The Ghettos in Nazi Europe

Echoes & Reflections: Teaching the Holocaust
Genocide & Holocaust
Jews Crossing the Bridge in the Lodz Ghetto, ca. 1941
Grade Level:
Middle School,
High School
Common Core Standards:
Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
Genocide & Holocaust

This unit provides students with an opportunity to learn about the ghettos established throughout Nazi Europe and understand that the ghettos were one phase in the continuum of Nazi racial policies that sought to solve the so-called “Jewish problem.” Students will also learn about the conditions in most ghettos and how those conditions severely limited Jewish life and led to feelings of humiliation and loss of dignity. Using several primary sources, students will have an opportunity to learn that despite severe overcrowding, starvation, diseases, and grief, Jews still did their utmost to conduct their lives and retain their human dignity.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the aims of the Nazis in establishing ghettos.
  • Name countries in Eastern and Central Europe where the Nazis established ghettos.
  • Describe what life was like for Jews imprisoned in ghettos, with particular emphasis on the Lodz ghetto.
  • Identify ways that Jews forced to live in ghettos attempted to maintain their dignity and preserve some of their previous ways of life.
  • Interpret primary source documents—including clips of visual history testimony—that represent the experiences of those forced to live in the Lodz ghetto.
  • Analyze various ways that individuals respond to unjust actions and the possible reasons behind those responses.

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