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We are homeschooling all the way through high school which gives us a lot more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit. We did an intense study of the Holocaust for World History.  We called our class “World History: Understanding the Holocaust.”  We originally had a lot more historical sites to visit as part of our study but COVID resulted in all of our travel plans being canceled (no travel to Germany or Poland).  Thus, we had to hit the books and videos a lot heavier and took advantage of virtual tours.  The following is the list of resources we used to cover World History for high school credit.

Online:

  • My Jewish Learning   (has educational resources available online)
  • Virtual Library (has educational resources available online)
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (has educational resources available online) 
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage (has all of their holocaust curriculum available online)
  • Centre for Holocaust Education (classroom materials available online)

Books:

  • The Holocaust by Martin Gitlin
  • The Holocaust: The Origins, Events, and Remarkable Tales of Survival by Philip Steele
  • The Holocaust: In Their Own Words by Judy Bartel
  • World Almanac Library of the Holocaust: Origins of the Holocaust by David Downing
  • Moments in History: Why Did the Holocaust Happen? by Sean Sheehan
  • The Hidden Children by Howard Greenfeld

Videos:

  • Holocaust: The Liberation of Auschwitz by Artsmagic
  • Holocaust: The Liberation of Majdanek by Artsmagic
  • Holocaust: Dachau and Sachsenhausen by Artsmagic
  • Holocaust: Theresienstadt by Artsmagic
  • The Diary of Anne Frank by BBC
  • Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg
  • Holocaust: A History by Educational Video Network
  • Numbered by Know Productions
  • Heroes of the Holocaust: Tales of Resistance and Survival by The History Channel
  • Holocaust: Escape Tunnel by PBS & NOVA
  • Defying the Nazis: The Sharp’s War by PBS
  • The Auschwitz Trial by Rolf Bickel and Dietrich Wagner 
  • The Last Days by The Shoah Foundation & Steven Spielberg
  • The Hidden Child by PBS
  • Son of Saul bySony Pictures Classics
  • Otto Frank, Father of Anne by Pieter van Huystee Films
  • Yellow Stars of Tolerance by A JEMGLO Documentary & Dreamscape
  • The Book Thief by Fox 2000 Productions & Brian Percival
  • Nazi Collaborators by Shanachie Records & MMIX WHMR Productions
  • Shoah by Claude Lanzmann & New Yorker Films

Museums visited:

  • Holocaust Museum Houston (multiple times for various exhibits and special youth education events)
  • Diary of Anne Frank performance at Main Street Theater
  • Fiddler on the Roof performance at Inspiration Stage
  • Virtual Tour of Auschwitz/Birkenau
  • Virtual Tour of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Google’s Virtual Walk around Jewish Warsaw

Part of the reason for doing an intense study on the Holocaust was as a result of doing gemological research on my ancestors and my husband’s. I learned that many of our family surnames were documented in the Holocaust database as well as we had lots of broken branches of the family tree with no additional information. It is extremely hard to locate records on many of our German, Polish, and Bohemian ancestors due to both WWI and WII destruction combined with the millions killed during the Holocaust. My BIL first visited a concentration camp when he was in high school and found his family names there. A distant cousin of mine in Czechoslovakia informed me of the fates of extended family that stayed in Germany and Bohemia in the 1930s instead of leaving. Upon my research the following Surnames from our families were found in the Holocaust Museum database:

Hahn (2,400+)

Felda (3, another 13 with alternative spellings)

Janke (69)

Groth (39)

Jahns (20)

Stargardt (30)

Kaiser (1,300+)

Barta (523)

Krajnik (55, another 10 with alternative spellings)

Braun (9,300 +)

Meyer (6,200+)

Thomas (1,000+)

Papiniska (8)

When at the Houston Holocaust museum some of our family surnames are on display.  When watching historical documentaries filmed at several concentration camps, our family surnames are seen in the films. We know from family members who have visited the concentration and death camps, some of our family surnames are in those museums.  We know that some of our ancestors escaped to America before the worst of WWII and some came before the worst of WWI. The surnames of those that died or survived the holocaust are connected to siblings of our great grand parents and cousins of our great grand grandparents. We also know that we are not related to every single one of those with a shared name. We know from family tree research where the tree breaks. We actually have more family names in the database, but I’m only listing direct great grandparents connections.

The second reason for doing an intense study of the Holocaust is due to the fact that anti-Semitism continues as does Holocaust denial. In the US, 10% of Americans don’t know anything about the Holocaust or that it even happened and  50% didn’t know that over 6 million Jews were killed or that other groups were killed too (gypsies, ethnic Poles, ethnic Czechs, people of color, anyone with a disability, homosexuals, prisoners of wars, and anyone who they deemed a resistor).  Across the globe, 10% deny the holocaust even happened. Holocaust education is not mandated in all of the states and is taught differently depending on the city and state you live. Holocaust education matters in order to learn from it to prevent any form of racism, ethnic cleansing, or religious intolerance.