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The Holocaust

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Each week, Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About ... page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. Internet educator Walter McKenzie selected this week's sites, which are among the best on the Web for teaching about the Holocaust.

Editor's Note: Many of this week's sites contain graphic and disturbing images and documents about the Holocaust. Please be sure to screen all sites thoroughly before using them with students.

The Holocaust from a 5th Grade Perspective
Fifth graders at Parkway Elementary School in East Meadow, New York, created this excellent presentation of the Holocaust, which includes revealing images, a time line, a reading list, and a glossary, as well as additional relevant links. Student reactions to the book Terrible Things, by Eve Bunting, and to a class trip to the Nassau County Holocaust Center are moving and insightful and make effective discussion starters. The site's highlight, however, is a report written by a student whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors. (Scroll down in the Holocaust Time Line section.)

C.A.N.D.L.E.S. Holocaust Museum
C.A.N.D.L.E.S. is an acronym for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors. This site includes truly disturbing material; however, the lesson plans -- such as Loss of Identity: Auschwitz Shoes, List of Names, and Theresienstadt -- as well as other Suggested Projects, can be used effectively with middle and high school students.

Museum of Tolerance Online Multimedia Learning Center
The number and kinds of resources in this section of the Web site of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance are almost overwhelming, but they make the site a viable place to go for material on World War II and the Holocaust. The Site Map helps make the material manageable by breaking it down into specific areas of study. And the Teacher's Resources area offers exceptional support for classroom instruction, including a time line, a glossary, a poster series, and answers to the 36 most frequently asked questions about the Holocaust.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The online presence of the museum archives, physically located in Washington, D.C., offers a searchable archive of documents and photos pertaining to the Holocaust. The site offers more than 4,000 different collections in a variety of formats, including personal papers and manuscripts, videotapes and audiotapes, motion pictures, artwork, and photographs.

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem, in Israel, is the official memorial of the Holocaust. The site's photo archive includes anti-Semitic newspaper articles, as well as images of a variety of items, such as badges, weapons, uniforms, and utensils, recovered from former concentration camps. The Auschwitz Album offers graphic photos of concentration camp life. The site also includes an online magazine and several temporary exhibits.

Cybrary of the Holocaust
This cybrary (cyber library) of the Holocaust is an outstanding resource for teachers attempting to develop a unit on the Holocaust. The Teacher's Guide provides a step-by-step instructional guide, including background information, activities, and discussion topics. The Education section offers bibliographies, lesson plans, links to online books, and additional information resources. Imagine: A Student's Forum contains poetry, essays, stories, and Web sites created by students reacting to their own Holocaust studies. The site includes photos and maps of concentration camps, as well as stirring accounts by survivors and soldiers who witnessed the events of the era.

The Holocaust History Project
This collection of letters and essays provides an intimate look at the minds of the men behind the horror of the Holocaust. Scroll down to Documents to see letters from Nazi leaders about the gassing program and the Auschwitz death camps, which are especially revealing and disturbing.

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
This well-organized site focuses less on the horror of the Holocaust than on its historical perspective. The site's Timeline, for example, begins in 1918 with the rise of the Nazi party and continues through the trials of Nazi war criminals to the most recent lawsuits against insurance companies that allegedly failed to honor policies bought before the war. Lesson plans, photographs, virtual reality movies, music sound files, and lots of artwork round out this site designed just for teachers!

Children of the Holocaust
This presentation puts a human face on the Holocaust through the touching personal accounts of three children. The Teacher's Guide includes directed questioning suggestions for use both before and after students read the stories, as well as an activity designed to help them relate historical events to the present. The site includes a thorough discussion of life during the time of the Holocaust.

Walter McKenzie is a former classroom teacher, a consultant, and editor of the Innovative Teaching newsletter.

Walter McKenzie
Education World®
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Teaching the Holocaust

Originally published 06/12/2000
Links last updated 03/18/2006