Holocaust Education Materials

Facing History and Ourselves led a broad education and outreach effort in grades 7-12 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the schools of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, and in suburban districts and private schools throughout Northeast Ohio. They developed curriculum and materials about the history and lessons of the Holocaust, Jewish perseverance and resistance in the face of atrocity, and on the broader issues of genocide, tolerance, identity and individual responsibility.

Facing History partnered with the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage to create lessons focusing on the Violins of Hope and their history to prepare students to visit the exhibition [download the materials here]. In addition, Facing History conducted professional development workshops on Holocaust education and Violins of Hope throughout greater Cleveland.

Books & Study Guides

Facing History and Ourselves’ classroom study materials provide a meaningful yet flexible structure for examining the complex events and ideas of the Holocaust. They are used to teach lessons of identity, membership in society, and the legacies of history and prejudice. All publications are available as a free download to Qualified Facing History educators. Visit facinghistory.org/publications.

holocaustandhumanbehaviorFacing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior

Our core resource, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior provides an interdisciplinary approach to citizenship education. Students move from thought to judgement to participation as they confront the moral questions inherent in a study of violence, racism, antisemitism and bigotry.


mtv-film-im-still-hereStudy Guide to the MTV Film I’m Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust

During the Holocaust, a handful of young people chose to write and record in diaries throughout Europe. The documentary film developed by MTV weaves together excerpts of young writers’ diaries covering the years 1937-1944. The companion study guide aims to help educators use the voices of these young writers from the film as a springboard for discussion and reflection on the value of these diaries as historical sources and literary records.


decision-making-in-times-of-injusticeDecision-Making in Times of Injustice

Decision-Making in Times of Injustice, a 17-lesson unit, is designed to help middle school educators use the materials in Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, as well as other Facing History resources. This unit has been designed to help students learn about this important moment in history while deepening their understanding of themes such as peer pressure, obedience, fear and self-preservation, opportunism, and prejudice.


common-core-writing-promptsCommon Core Writing Prompts and Strategies: Holocaust and Human Behavior

This resource connects our core work, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, with writing prompts that align with the expectations of the Common Core State Standards. This supplementary guide includes specific writing prompts and teaching strategies that ask students to use evidence as they craft a formal argumentative essay. The resource features effective writing strategies for general use in the social studies or English classroom.


finding-a-voiceFinding a Voice: Musicians in Terezin

Soon after Hitler and his Nazi party took over Germany in 1933, they began to isolate and then eliminate Jews and other “racial enemies.” By the late 1930s, Jews could no longer own radios or record players. They were banned from movie theatres, concert halls, and cabarets. Their music, art, and literature were labeled “degenerate,” even immoral. This study guide is designed to help teachers and their students use the accompanying CD explores the role of the arts and artists in that extraordinary place. It is music that deepens our understanding not only of creativity but also of courage, resilience, and resistance. Their music is a part of the history of Terezin and of the Holocaust.


the-jews-of-polandFacing History and Ourselves: The Jews of Poland

Facing History and Ourselves: The Jews of Poland considers the ways Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe responded to questions of identity, membership, and difference at various times in their shared history. Students explore this history by reading autobiographies, diaries, official documents, literary works, and other sources.


i-promise-i-wouldnt-tellI Promised I Would Tell

Sonia Weitz tells her story through poetry and testimony about her life during the Holocaust in I Promised I Would Tell. She gives life to the millions of children, men and women who were murdered in Europe because they were Jews. Her personal memories and poetry give a history to mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.


schindlers-listSchindler’s List

The award-winning film Schindler’s List provides an opportunity to both preserve and judge the past through a medium that is accessible to every high school student. This study guide is designed to help teachers make the most of that opportunity by fostering classroom reflection and discussion.


totally-unofficialTotally Unofficial: Raphael Lemkin and the Genocide Convention

This guide highlights the story of Raphael Lemkin who is known for coining the term genocide. Lemkin challenges us to think deeply about what it will take for individuals, groups, and nations to understand and recognize genocide prevention.


night-study-guideNight: The Study Guide

Night: The Study Guide explores the relationship between memory and identity and also considers what it means to be a witness to collective violence. This guide accompanies the memoir Night, by Elie Wiesel, which focuses on the final year of the Holocaust—a year the author spent at Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp.


