Pre-War Jewish life is essential to include to contextualize and humanize the primary victims.
Image: Eva Tannenbaum Cummins, with her mother, on her first day of school in Berlin. Age 7, 1929. More about Eva.
INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM. Article | Grades 7-12
This brief article from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) is written for students and provides an overview and introduction.
"Judaism is a monotheistic religion, believing in one god. It is not a racial group. Individuals may also associate or identify with Judaism primarily through ethnic or cultural characteristics. Jewish communities may differ in belief, practice, politics, geography, language, and autonomy. Learn more about the practices and beliefs of Judaism."
Pre-War European Jewish Life
THREE MINUTES IN POLAND. Lesson | Grades 7-12 | One class period
The short film, in light of the ensuing history, is mesmerizing and includes an introductory lesson that contextualizes the history and translates statistics into people.
"David Kurtz was born in Nasielsk, a small town in east central Poland. He emigrated to the United States with his wife, Lena (Liza) in the 1890's. In 1938, David and Liza took a sightseeing trip to Europe. David documented the trip on 16mm film, capturing scenes throughout Europe - including three minutes of ordinary life in Nasielsk before it was changed utterly by the Holocaust. In 2008, David and Liza's grandson, Glenn Kurtz, discovered the footage in the closet of his parents' home in Florida and set out on what became a four-year journey to identify the faces in the film."
JEWISH LIFE IN EUROPE BEFORE THE HOLOCAUST. Article | Grades 7-12
A short article written for students by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
"When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Jews were living in every country of Europe. A total of roughly nine million Jews lived in the countries that would be occupied by Germany during World War II. By the end of the war, two out of every three of these Jews would be dead, and European Jewish life would be changed forever..."
JEWISH LIFE BEFORE WORLD WAR II: Lesson | Two 50-minute class periods
A lesson created by Facing History and Ourselves that includes consideration of what groups you belong to and how we identify ourselves.
- What happens when the way we define our identity is in conflict with how others define us?
- What was life like for Jews living across Europe before World War II?
- How did antisemitism distort the richness and diversity of European Jewish life in the early twentieth century?