Holocaust – Extermination of Jewish People During World War II

Artur Franczak

Script for a HISTORY lesson
(for grade 8th of primary school)

Comments: This is a lesson for primary school students. Its aim is to make them aware that during the last war, the Nazi policy resulted in the greatest crime in the history of humanity being committed on the Jewish nation. Students will learn about the mechanism of the emergence of intolerance and hatred toward Jews, as well as the processes that ultimately led to the extermination of the Jewish people. On the example of the Rumin family from Popardowa, they will learn about the ways to survive and to help, as well as ways in which people fought for dignity and humanity in times of the greatest evil and decay of moral values.

The objectives of the lesson:
– General objective: Students acquire knowledge about the Holocaust, its origins, stages and consequences. They develop an attitude of tolerance toward other people and nations with negative evaluation of racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic behavior.

– Specific objectives:
After the lesson, the student should:
• know and understand the terms: Holocaust (Shoah), Auschwitz-Birkenau, ghetto, Righteous among the Nations;
• know that the Holocaust done by the Nazis was a planned endeavor, carried out methodically;
• develop an attitude of tolerance toward other people, religions, nations;
• be able to explain the forms of extermination of Jewish people;
• be able to explain how the Jewish people tried to survive and what the role of people who saved them was;
• point out the places on the map where the largest concentration and extermination camps were located;
• be able to present how life in the ghetto looked like on the example of the Nowy Sącz ghetto;
• properly analyze text, iconography and film sources and build linguistically correct statements on their basis.

Teaching materials and resources:
• Source texts:
a. Directives of the Starosta (regional governor) of Nowy Sącz – National Archive Branch in Nowy Sącz;
b. Film material: https://www.wojennysacz.pl/en/war-time-triptych-jadwiga/, https://www.wojennysacz.pl/en/war-time-triptych-berta/;
c. Excerpt from Hans Frank’s speech, delivered at the General Government meeting on 16.12.1941, [in:] Eksterminacja Żydów na ziemiach polskich w okresie okupacji hitlerowskiej. [Eng. Extermination of Jewish people in Polish lands during the Nazi occupation] Document set; edited by T. Berenstein, A. Eisenbach, A. Rutkowski, Warsaw 1957, pp. 25–29 (Annex 1);
d. Historical Atlas.

Teaching methods:
• teaching conversation;
• discussion;
• work directed by teacher with exercises, source text, iconographic material, film material, map.

Lesson course:
1. Introduction
• Organisational activities;
• Familiarizing students with the subject of the lesson;
• Comment on the issues discussed in the lesson.

2. Recapitulation – students answer the teacher’s questions:
• What events took place on 30 January 1933 and 1 September 1939? What happened after these events?
• What was the policy of the occupants toward the Polish nation?

3. The main part of the lesson:
• The teacher presents the film material from the “War-time Nowy Sącz” website to the students, and then asks them questions:
a. What events does the plot of the film refer to?
b. What feelings does watching the film invoke? How does the imagery of the film influence the perception of the plot?
• The teacher explains the terms: Holocaust, ghetto;
• The teacher discusses the attitude of the Nazis toward the Jewish population and the gradual development of restrictions imposed on them;
• Students familiarize themselves with the source text handed out by the teacher – an excerpt from Hans Frank’s speech, delivered on 16.12.1941 at the General Government meeting – and then they answer the teacher’s questions:
a. How did the Nazis understand the “final solution to the Jewish question” in the light of Hans Frank’s speech?
b. What actions against the Jews were announced by Hans Frank?
• The teacher presents the dates when individual ghettos were created: 1939 – Piotrków Trybunalski, autumn 1940 – Warsaw ghetto, 1940 – Nowy Sącz ghetto; students find the mentioned places on the map;
• The teacher describes the life in the ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, students view the iconographic material;
• The young people learn the history of the Rumin family from Popardowa, and then discuss the ways used by Polish people to save the Jews;
• The teacher tells students about the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex built by the Nazis, students view the iconographic material prepared by the teacher.

4. Summary:
Students write down the values that guided those who were saving the Jewish during World War II on the board.

5. Homework:
Students use available sources to prepare information about the life and activities of Janusz Korczak and Emanuel Ringelblum

Annex 1
Excerpt from Hans Frank’s speech delivered at the General Government meeting on 16.12.1941

One way or another – I will tell you that quite openly – we must finish off the Jews. […] before I now continue speaking first agree with me on a formula: we will have pity, on principle, only for the German people, and for nobody else in the world […] I will therefore, on principle, approach Jewish affairs in the expectation that the Jews will disappear. They must go. […] We must destroy the Jews wherever we find them, and wherever it is at all possible, in order to maintain the whole structure of the Reich. In any case we must find a way that will lead us to our goal […]. The views that were acceptable up to now cannot be applied to such gigantic, unique events. […]. The Jews are also exceptionally harmful feeders for us. In the Government-General we have approximately 2.5 million [Jews], and now perhaps 3.5 million together with persons who have Jewish kin, and so on. We cannot shoot these 3.5 million Jews, * we cannot poison them, but we will be able to take measures that will lead somehow to successful destruction; and this in connection with the large-scale procedures which are to be discussed in the Reich.