This lesson is meant to be taught at or near the end of a unit of study on the Holocaust after a study of antisemitism before and during the Holocaust. It is important to extend the study of antisemitism past the historical time period of the Holocaust so that students know that just because the Holocaust ended, it does not mean that antisemitism ended with the liberation of the camps. In this lesson, students will learn about the many ways it is still part of our world today and the different forms it can take, including Holocaust denial.
Grade Level: 6-8
Subject: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Duration: One 90-minute class period (or two 45 minute classes)
NC Standards Addressed:
RI 5: Analyze how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text.
RI 8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
8.H.1.4 Use historical inquiry to evaluate the validity of sources used to construct historical narratives (e.g. formulate historical questions, gather data from a variety of sources, evaluate and interpret data and support interpretations with historical evidence).8.H.1.5 Analyze the relationship between historical context and decision-making
What forms does antisemitism take today?
After the lesson, students will be able to:
- Understand how and why antisemitism is still prevalent in today’s world
- Know the main arguments of the Holocaust deniers and how to refute them
- Understand how to recognize and combat antisemitism
- Anti-Semitism– Hostility to or prejudice against Jews.
- Xenophobia- Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.
- Zionism- A movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.
- Ku Klux Klan- A secret hate group which aims to suppress the rights of blacks and other minorities through many acts of lawless and violent proceedings.
- Isolationism- A policy of remaining apart from the affairs or interest of other groups, especially in political affairs.
- Deny- State that one refuses to admit the truth or existence of.
- Fascism- A form of far-right, authoritarianism and ultra-nationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and economy.
(Links to Google Docs, Forms, and Slides will ask you to make a copy):
For teacher knowledge (or to assign for students to read before the lesson):
- Google Slides: Antisemitism in America in the 1920s and 1930s
- Google Slides: Aftermath of the Holocaust
- PDF: Student Handout for Deniers and Antisemitism
- Video: Antisemitism in America
- Google Slides: Holocaust Deniers
- Google Slides for E-Learning: Holocaust Deniers Self-Exploration
- For preparation for the lesson, teachers should read through the Antisemitism in America and Aftermath of the Holocaust Google slides presentations. If you have advanced students, you may also want to assign this as pre-reading outside of class before this lesson.
- Make copies of the student handout for Deniers and Antisemitism and pass them out to students. Begin by showing them the film of Antisemitism in America during the Holocaust and asking them to reflect on their handout before a whole class discussion. Many students are surprised at the depth of antisemitism here and this video will help underscore that the Nazis were not the only ones who were antisemitic during this time period. It will also lay the foundation for why antisemitism in America is rising today.
- Project the Google slides presentation for Holocaust Deniers and have students reflect and follow along on their handouts through all of the slides. This presentation will go through some of the famous deniers, five of the major arguments and rebuttal, and will lead students into some examples today. The presentation ends with a podcast from a former white supremacist and how he got out of the movement, which is a great way to end the class. Students will choose one line/sentence from the text of the podcast as the most significant, so you can have them share that out at the end of class by going around the room and having each student read their sentence aloud as the final words of the unit.
- Use a ticket out the door and ask students the most important thing that they have learned from this lesson and what they think is the most effective weapon that we have to combat antisemitism and denial.
Make a copy of the Holocaust Deniers for Students Google slides and share with each student so that they can do a self-exploration of the presentation and write their answers directly on the Google slides.
As a follow up lesson or resources that you can use to extend student learning on this topic.
- Watch the film Denial to further explore the topic of Holocaust denial and antisemitism. Use the study guide to have students reflect as they watch.
- “From Swastika to Jim Crow” Anti-Semitism and Racism in America Video and Learning Guide.
- Read If I Should Die Before I Wake and have students participate in activities and assessments.