The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is Thursday, January 27, 2011. This day was chosen by an international committee because it marks the anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Some persons of the Jewish faith, however, observe a slightly different holiday called Yom Hashoah. This Holocaust Remembrance Day occurs on the 27th day of the Jewish calendar’s month of Nisan. As this would fall on a Sunday this year, the observance will instead be held on Monday, May 2, 2011.
Regardless of which day of remembrance seems most appropriate, please remember that the Illinois State Board of Education requires that
“Every public elementary school and high school shall include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of the Nazi atrocities of 1933 to 1945... To reinforce that lesson, such curriculum shall include an additional unit of instruction studying other acts of genocide across the globe. ” (For more details, see: http://www.isbe.net/ils/social_science/mandates_2.htm#holocaust)
With this in mind, an extensive listing of Internet resources that can be used to help our children understand the moral and ethical consequences of any form of genocide has been put together by Larry Ferlazzo:
From these, I’ve pulled out a few that might be useful to show how Holocaust remembrance and genocide awareness activities might be incorporated into topics already taught at your school or grade level:
- Glencoe/McGraw Hill has an excellent multimedia tour of the Holocaust that would work well on a SMART Board (Upper elementary, Middle grades, or High School). There are also a number of interactive activities, journal prompts, and videos to help students understand the concept. Near the end of the presentation, it also has links to help students understand instances of genocide today.
- From the Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Flight and Rescue multimedia presentation documents the escape of over 2,000 Polish Jews to safety during the Holocaust. A number of other Holocaust remembrance and genocide links are also available for children to explore. Please keep in mind that some of these images may be quite graphic, though, and teacher- or parental-supervision should be encouraged. (Upper elementary, Middle grades, or High School) Also see their list of Topics to Teach and Topics for Students to Study.
- Preventing Genocide is also from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It offers students ways to learn about genocide happening today, and what they can do to prevent it. Their Guidelines for Teaching also shows how to tie together the Holocaust with other occurrences of genocide throughout history and around the world.
- Indian Country Diaries from PBS displays on a map how genocide against Native Americans occurred throughout United States and North American history.
- The History Channel (UK) has excellent resources on genocide & the Holocaust.
There are certainly many more that could be appropriate. Feel free to share activities that you use with other educators by clicking the Comments link below.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., “Holocaust denial and minimization or distortion of the facts of the Holocaust is a form of antisemitism.” Don’t be a part of it, and don’t let it happen in your classroom.