Objectives In this activity you will: • Discuss why we should study the Holocaust. • Contemplate why it is relevant to us today.
What was the Holocaust? Here is the definition from Yad Vashem, the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust in Jerusalem, Israel: ‘The Holocaust was the murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. Between the German invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941 and the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, Nazi Germany and its accomplices strove to murder every Jew under their control. Because Nazi discrimination against the Jews began with Hitler's accession to power in January 1933, many historians consider this the start of the Holocaust era. The Jews were not the only victims of Hitler's regime, but they were the only group that the Nazis sought to destroy entirely.’
What was the Holocaust? • The Nazis called the killing of the Jews the ‘Final Solution’. • They planned to wipe out the Jews of Europe. • They killed over six million Jewish people.
What was the Holocaust? • In 1942, the shooting of Jews was replaced by a new method, that of gassing. • The Nazis had used concentration camps to hold their enemies but now new camps were built. These were ‘Death Camps’, where the Jews would be killed. • All six camps were built in Poland at locations chosen for their good rail links and relative isolation. Jews from German-occupied countries all over Europe were to be rounded up, sent there by train, and gassed.
Why should we remember the Holocaust? • In 2001, Holocaust Memorial Day was introduced. How would you commemorate the Holocaust? • Why do you think we should remember the Holocaust? • Does history repeat itself? Can we use historical events to stop similar events from happening in the future?
Why should we remember the Holocaust? • You have been asked to introduce a section of a documentary about the Holocaust aimed at younger students (9-10 year olds), to be aired on The Learning Channel. • Spend some time preparing what you would say to introduce the section, ‘Why should we remember the Holocaust?’ • Be prepared to feed back.
Today Auschwitz is a museum. Some people argue that it should not be a museum, and that it should be demolished. What is your view on this matter?