Preparatory lessons for your trip

Before attending the Searching for Humanity please review the preparatory materials provided below! The goal of these lessons is to help the visitor to understand the background of the Holocaust and to recognize instance of “humanity” within the exhibit. These suggestions can be split and the latter part can be used as post-visit lessons.


Pre-Visit Activities

Start a Journal and answer these questions:

What are three fact you know about WWII?

What are three facts you know about the Holocaust?

If you have ever heard a Holocaust survivor or a WWII liberator/veteran speak, what is one thing you remember most about their testimony?

Why is learning about the Holocaust and the defeat of the Nazis by the Allied forces important to study?

Understand the History

Explore the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website for basic background information:

Start by exploring this animated map!

Take note at this useful glossary! 

Have your students read this article to gain more information on the Holocaust.

Listen or read at least one Personal Testimony on the right side bar of the Introduction article. 

Watch two clips from the Historical Film Footage on the right side bar of the Introduction article.

Learn about how the Nazi party came to power.

Understand “Kristallnacht”

What was the ghetto?

What was the Final Solution?

How were the camps liberated?

Student Involvement

Spend class time studying and researching America entering the war.

Introduce Clarence William’s letter to the classroom (copies of letter found below). Provide a copy to each student or work in groups.

Create a list of vocabulary words for the students to define prior to reading the letter. Example: “crematory”, “slave labor”, “gas chambers”

Ask students to find out if any of their family members were in the war, were they in the army (even stateside) during WWII, or perhaps are they of European descent?

Ask students to reflect on these topic in their journals:

A soldier’s life German 88’s – what were these?

Correspondence – what was life like without the internet? how do we compare the soldier’s communication then to our soldiers today?

Hard boiled eggs – why was Clarence eating eggs? What was the “law of the land” as these soldiers moved into European farms?

What is Life magazine? Can they find back copies from the time of WWII and the liberation?

For teachers familiar with the Holocaust curriculum, Echoes and Reflections: Holocaust Education for 21st Century Classrooms

Lesson 8 includes understanding the political, legal, social and emotional status of Jewish survivors. It also examines the roles of the liberators following the defeat of the Nazis at the end of World War II. Liberator testimonies (Howard Cwick and Paul Parks) are particularly good.