The study of the Holocaust is a delicate and essential task to undertake. To approach it with the help of someone you can identify with can make reception and absorption of the information a little easier to handle. For that reason, I support using Anne Frank’s actual diary, commonly known as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, and/or the dramatic adaptation of her diary known as The Diary of Anne Frank. This is not to say that there are no other ways to cover the historical event, the Holocaust. There are.
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Yound Girl was published first in England in 1952. It is one of the world’s most widely read texts (second only to the Christian Holy Book or New Testament). It has been translated into at least 55 languages and has sold over 20 million copies. Putting the Diary into the context of the Holocaust helps middle grades students translate faceless statistics into the experience of a specific person, a teenager like themselves, with dreams and plans, anxieties and sorrows, and a love for life. In learning about Anne’s life and death, we will be considering events that took place more than 60 years ago but that have immediate relevance today.
Learning about the Holocaust helps students:
- understand the danger of remaining uninvolved in the face of attacks on others’ rights
- gain a perspective on the ways a modern industrial nation used technology and governemental beauracracy to crush dissent and carry out mass murder based on bigotry and hate.
- take responsibility, as citizens of a democracy, for maintaining an open, tolerant society and
- safeguard democratic institutions and values.
In studying the Holocaust, students face up to issues of fairness, justice, peer pressure, and conformity – issues they confront in their daily lives.
Please talk about this Holocaust unit of study in and out of your family circles throughout the course of this unit. Talk about what you are learning, what you think of the fact that it is all true.
- To get to the The Book Project for Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – click here.
- To get to the The Play Project for The Diary of Anne Frank – click here.
How long ago was the Holocaust?
- In my opinion it began when Hitler first wrote, in Mein Kampf, about his hatred and hope for the annihilation of the Jewish people: the Holocaust began with its publication in 1925. Some would argue that the mutation, or should I say the mutilation, of cogent and harmless theories of cultural and anthropological evolution could be where the seeds for this atrocity lie, but science in its purest most beautiful form can not be to blame for anything except our pursuit of knowledge as a species. It ended in 1945 with Hitler’s suicide.
- In 1955, the Holocaust had ended 10 years ago.
- In 1965, the Holocaust had ended 20 years ago.
- In 1975, the Holocaust had ended 30 years ago.
- In 1985, the Holocaust had ended 40 years ago.
- In 1995, the Holocaust had ended 50 years ago.
- In 2005, the Holocaust had ended 60 years ago.
- In 2010, the Holocaust had ended65 years ago.
- In 2015, the Holocaust will have ended 70 years ago.
- In 2025, the Holocaust will have ended 80 years ago.
- In 2035, the Holocaust will have ended 90 years ago.
- In 2045, the Holocaust will have ended 100 years ago.
It will never lose it’s meaning for the impact it must have on how we live with one another.
We must never forget !!!!!
Pertinent Holocaust Topics
Authoritative suggested reading lists will come from the USHMM.ORG Bibliography page(s).
None-endorsed suggested reading see below.
- The Book Thief
- Number the Stars (*)
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (*)
- Daniel’s Story by Carol Matas (*)
- Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) (*)
- Between Shades of Gray
- Sarah’s Key
- The Complete Maus (Maus, #1-2) – (One of my personal favorites)
- The Devil’s Arithmetic
- If I Should Die Before I Wake (2)
- The Cage
- Daniel Half Human: and the Good Nazi by David Chotjewitz
- Emil and Karl byYankev Glatshteyntranslated by Jeffrey Shandler (2)
- The Entertainer and the Dybbuk by Sid Fleischman (2)
- Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Toksvig
- Actually there are just too many to number. When all else fails on Holocaust Education, I turn to the USHMM.ORG site. You can too.
- The Diary of a Young Girl (*)
- I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing up in the Holocaust by Livia Bitton-Jackson – The author describes her experiences during World War II when she and her family were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
- We are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers who Died in the Holocaust edited by Jacob Boas; foreword by Patricia C. McKissack. – Jewish teenagers David, Yitzhak, Moshe, Eva, and Anne all kept diaries and were all killed in Hitler’s death camps. These are their stories, in their own words. Author Jacob Boas is a Holocaust survivor who was born in the same camp to which Anne Frank was sent.
- Mischling, Second Degree: My Childhood in Nazi Germany by Ilse Koehn – The memoirs of a German girl who became a leader among the Hitler Youth while her Social Democratic family kept from her the secret of her partial Jewish heritage.
Every year, I hear this question, “But wasn’t Hitler Jewish?”
Here is a link to the first in a series of pages of what the USHMM offers on the history of Antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people.
Below is the list of ESSENTIAL topics that should be taught on THE Holocaust offered on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.
- World War II in Europe
- Murder of the Disabled (Euthanasia Program)
- Persecution and Murder of Jews
- Mobile Killing Squads (Einsatzgruppen)
- Expansion of the Concentration Camp System
- Killing Centers
- Additional Victims of Nazi Persecution
- Jewish Resistance and Non-Jewish Resistance
- United States
- Death Marches
Some of my Sources:
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website
- Moger, Susan. Teaching the Diary of Anne Frank: An in-depth resource for learning about the Holocaust through the writings of Anne Frank. Scholastic.
- Unknown Author. The Diary of Anne Frank Study Questions. Accessed April 2, 2009 at http://teachers.henrico.k12.va.us/byrd/hunnicutt_w/afstudyquestions.doc.
- Broward County School Board. Strategies for Teaching Character Education through the Holocaust.
- School Board of Broward County. 2003.
- Florida DOE. K-3: State of Florida Resource Manual on Holocaust Education K-3. Florida Department of Education.
- Florida DOE. 9-12: State of Florida Resource Manual on Holocaust Education 9-12. Florida Department of Education.
- Moshe, Jeffrey. My Life as a Jewish Person: An Unwritten Resource. 1969-TODAY of the year you’re reading this.