What is Holocaust Remembrance Day?
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day on January 27th commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. It observes the genocide that resulted in the deaths of six million Jews and eleven million others by the Nazi regime. The International Remembrance is in honor of the liberation that happened on January 27, 1945.
Educators must teach students about this horrific time in history, even though it is difficult to grasp and understand. There are many ways to learn and honor the victims and their families by empowerment and knowledge. Learning history is vital and allows us to learn from mistakes and not repeat them. It is also especially important to introduce students to the stories of survival amid so much loss. Educators can create opportunities for students to study and view videos of survivors’ stories and how distressed families received help from others by hiding Jews.
Why is it Important to Remember Holocaust Remembrance Day?
The Holocaust was one of the most sobering tragedies in the history of the world. The Holocaust represents destruction or mass slaughter, and students need to know why this happened. They need to know that no one can be complacent, and prejudice is not acceptable. We need to remember this day to bring awareness to the heinous crimes that took place, and the millions of innocent lives that were taken due to prejudice. Teachers can create opportunities within the classroom for students to explore their thoughts and feelings regarding this tragedy, and how they can create a better future. It is vital to educate students on the Holocaust and learn about the evil mission behind all of it by Adolf Hitler.
Students could discover ways to remember and honor the families and all that were affected. They can discuss ways to pay their respects to the lives that ended and remember the cold, dreadful way millions of civilians lost their lives. Students try to understand the way they felt and learn empathy and compassion.
Holocaust Remembrance Day Activities
The Diary of Anne Frank
One of the most effective activities would be to conduct a book study on The Diary of Anne Frank. The students read The Diary of Anne Frank and participate in a book study on her writings. There is a myriad of themes for focus within this book. Teachers choose what skills, themes, or lessons they want to emphasize to their students. The writings within this book can be used for hope, enlightenment, inspiration, and survival.
An activity for an older grade level would be to watch the movie, Freedom Writers. Teachers allow students to watch the movie during a class period and discover ways they can delve into different aspects of the Holocaust. This movie is for an older group of students but has a plethora of lessons that can be taught. It is one of the most effective stories of how people can overcome evil with good. It is also based on a true story, and this movie led to The Freedom Writers Foundation. One of the main focuses of the movie was how the students studied about the Holocaust victims and later visited the Holocaust Museum. They were greatly affected by this knowledge, and felt great empathy for the victims. The students transformed their attitudes, work ethic, and beliefs after studying the Holocaust.
Another activity would be to view a variety of documentaries on survivors and allow students to process their stories. Teachers can incorporate reading passages and videos to enhance the experience. Research projects around the Holocaust are also effective in learning about what happened and how this calamity forever affected our hearts and minds. Teachers could assign specific topics to students and allow them to conduct the research. They can divide into groups and use this type of assignment for student-centered learning.
Lastly, teachers can ask students to create a slide show in Google Slides, Power Point, or Prezi of pictures from the Holocaust. They can utilize these as visuals and expand upon them. Students can enhance this activity by studying the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and some of the things that happened there. Teacher Tube is an excellent resource for allowing students to research the many aspects of the Holocaust. For older students, they may use the hashtag #WeRemember to look up Holocaust victims on social media.
The Holocaust is the most notorious war crime in history, and students will be highly engaged and moved when participating in these types of activities in the classroom. The possibilities for expansion on these lessons is endless. Analyzing history sharpens our critical thinking skills. It trains us to gather information and find patterns and trends.