Early Camps & Actions in the East

The purpose of this lesson is to expand student knowledge related to the next steps of the Final Solution, as well as furthering the existing knowledge base students have in regards to the camp system.  Information and testimonies for this lesson comes from materials at USHMM, as well as graduate work and self-study.  Additionally, a film from National Geographic is included in the lesson.   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:  In this lesson, students will start by discussing their existing definitions of the word "camp" and what it means within the scope of the Holocaust.  They will then take part in a lecture/discussion on early concentration camps, the Einsatzgruppen and mobile gas vans that also includes testimonies from USHMM.  Following the lecture, students will view an excerpt from the film "Hitler's Hidden Holocaust" by National Geographic.  The lesson closes with a comparison between the theses of Christopher Browning and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen regarding the motivations of the men involved in the Einsatzgruppen actions. (Note: The most recent time I taught this lesson, I also added a day focusing on this activity from USC-Shoah's IWitness Platform entitled, "Einsatzgruppen: The Firing Squads of the Holocaust".)


Additional Reading Suggestions for Teachers: