FREE Holocaust Resources

Hey all! I hope everyone is surviving the chaos that is December!

I will admit, I was VERY hesitant about missing a day and a half last week to go to a training. On one hand, it IS nice to not be in the classroom during the wild and crazy weeks leading up to winter break when the kids are all hyped up every.single.minute. On the other hand, I really did not want to subject one of our sweet subs to that torture. I wasn’t sure that I would even pay attention because my Christmas shopping is so not even close to being done, and I would most likely end up jotting down ideas and surfing Amazon while hiding my phone under the table. #sorrynotsorry

I am happy to admit that I was TOTALLY wrong. The training I attended was beyond amazing. It was the best training I have been to in a LONG time. What was this training, you ask?

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust provided an amazing training about all aspects of the Holocaust. Yes, it is in Georgia, BUT: many, many states have their own Holocaust resources. So if you live in another state, Google Holocaust museums and/or commissions in your state. Many of these establishments provide many of the resources I am going to talk about in this blog post. You can also Google colleges and universities in your state for Holocaust resources. Kennesaw State University in Georgia provides many resources, so be sure to use your state colleges! There is also the UnitedStates Holocaust Memorial Museum that also provides resources. The BEST part of all of this?????? The resources are FREE. FREEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! Sometimes you may have to pay a return postage fee, or a small travel fee if you want a speaker to come out, but most often you pay nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Which, for educators who always seem to shell out our own money, this is priceless. If you do not live in Georgia, I hope you keep reading and get excited about the resources I discuss. So much that you go out and Google your own state and area to find similar free resources. And you can still use some of the ideas and resources posted on the websites I include.

Who Is This Post For?
Upper grades peeps who teach about the Holocaust! Not every grade level teaches about the Holocaust, but in Georgia grades 5-8 and high school world and US history courses do. I teach 6th grade and part of our curriculum is European history, so we do teach the Holocaust for a period of time. The Holocaust is  a subject that is very delicate and emotional, so when I discovered these resources, I was so thankful and grateful to not have to figure it out on my own. It was also fabulous to know how to handle the emotional side because many children will become upset.

What Is This Post About?
The training I went to was offered by the Georgia Commission the Holocaust, and, not only was it free of charge, they even paid for my substitute and gave out incredible resources. Not only that, but they had George Rishfeld, a Holocaust survivor, speak to us (which we also found out he was available to travel to schools to talk with students). The first-hand account stories he told us were intriguing, sad, and so crucial in helping future generations learn about the Holocaust. He is not the only Holocaust survivor who comes out to speak to schools. With a little time spent on your state’s Holocaust resource pages, you will be able to find speakers, too. I feel like I have jumped around a little bit in this post, so below I will outline the resources made available to Georgia educators through either the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust or by Kennesaw State University since these are the two I have experience with.  

Professional Development Opportunities
This was the training I attended. Like I said, it was free of charge, the organization paid for my substitute, provided a hot dinner the first evening and a lunch the second day, and they gave attendees several resources that will be used a lot in my classroom. There is actually another training identical to the one I attended in January in Thomasville, Georgia. Click {here} for the registration information. At the training I attended, there were a few teachers from South Carolina in attendance, so I don't think this training is limited to Georgia educators. I did not to think to ask them, but it is worth looking into if you live near Thomasville and are out of state. 
The training covered a wide range of Holocaust topics, and lessons (along with materials) were provided. **I talk more about these lessons below**

One of the biggest take aways I had from this training, were the guidelines for teaching about the Holocaust. The link takes you to the USHMM, and these guidelines are very helpful in knowing how to approach the Holocaust as well as what you need to keep in mind as you navigate through your unit of study.

And of course I LOVED the two books that were given to each attendee. One of the lessons includes excerpts from Salvaged Pages, by Alexandra Zapruder (page 102 of the PDF- I'm Still Here). This particular lesson integrated literacy which is awesome! I did actually buy the DVD  (*this is an affiliate link*) I'm Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust that is mentioned. You don't need to DVD if you have the book, but the DVD really brings the diary entries alive. And you don't need to buy the book if you attended the training. If you are interested in buying the book, Salvaged Pages, you can use this affiliate link. One of the other big takeaways from the training is that many people use The Diary of Anne Frank while teaching the Holocaust. However, it is very important to make sure students know that this is just ONE girl's story. There are many more diaries out there, and Salvaged Pages has several diary entries from survivors and non-survivors.

The other book given to us had many photographs with a wealth of information about the Holocaust. It is called The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust As Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, by Michael Berenbaum. You can order this book by using this affiliate link. Some of the lessons from the PDF also include photographs from this book (for example the time line activity, which is on page 166). In fact, many of the lessons that you can access in that PDF are integrated with even ELA teachers can use them. #winning Many book titles are included, so it makes my reading heart happy.

Lessons & Activities
My favorite activity I have used this far is the Holocaust ID cards activity that uses ID cards from the USHMM. The lesson provided by the GCH includes smaller ID cards that students use.

This link will take you to the PDF that contains tons of lessons/activities, including the ID card lesson. The ID card activity begins on page 128, with the smaller ID cards following. The cards on this download don't have the photos (which are on the link above from the USHMM. If you attend a training, though, the cards you receive do have the photos and a map on the back with significant places to that person (which is why the image above includes the photos of the people and maps on the ID cards).
**disclaimer** ALL of the documents I am posting are FREE of charge and available to ANYONE to download.

The PDF download from above contains SEVERAL lessons, and in most cases, the needed documents/materials. I am telling y'all! These resources are a GOLDMINE!

This link contains additional activities if you scroll to the bottom of the page (the top link on the page does not work, and I posted the second link above). You want to look for the hyperlinks listed under the third trunk (which brings me to the trunks in the next section). Overwhelmed? Yes, me, too! Even though I went to the training, there are still so many more resources I need to dig through. Perfect task for your team to help with!

The USHMM has a wide variety of resources on its site. I have not even began to look over most of these resources because I am still digesting all the information I have from the training I attended. I have used some of the animated maps because they are very clear and concise for students to understand. Showing this particular map really helped show students the magnitude of Hitler's conquered lands, and helped to set the context for my students to learn about the Holocaust. 
**I highly recommend previewing any map you might want to show your students to make sure they are age-appropriate**

Trunks, Exhibits, & In-House Programs
I have used traveling trunks before but not traveling exhibits. Kennesaw State University sends out trunks and exhibits free of charge. You will either have to: 1. pay for return shipping; 2. if you live close enough, you can drop them off yourself for free; 3. or, do what we are doing, schedule an in-house program for the last day you have the trunks/exhibit and the presenter will take them back for free. #winningagain

We have not used these yet, but we do have them scheduled for the first 3 weeks in May. You can reserve the trunks and exhibits for 3 consecutive weeks, so that's what we are doing. Because the in-house program is free, it is too pricey for KSU to send out the presenter multiple days, so for our grade level, we are combining our 3 social studies classes into one room for each of our class periods. So there will be about 90 students in each period, so that way all of our students get to participate, and KSU sends out someone for just one day. And since there are 3 of us who teach SS, we have 3 trunks coming at the same time, so we can rotate through the trunks and keep each one for one week. The exhibit will most likely be housed in our media center. #haventthoughtthatfarahead

Trunks include a variety of items that relate to the trunk's theme, along with the lesson/activity plans, suggested book titles (score!), and anything else needed. SCORE! The exhibits are 8-10 large, free standing panels that provide a context for many topics relating to before, during, and after the Holocaust. These also come with everything you need for the lessons/activities. DOUBLE SCORE!!

KSU also provides a free museum to Georgia residents, so all you would need to pay (if your school was fairly close) for would be transportation. 
All of the trunks and exhibits come with teaching guides, so you literally have EVERYTHING you  need before, during, and after you have the trunks and exhibits.
Sorry I don't have any photos of the actual trunks or exhibits. We have not used them yet :( 

Not only does KSU have trunks, but so does the GCH. These trunks are slightly different, so it is worth checking into even if you have used, or are planning to use, the trunks from KSU. This page also has the teaching guides for their trunks (which is the same link I posted above for the ID card activity). The GCM also has exhibits, but they are loaned out a little bit differently.

Homeschool Parent?
Homeschoolers, KSU also has resources just for you!

I do hope you are able to use some of these resources to help plan out your unit. If you don't live in Georgia, I do hope you will take some time to Google available resources and museums in your state. I can't imagine teaching the Holocaust without these resources! Want to help out a fellow teacher? If you have found resources for your state, post the link(s) in the comment section below. That way you are all helping each other out!


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