shot-by-shotShot by Shot: The Holocaust in German-Occupied Soviet Territory

Shot by Shot: The Holocaust in German-Occupied Soviet Territory, an ebook by Joshua Rubenstein, author and associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian studies, contains personal survivor testimony and archival video footage as well as primary source documents that provide detailed perspectives of the events unfolding during the Holocaust in viet territories.


sacred-texts-modern-questionsSacred Texts, Modern Questions: Connecting Ethics and History Through a Jewish Lens

Sacred Texts, Modern Questions is a resource designed specifically for educators in a Jewish setting. This five-unit collection of lessons explores sacred texts of the past and the questions that shape our present. It makes connections between instances of moral courage in Pharaoh’s Egypt, struggles of conscience and faith in Hitler’s Europe, and readings from today’s influential thinkers. Our goal is to integrate original Facing History resources with biblical, rabbinic, and contemporary Jewish sources.


convenient-hatredA Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism, Phyllis Goldstein

A Convenient Hatred chronicles a very particular hatred through powerful stories that allow readers to see themselves in the tarnished mirror of history. It raises important questions about the consequences of our assumptions and beliefs and the ways we, as individuals and as members of society, make distinctions between us and them, right and wrong, good and evil. These questions are both universal and particular.



Online Modules

Each module includes a rich collection of primary sources, videos, and lesson plan ideas. These online resources are ideal for blended and flipped classroom design or other classroom use.

the-two-who-daredTwo Who Dared: The Sharps’ War

In 1939, Waitstill and Martha Sharp left behind the safety of their home in Wellesley, Massachusetts and flew to war-torn Europe. In Nazi-occupied Prague and Paris, in the grim detention camps of Vichy France and on hidden trails through the Pyrenees, they risked their lives to help feed, shelter, and rescue thousands of refugees, including anti-Nazi dissidents and Jews. This module explores the role of the United States during the Holocaust and the story of the Sharps as it asks the question: what motivates people to rescue others?


convenient-hatredA Convenient Hatred: Exploring the History of Antisemitism

For more than 35 years, Facing History and Ourselves has been connecting the past to the moral and ethical issues of our own time by exploring histories that raise profound questions about the nature of evil, the power of stereotypes and myths, and the importance of prevention. A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism, evolved over centuries and how it continues to shape attitudes and beliefs in the world today. The book and module aim to help students understand how this pernicious hatred began and, most importantly, why it persists despite heroic efforts to overcome it. This resource will inspire deep conversations about hatreds in general, as well as this particular hatred, and encourage positive action.


the-rescuersThe Rescuers

This online module is designed to complement the film The Rescuers, directed by award-winning filmmaker Michael King. The Rescuers traces the effort of twelve diplomats who served in Europe during the Holocaust and, at great risk to themselves (and at times their loved ones), assisted Jews in their attempt to flee Nazi persecution. The film follows Sir Martin Gilbert and Stephanie Nyombayire, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide who has become an anti-genocide activist in recent years. Gilbert is an acclaimed and prolific British historian, who is one of the foremost historians on the Holocaust.


the-weimar-republicThe Weimar Republic: The Fragility of Democracy

In this module, students will find readings that provide context and background on the Weimar Republic in Germany (1919-1933). The collection of primary source documents assembled on this website creates a fascinating picture of a complex society at a crossroads in a nation’s history. The website also presents a series of profiles of key Weimar personalities whose actions and choices helped shape the course of events. The history of the Weimar Republic illuminates one of the most creative and crucial periods in the twentieth century and serves as a significant case study of the critical issues of our own time. Many of the questions asked about the Weimar Republic are relevant to problems that individuals and societies face in the twenty-first century.


The Jewish Education Center of Greater Cleveland has created a lesson plan built around a quotation from the work of Elie Wiesel: “Hope is like peace, it is not a gift from God. It is a gift we can only give to each other.” With the Holocaust as their focus, students working with this learning guide will consider the meaning of hope; the ways in which hope gets passed from one person to another; and the importance of hope in the face of oppression. This lesson provides students with a basic understanding that will provide context for viewing the Violins of Hope exhibition at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Available for free download at http://www.jeccmarketplace.com/violins-of-hope.