Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Toolkit
SAS Content Collection
Using Instructional Resources
- This toolkit provides access to educational materials on the Holocaust and Genocide, including videos, lesson plans, and classroom resources adaptable for virtual or in-person learning.
- All materials in this toolkit are cited as vetted resources and are not necessarily a comprehensive collection. Materials cover the Holocaust as well as several other genocides.
- Some 80 years ago, the most catastrophic mass atrocity in modern history took place. Centuries of Jewish life and culture in Europe were almost completely wiped out in just four years. Fueled by antisemitic ideology, the Nazis set out to hunt down, humiliate, persecute, and ultimately murder every Jewish man, woman, and child on the continent.
- Adding the study of the Holocaust and genocide to the social studies curriculum is justified on multiple grounds. The first is simply an historical rationale: students are expected to learn about and understand critical events of the past, and how those events have shaped our world. Studying other genocides leads students to recognize that those horrors were not confined to one episode, and may indeed represent an enduring tendency throughout human history.
- The second justification is a democratic rationale, which recognizes that the Holocaust and episodes of genocide have almost always been projects of the state, and therefore reflect moments of political failure. Some of those failures, including the run-up to the Holocaust, involved efforts to pervert the democratic process. Other genocides—such as the events in Rwanda—demonstrate the danger of weak democracies, authoritarianism, and compromised citizenship. Victim groups in genocide have almost always been declared to be, in some way, unworthy of the inclusion in the body politic and therefore undeserving of the protection of the state. Teaching the Holocaust and genocide shows how democratic institutions and values are not automatically sustained, but need to be appreciated, nurtured, and protected.
- A third justification is the preventative rationale, wherein students learn about possible means of preventing the scourge of genocide. These include international actions, including the concept of humanitarian intervention (including the 2005 policy adopted by the United Nations, which is known as “the responsibility to protect”). Ultimately, the study of the Holocaust and genocide serves as a warning of the dangers of being silent or indifferent to the suffering of others.
- Finally, there is an important commemorative rationale to the study of the Holocaust and genocide. By definition, perpetrators of genocide (including the Nazi regime) sought the erasure of entire identity groups. To study the Holocaust and genocide is to acknowledge the value of those groups, to maintain their vitality, and to honor the memories of those who perished.
- SAS Content Collection
- National, state and regional leaders in Holocaust, genocide, and human rights violations education have worked together to assemble a comprehensive listing of vetted resources to support instruction in this complex topic.
- The SAS Collection includes access to curated lessons, libraries, photo galleries, and more.
- SAS Content Collection opens in new window
- Noteworthy Resources
- The following curated websites may assist you in designing robust instruction related to the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights.
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opens in new window
- Anti-Defamation League (ADL) opens in new window
- Echoes and Reflections opens in new window
- Yad Vashem opens in new window
- Yale Center for International and Area Studies: Genocide Studies Program opens in new window
- Voices of the Holocaust (British Library) opens in new window
- Jewish Virtual Library opens in new window
- USC Shoah Foundation opens in new window
- Anne Frank Center USA opens in new window
- The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School - The Nuremburg Trials opens in new window
- Using Instructional Resources
- The study of the Holocaust helps us to understand key concepts such as democracy, dictatorship, propaganda, collaboration, resistance, intervention, and genocide. The links below offer recommendations, teaching tips, and approaches to this challenging topic.
- Echoes & Reflections (2019). Pedagogical principles for effective Holocaust instruction. opens in new window
- Goldberg, T. (2020). Delving into difficulty: Are teachers evading or embracing difficult histories? Social Education, 84(2), 130-136. opens in new window
- Gross, M. H., & Terra, L. (2018). What makes difficult history difficult? Phi Delta Kappan, 99(8), 51-56. opens in new window
- Harris, L. M., Hutchinson, M. J., Benkert, V., Bruner, J., & Lundin, A. E. (2017). Teaching, learning, and researching genocide comparatively. World History Connected, 14(2). opens in new window
- International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. (2019). Recommendations for teaching and learning about the Holocaust. opens in new window
- Shreiner, T. L. (2017). Helping students use world historical knowledge to take a stand on a contemporary issue: The case of genocide. The History Teacher, 50(3), 359-380. opens in new window
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (n.d.) Guidelines for Teaching About the Holocaust. opens in new window
- Yad Vashem. (n.d.) How We Approach Teaching About the Shoah. opens in new window
- This glossary contains definitions of specific terms related to the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights.
- Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Toolkit Glossary Opens up a PDF file in a new tab