Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day that has been set aside for remembering the victims of the Holocaust and for reminding each of us what can happen when bigotry and hatred are not confronted. This day is widely known as Yom HaShoah, which is a Hebrew term for “Holocaust Day”. The internationally-recognized date comes from the Hebrew (lunar) calendar and corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan, a month that occurs in the springtime. While there are obvious religious aspects to Yom HaShoah, it is not specifically a religious observance.
The Holocaust’s magnitude of destruction with the death of more than six million Jews and approximately 1.5 million children and youth challenges comprehension. Studying the Holocaust presents a framework of many relevant moral issues. The Holocaust illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on a society. It forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction. The Holocaust also shows us how a combination of events and attitudes can erode a society’s democratic values.
This issue of Curriculum Connections provides a lesson plan for middle and high school students, based on the life of a hidden child of the Holocaust, and resources that draw upon individual stories of loss, survival and rescue to raise student awareness about the Holocaust and increase their commitment to moral decision-making and to the role of the individual in combating bias and hate.