Lesson Plan

Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust

Vilna Ghetto Partisans

Echoes & Reflections

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School, High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

This unit provides an opportunity for students to explore Jewish resistance efforts during the Holocaust—focusing on the period from the establishment of the ghettos through the implementation of the “Final Solution.” An opportunity is provided for students to learn about the risks of resisting Nazi domination and the means, scope, and intensity of resistance efforts. These ranged from cultural and spiritual resistance in the ghettos to armed resistance of partisans and ghetto and camp prisoners. At their core, these forms of resistance are expressions of the capacity to preserve what is best in humanity in the face of the worst humanity has to offer. This unit also provides an opportunity for students to consider the role of personal and cultural identity in their lives.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define resistance within the context of the Holocaust.
  • Explain how resistance and rebellion were discouraged in occupied territories.
  • Identify various forms of resistance that took place in the ghettos and camps.
  • Conclude that designating an action as “resistance” is based on a variety of factors, i.e., what might be considered resistance in one situation may not be considered resistance in another situation.
  • Interpret primary source materials—including clips of visual history testimony—that represent a range of resistance efforts against the Nazi regime in Europe.
  • Explain the connection between the “Final Solution” and armed resistance.
  • Construct an argument, based on evidence from primary and secondary sources, to support the claim that Jews resisted the Nazi regime in a variety of ways.
  • Analyze the role of culture, customs, and traditions in individual or group narratives.