Museum Fellowship Lesson Plans

  Elderly Jewish man
Germans publicly humiliate an elderly Jew.
Courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives

Guidelines for Teaching the Holocaust
Judy Bartel
Hill-Murray School
Maplewood, Minnesota





Before beginning a Holocaust unit, eighth grade students view a presentation concerning Guidelines for Teaching About the Holocaust as developed by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Students come to understand why the unit they are about to study is of such great importance.

Educators wishing to teach about the Holocaust should also refer to the Museum's Online Workshop. Video clips of a professional development program are presented along with examples of historical and artifact photographs, text, and links to related sites within the Museum’s Web site. The workshop fully explains and expands upon the Guidelines for Teaching About the Holocaust which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Define the term Holocaust.
  2. Contextualize the history you are teaching.
  3. Translate statistics into people.
  4. Strive for precision of language.
  5. Avoid simple answers to complex history.
  6. Just because it happened does not mean it was inevitable.
  7. Try to avoid stereotypical descriptions.
  8. Strive for balance in establishing whose perspective informs your study of the Holocaust.
  9. Make careful distinctions about sources of information.
  10. Do not romanticize history to engage students‘ interest.
  11. Be sensitive to appropriate written and audiovisual content.
  12. Select appropriate learning activities.
  13. Reinforce the objectives of your lesson plan.
  14. Avoid comparisons of pain.


Launch Guidelines for Teaching the Holocaust (PowerPoint).


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