Topic outline

  • General

    A Lesson and Pledge for Action

    Lida Kleinman hid in a Catholic orphanage
    Courtesy of USHMM gift of Lidia Siciarz Photo Archives

    This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore personal accounts of young people and hidden children during the Holocaust by means of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Identification Cards and the online exhibition Life in Shadows. Students then relate these difficult historical circumstances to their own lives today. A Teacher's Page sets forth objectives, procedures and suggested evaluation for this lesson.


    Creative Commons License
    Hidden Children and the Holocaust: A Lesson and Pledge for Action by Dr. Margaret Lincoln and Lakeview Public School District is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This course contains open educational resources produced by other organizations which may use a different open license. Please confirm the license status of these third-party resources before reusing them. The views or opinions expressed in this online learning material, and the context in which the images are used, do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of, nor imply approval or endorsement by, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Click here to download a copy of this lesson.

    • Introduction

      This lesson begins by urging you to think about historical figures not as names in a textbook or images on a screen but rather as real people. The challenge is to bring human characteristics to individuals from the past. To what extent can you as a 21st century student identify with individuals whom you will never meet? How might you regard victims of the Holocaust, especially children, as real people, with real names, with real families, with real experiences?

      You should first connect to a sampling of Identification Cards. These cards are given to visitors before they enter the Permanent Exhibition of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and help to personalize historical events. After reading and reflecting on the stories of the young people whose lives are depicted through the cards, please complete the Holocaust ID Card Analysis form. Submit this form to your teacher directly or upload via Moodle .

      An in-class discussion follows allowing students to share their analyses. Students will also individually respond to questions on a Personal Reflection sheet which can be uploaded to Moodle.

      • Exploration

        Life in Shadows

        The second day of the lesson allows you to take a virtual tour of Life in Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust through the online exhibition.

        Our class will be divided into six groups of 4-5 students. Each group will examine sections of the exhibition. One copy of the Life in Shadows Exploration sheet will be completed by your group and turned in to the teacher or uploaded to the Moodle course site.

        We will view together “Plight of Jewish Children,” the opening section of Life in Shadows. This short documentary (requiring RealPlayer) provides a useful historical overview.

        • Reflection and Action

          The concluding portion of the lesson allows you to reflect on the previous activities involving Identification Cards and the Life in Shadows online exhibition and will begin to synthesize your learning in the form of a pledge for action.

          We will first view the classroom video version of the film Weapons of the Spirit, a very moving and uplifting story. This documentary chronicles the hiding and rescue of 5,000 Jews (including many children) by residents of the small village of Le Chambon, France. The film’s creator Pierre Sauvage was himself a hidden child in Le Chambon. Uncelebrated individuals and collective acts of good will and righteousness existed even throughout the tragedy of the Holocaust.

          Transitioning to our own day, we will read a speech on the topic of world genocide delivered by Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin in the Hall of Witness at USHMM in 2004. In her comments, Nesse Godin simply and eloquently called upon us to make a pledge to make this world a better place where all people, regardless of how they pray or look, can come to live freely.

          Your task now is to respond to an open-ended question on the Discussion Forum concerning how our study of children of the Holocaust has made you look more closely at who you are. You will then compose your own pledge for action, declaring how you will respond when confronted with hatred, prejudice or antisemitism. Complete instructions for this culminating activity can be found on the “Holocaust Remembrance Pledge” sheet. The Holocaust Remembrance Pledge is a resource from the Mandel Project. This assignment will be completed as homework and uploaded to Moodle.