The Refugee Crisis

The purpose of the next two lessons in my course is to aid students in answering the question, "Why didn't 'they' just leave?"  Students often ask why the Jews of Europe didn't flee at the onset of Nazi persecution and the answers often surprise them.  The approaches taken in these two lessons were largely shaped by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), in particular by two colleagues - HITE Program Coordinator Christina Chavarria and Museum Teacher Fellow/Regional Education Corps member Laurie Schaefer, who teaches HS English in North Carolina.  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 grapple with the question "Why didn't 'they' just leave?" by exploring emigration & immigration requirements from Nazi Germany and the United States in the 1930s.  Students brainstorm options and challenges facing Jewish families in Nazi Germany in 1938/pre-war 1939, then examine the requirements for leaving Germany and entering the US.  Following this activity, students read an excerpt from Salvaged Pages which illustrates challenges faced by the Langer family as they attempt to emigrate from Germany.  The lesson culminates with a reading from The World Must Know on the Evian Conference and a related discussion.  The initial portions of the lesson were adapted from a lesson designed by Laurie Schaefer and the Immigration/Emigration documents are from USHMM.


Immigration & Emigration Requirement Sheets


Core Lesson Concept:  During this lesson, students will examine primary and secondary source information as it relates to "pull" and "push-back" factors of immigration with a focus on Jewish immigration to Latin America.  The lesson begins with an examination of a child's hand-drawn map depicting his family's journey from Germany to Uruguay.  They then review a segment of the Nazi Path to Genocide to deepen their understanding of this drawing before a teacher-led discussion on the concepts of "push", "pull" and "push-back" factors related to immigration.  Students then examine a series of primary source documents in small groups about five Latin American countries.  The activity ends with a testimony that adds another layer to the difficulties faced by Jewish immigrants during this time period. The materials for this lesson were developed by Christina Chavarria, Program Coordinator for the Levine Institute for Holocaust Education at USHMM.


This lesson is currently in development. Please e-mail for further information.