American Responses to the Holocaust

newspapers.ushmm.orghe purpose of the next five lessons in the course is to allow students to "do history" to explore American responses to various events of the Holocaust.  It is important to for students to understand the process that historians use in order to provide answers to questions that we ask.  The next four days of the class do just that by having students first work with a USHMM lesson related to the St. Louis and then asking them to delve deeper into the history of their own community by researching the reporting of specific Holocaust-related events in their local newspaper.  The students also view the film America and the Holocaust:Deceit and Indifference (PBS).  The approaches taken in these lessons were largely shaped by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and their Education Manager in the Division of Outreach Technology, David Klevan Each lesson is labeled by the amount of days it takes to complete in an 86 minute block.  Materials listed are only those materials I am sharing below, not all of the nuts and bolts (computer, projectors etc.) necessary to make the lesson work. 


Core Lesson Concept:  During this lesson, students begin to address the issue of American responses to the Holocaust by examining the voyage of the St. Louis.  Students will first read the segment of The World Must Know that deals with German-Jewish refugees, bridging knowledge from Lesson 15.  Following this silent reading and brief teacher discussion, students will explore the initial introduction to the voyage of the St. Louis via the online exhibition by USHMM.  They will then embark on simulated historical research that requires them to examine historical documents related to the experience of a specific St. Louis passenger in order to determine the fate of that passenger.  The activity ends with students discussing their findings with a larger group representing each passenger included in the activity and the implications of these findings with their prior knowledge of the refugee crisis.



Core Lesson Concept:  During this lesson, students will view the documentary film, America & The Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference created for PBS.  The film provides students an important overview of America's response to the events in Europe through the story of German-Jewish refugee, Kurt Klein.  Klein and his siblings managed to immigrate to America but struggle to get their parents to safety.  Intertwined with Klein's story is the response of the American political community and society to specific events of the 1930s and 1940s related to the Holocaust.  This film is also a great connection to Gerda Weissman Klein's story, All But My Life, and the related film, One Survivor Remembers.



Core Lesson Concept:  During this lesson, students will make predictions about local news coverage regarding specific events during the Holocaust era.  After researching assigned events and making predictions, students will perform research at the local library using microfilm or via online local databases.  They will then report their findings back to their group and fill out a reflection on the article itself and the reporting (or absence thereof), comparing and contrasting local news coverage to what is available. Students report their findings to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's "History Unfolded"  Database. This lesson was developed by David Klevan of USHMM and Jennifer Goss.