Students learning about the Holocaust can be exposed to a wider range of Holocaust themes and materials as they grow more able to grapple with the scope and scale of the Holocaust. From classic works like Anne Frank’s diary to modern nonfiction, 7th and 8th grade students should be educated on survival in the camps, hiding in Europe, and Holocaust heroes.

 

Books:

 

Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and

Survival by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen: This story follows Lisa Jura Golabek as she is sent on the kindertransport to London, where she later lives in an orphanage. Her talent as a pianist leads to an uplifting story about survival, the power of music, and pursuing dreams despite unthinkable circumstances. 

How We Survived: 52 Personal Stories by Child Survivors of the Holocaust by Child Survivors of the Holocaust, Los Angeles: In this 400 page book, there are many personal stories of survival, allowing students to read a variety of survivors’ stories. Students are also able to relate better to the stories of children in their same age range, allowing for broader dialogue about the Holocaust and its victims.

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (comic book): Maus recounts the real life story of Vladek Spiegelman through his son’s cartoon interpretation of the Holocaust. In this revolutionary comic book, the Holocaust is told through an intergenerational perspective that shows that the Holocaust affects not only the survivors, but also their children.

Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder: This book is a compilation of various diaries from victims and survivors of many ages and backgrounds, as they narrate their individual plights during the Holocaust in their diaries. This book also contains information about each diarist, the background on their lives, and various other resources that are critical to learning about the Holocaust through an eyewitness perspective.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: This Holocaust nonfiction classic is a must read for students. Anne Frank’s story is widely known already, but her deep analysis and clear voice are beyond her years and allow for students to relate to her teenage struggles. Her coming of age is encapsulated with one of the darkest times of her life, hiding during the Holocaust, and through her story, students are able to see not only the story of a family in hiding, but also learn about Anne’s death and the historical context that surround it.

 

Films: 

 

Anne Frank- Classroom Edition (Director: Robert Dornhelm): Based on Melissa Muller’s book on Anne Frank, this TV miniseries captures the life Anne Frank had in the Secret Annex. The series meticulously goes through many aspects of the Frank’s lives in hiding and Anne’s diary. It is also accompanied with an Educator’s guide to teaching about Anne’s life and also showcases other diaries written during WWII and the Holocaust.

Into the Arms of Strangers- Stories of the Kindertransport (documentary): This Academy Award-winning documentary focuses on the stories of those saved in the kindertransport. Through present day interviews, the documentary is able to convey the humanity behind the heroic act of transporting thousands of children out of many countries in Europe, in an effort to secure their lives.

Paper Clips (2004 documentary): This documentary follows a rural Tennessee school as it teaches diversity and tolerance to its student body through a visual project of putting together 6 million paper clips to symbolize the 6 million victims of the Holocaust. The simple school project is a viral success and grows beyond what any involved truly thought was possible.

The Forger (Times Documentary) by Samantha Stark, Alexandra Garcia, Pamela Druckerman, and Manual Cinema Studios: This short film tells the tale of Adolfo Kaminsky, who at just 18, became a forger for a Jewish resistance cell in Paris. He was able to forge false passports for thousands of children and families before they were transported to concentration camps.          

Undercover History: Diplomats for the Damned (2000): This film delves into the stories of four gentile diplomats  who saved thousands of Jews in Europe during the Holocaust. The diplomats, Carl Lutz from Switzerland, Aristides de Sousa Mendes from Portugal, and Germany’s Ferdinand Duckwitz, were able to issue false papers and visas in order to save Jews from certain death.

Voices of Holocaust History (films): This series of films follows different survivors in each film as they recount their story of survival. From hiding in attics to concealing their Jewish identities, there are many variations of survivors’ tales that allow for in classroom discussion and reflection.