Pre-War Jewish Life

The purpose of the next two lessons in my course are to expose students to pre-World War II Jewish life in Europe.  These lessons take a total of 3 days; first introducing students to the basic concepts of pre-war Jewish life throughout Europe and then utilizing a USHMM Belfer Exemplary Lesson from Museum Teacher Fellow/English teacher Aimee Young of OH to allow students to explore the lives of specific individuals and their own a bit further.  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:  In this lesson, students will learn about the life that was largely lost during the Holocaust by exploring its roots and manifestations during the inter-war years.  First students will learn about specific aspects of shtetl life through a reading/teaching in jigsaw form of excerpts from Yaffa Eliach's There Once Was a World, which correlates with the "Tower of Life" at USHMM.  This activity is adapted from a lesson shared with participants at the 2006 Belfer Conference by then HS Social Studies/now USHMM Program Coordinator, Jennifer Ciardelli.  They will then view an excerpt of Fiddler on the Roof which combines the lessons of the jigsaw in musical form.  The lesson than proceeds to a map enriched lecture based about other aspects of inter-war Jewish life in Europe and concludes with testimonies from Echoes and Reflections and the USC Shoah Foundation's iWitness platform.


Lesson Plan
Shtetl Activity Task Sheet (Also embedded in Power Point)
Shtetl Reading Handouts**
Testimony of Itka Zygmuntowicz (iWitness Access*)

** Please contact me via e-mail for these handouts
* Required for access to the Itka Zygmuntowicz testimony piece. Please contact me for further information on this clip.


Core Lesson Concept:  In this lesson, students will further explore pre-war Jewish life through a mini-research project developed by Museum Teacher Fellow/English teacher Aimee Young of OH.  This lesson is adapted from a USHMM Belfer Exemplary Lesson entitled "Pre-World War II European Jewish Life Photo Project".  The activity allows students to perform research using the USHMM Photo Archives and USHMM Holocaust Encyclopedia.  Students are also asked to make connections to their lives today through photographs which stimulates an interesting discussion about the evolution of photography over the course of the past 100 years.  The lesson begins with a short film entitled "The Camera of My Family" and culminates with an adaptation of the first layer of the USHMM Timeline Activity for Educators.


Photo Analysis Sheets (Available Here)
Survivor ID Cards (Part I is the first segment of the card)

Additional Materials: