Teaching the History of the Holocaust with Primary Sources

Core features of the practice


  • Organisation:

    Institution name: Montreal Holocaust Museum
    Institution type: Museum
    Institution URL: www.museeholocauste.ca
  • Format:

    Workshop, Instructional material
  • Target population:

    Students, Young people
  • Cost (per practice):

    Free
  • Setting:

    No specific setting required
  • Themes:

    Remembrance education and/or history education, The Holocaust and/or other genocides, Critical thinking
  • Core activities:

    Internet research, Group discussion, Textual analysis

Additional information about the practice


    Target population

  • Number of participants:

    Up to 34
  • Age of target population:

    16-18
  • Additional specifics:

    Other:, Not Applicable
  • Components of the practice

  • Topics and objectives:

    In this lesson, students learn how to critically analyze primary sources in order to determine their context, content and historical value. Students develop historical thinking skills by analyzing 17 letters, written between 1941 and 1944, by people caught in the storm of Nazism and the genocide of European Jews during the Second World War. Students analyze the letters according to a five-step critical process and learn what these artifacts can offer as primary sources. This process can be used to analyze any written historical document.
  • Materials used:

    Written or other published material
    Link to the material:
    1. https://museeholocauste.ca/en/activites/17-letters-holocaust/
  • Material produced:

    Not applicable
  • Sequence of activities - methodology:

    1. Preliminary Reading The first step is to have students read the document and then locate the subject and the main topics of the document. 2. External analysis External analysis of a document deals with the context in which the document was produced: the date, the identity of its author, his or her intention, the nature of the document. 3. Internal analysis Internal analysis of the document focuses on its content. It should highlight the information and facts contained in the document. 4. Interpretation Once the review is complete, students can pursue their historical thinking in trying to make sense of the content and themes that they found. 5. Questioning and research If you wish, you can use these documents as a basis for students to conduct historical research. From the topics identified in steps 3 and 4, students can formulate questions to go further in their exploration of the subject matter and then proceed with the research in order to find answers. In so doing, they identify what is not said in those letters and raise questions that will help them to get a better overview of the phenomenon
  • Length of activity:

    Up to 5 hours
  • Is the activity digital?:

    Yes: https://museeholocauste.ca/en/activites/17-letters-holocaust/
  • Accessibility and replicability

  • Language(s) in which activity can be delivered:

    English, French
  • Is specialist knowledge or professional training required?:

    No

Qualitative Details


  • Has this practice been evaluated?

    No
  • Core content knowledge and transferable skills:

    students learn how to critically analyze primary sources in order to determine their context, content and historical value. Students develop historical thinking skills by analyzing 17 letters, written between 1941 and 1944, by people caught in the storm of Nazism and the genocide of European Jews during the Second World War. Students analyze the letters according to a five-step critical process and learn what these artifacts can offer as primary sources.
  • Indicators of success:

    highly adaptable, scalable, connected to national curricula, the material is free
  • Educational coordinator contact details:

    Name: Cornelia Strickler
    Email address: cornelia.strickler@museeholocauste.ca

Scalability

The RETHINK project is concerned with bridging formal and informal education. This section explores the factors that make a practice adaptable.


  • Key factors for successful implementation:


  • Main challenges to teachers adapting this practice for their students:


  • Availability of guidance/training/replication materials (and in what language/format currently):


  • Other comments or details: