Introduction to Resistance Lesson

Download a PDF of the Lesson here

Jewish resistance to the Nazis took many forms, ranging from bold acts of defiance and altruism to armed resistance. In this lesson, students are introduced to resistance through the singular voices of those who took part in the Jewish Parisian Movement as some of their stories, motivations, and goals are revealed in poetry, film (an introductory video), and writing. Students will also examine a variety of primary source accounts from survivors regarding violent and non-violent resistance.  The activities included in this lesson will deepen students’ knowledge of the Holocaust through an exploration of different acts of Jewish resistance and will encourage the development of critical analysis and interpersonal communication skills.

Grade Level: 6-8

Subject: multidisciplinary

Duration:  two 45-minute class periods

NC Standards Addressed:

7th Grade:

7.H.1.3: Use primary and secondary sources to interpret various historical perspectives.

7.H.1.2: Summarize the literal meaning of historical documents in order to establish context.

7.C&G.1.4: Compare the sources of power and governmental authority in various countries (e.g. monarchs, dictators, elected officials, anti-governmental groups and religious, political factions.)

 8th Grade:

8.H.1.3: Use primary and secondary sources to interpret various historical perspectives.

8.C&G.2.3: Explain the impact of human and civil rights issues throughout North Carolina and United States History.

Essential Question:

  • What are the history and origins of antisemitism?

Learning Objectives:

After the lesson, students will be able to:

  • What is Resistance?
  • Is non-violent Resistance more effective than violent Resistance?
  • Can one individual make a difference?
  • How do people find the strength to fight back when there seems to be little hope?

Previewing Vocabulary:

  • Resistance: the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.
  • Spiritual Resistance: attempts by individuals to maintain their humanity, personal integrity, dignity, and sense of civilization in the face of Nazi attempts to dehumanize and degrade them
  • Physical Resistance: using various weapons and other physical means to attack an enemy


(Links to Google Docs, Forms, and Slides will ask you to make a copy):


Day 1 Activities:

  1. Make copies of the student handout for the Introduction to Resistance and pass them out to students.
  2. You can either lead students through the Introduction to Resistance Google slides presentation as a class or assign it to each of them to do independently or in teams on their own devices. Either way, students will follow along on the handout and fill out the reflection questions as they progress.
  3. End with the 3,2,1 exit ticket assignment, collecting them to assess student understanding of the topic from Day 1. With a higher level class, consider sending the discussion questions home for them to prepare for a whole class discussion the next day.

Day 2 Activities:

  1. Begin Day 2 by showing the Animated Map of Resistance from the USHMM and then passing out the discussion questions for students to either talk about in small groups or for a whole class discussion. At the conclusion of the discussion, pass out the poem “Resistance is…” and ask students to reflect out loud about what surprised them from the poem about resistance after you read it aloud to the class.
  2. Next, have students explore the primary sources of artifacts at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum through watching five videos of different artifact collections called Curator’s Corner. You can share the Curator’s Corner Google slide presentation with students by making a copy for every student and letting them do a self-exploration of the videos or choosing instead to watch them all as a class and have students answer the questions on the slides in a journal or on their own paper. If students are going to watch the videos themselves, they will also need headphones. Students will answer the questions on the slides to reflect on how the primary sources communicate stories of resistance.
  3. Wrap up class with an exit ticket asking students to reflect and share one question that they now have about resistance in the Holocaust.

E-Learning Adaptation:

Both of the Google slides presentations can be adapted for a purely digital platform where students can explore and respond on their own. Just make sure to make a separate copy of the presentations for each student (something easily done in Google Classroom or Canvas) before assigning it to students.


  • Use exit tickets for both days to formatively assess student knowledge and inquiry about the topic. These exit ticket ideas are already embedded in the lesson


As a follow up lesson or resources that you can use to extend student learning on this topic.

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