corrie survived. She travelled to over 60 countries to share her story of Christian story of survival and faith.
Wikipedia is a good starting place to get the essential facts and biography of Corrie Ten Boom
Another place to get a biography and outline of Corrie Ten Boon’s life
The history of the Ten Boom family and house where they hid refugees fleeing from the Nazis
The Secret Room: The Story of Corrie Ten Boom David Wallington
A Review with some extracts from the book
A Picture Book of Anne Frank (Picture Book Biography)
The TES has resources to buy for example see this activity for secondary schools
BBC Holocaust Pages
American Holocaust Survivors & Holocaust Sites
Personal Survivor Sites
http://www.crimesofwar.org/about/crimes-of-war/ Home Page with links
Some of these accounts are harrowing, so we encourage you to check them first.
General Holocaust / Genocide / refugee resources
Support for Survivors
Jewish care links survivors with schools amongst many other things
Bosnian Survivor Stories: https://www.srebrenica.org.uk/category/survivor-stories/
Camdodian Genocide Survivor Stories http://www.cybercambodia.com/dachs/stories.html
Support for Child Soldiers and for children affected by violence from this excellent UK charity
Their mission is to protect, educate and stand up for the right of children who are caught up in war
 Source: Refugee and asylum seeker children in U.K schools https://www.naldic.org.uk/Resources/NALDIC/Initial%20Teacher%20Education/Documents/Refugeechildreninschool.pdf