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Holocaust lesson plans

Unit:  Holocaust Day May 2000                   Adele Raemer – Ma’ale Habsor

Grades 10 and 11

Download the word document of this lesson plan.


Lesson I:

* To discuss the significance of the girl in red from Schlindler’s List

* To read about the origins of the character (the girl in red) and summarize or translate them into Hebrew.

Lesson II:

* To focus on the Holocaust through the eyes of children from Terezin, using excerpts from “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”

* In groups to analyze artwork from the book

* To draw a picture or write a poem expressing their feelings on the topic

Domains covered:

Access to Information 

Benchmark: understand the structure and convention of and choose from more sophisticated types of texts (excerpts from the movie, commentary on “the girl in red”, biographical explanations from “Butterfly”)

Social Interaction

Benchmark: interact and respond appropriately in conversation and discussions (on this topic); give and receive information using accurate language and varied vocabulary

Appreciation of Culture

Benchmark: interpret and analyze literary texts and other cultural products; appreciate how different cultural perspectives are reflected in various literary and cultural products


Schlindler’s List

I Never Saw Another Butterfly - excerpts

Group work page for “Butterfly”

tape + appropriate music

colors and paper

Lesson Plan:

Read out segment to class:

Oscar Schindler was one remarkable man who outwitted the Nazis to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other single person during WWII. Schindler worked through the rough waters of the confusions of war. But he was one of only a handful who surfaced from the chaos, and generations will remember him for what he did ....

1.     View segments from the movie “Schlindler’s List”.  appx 20 min.

000:01:00 – 00:10:13 (lighting candles – “That’s Oskar Schlindler”

00:12:07 – 00:14:27 (Looking for Itzchak Stern – “That’s what I’m good at – presentation)

00:17:27 – 00:20:29 (Entering the Ghetto – “It couldn’t be better. It could be worse”

0:55:04 – 0:58:31 ( Riding w/ mistress – throwing suitcases over balconies)

1:05:59 – 1:08:22 (Schlindler watching – girl in red dress hides under bed)

2.     For a really strong class, read out the segment from Schlindler’s Ark on p. 123 describing the incident.

3.     Divide the class into groups.  Half of the groups discuss the following question:


In the film, Schindler and his mistress witness a brutal Aktion in the Krakow

ghetto. Among the Jews that are being rounded up in order to be sent to labor camps or to be killed, Schindler sees a little Jewish girl dressed in a red coat. This is one of the four occasions in the otherwise black and white film in which color is used. In the book, Keneally writes that seeing the child in red caught Schindler's eye “ because it made a statement." What is the statement? Why does Spielberg, the film's director, decide to use color at this point of the movie? What does the little girl represent?

The other half of the groups read the passage about the origins of the image of the girl in red, and either summarize it or translate it to the class:

Perhaps the most moving image in Steven Spielberg's film "Schindler's List" is the little girl in the red coat, the only color image in the three-hour black and white film. However, most people do not know that this image is based upon a true story, a story told at the trial of Adolf Eichmann.

Assistant Prosecutor (now Supreme Court Judge) Gavriel Bach tells this story from the trial. When asked if there was any one moment in the trial that affected him more than any other, this is the moment he describes.

Bach was questioning Dr. Martin Foldi, a survivor of Auschwitz, about the selection process at the train station in the shadows of the famous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign at Auschwitz. Foldi described how he and a son went to the right while a daughter and his wife went to the left. His little daughter wore the red coat. When an SS officer sent the son to join the mother and daughter, Foldi describes his panic. How would the boy, only twelve, find them among the thousands of people there? But then he realized the red coat would be like a signpost for the boy to find his mother and sister.

He then ends his testimony with the chilling phrase, "I never saw them again."

While telling the story, thirty-five years after it happened, Judge Bach wells up with emotion. As Dr. Foldi retold the incident, Bach became frozen and unable to continue. All he could do was think about his own daughter for whom he had by chance just bought a red coat. He then adds that to this day he can be at the theater or a restaurant and he will feel his heart beating faster when he sees a little girl in a red coat.

Over one million children under the age of sixteen died in the Holocaust -

she was one of them ...

4.     Collect all work – each group must write the group members’ names on the top of their sheet. (No formal worksheet for this section – but divide them into groups with specific tasks, as seen in worksheet for lesson II) Some of the groups report their findings to the class. (Depending on the time)

Lesson II:

Working in groups, each group is given a copy of either a poem or a drawing, a worksheet (including self-assessment feedback of the unit)  and a catalog of the poems or drawings with the bibliographies of the artists.

In the background, play appropriate music (Yehuda Poliker’s “Efer V’afar”)

Follow up (if time, can be optional as h.w.)

write a poem, draw a picture or write a composition that expresses your feelings about the Holocaust, or the activities we did today.


Schindler’s List – the movie by Steven Speilberg

Keneally, T. Schindler’s Ark , Great Britain: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1984,  p.123

Volavkova, H. (ed.) I Never Saw Another Butterfly – Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, New York: Schoken Books Inc., 1993.

Websites used:

Holocaust Day

Group worksheet for artwork from the book “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”

Names of group members and their tasks:

Turn taking Monitor: _______________


Resource person:__________________

English Monitor:___________________


1.     Title of poem or drawing:________________________________________

2.     Name of artist:________________________________________________

3.     What did you find out about the artist from the biography? _____________________________________________________________


4.  Did the artist survive the war? ___________________________________

5.  How old is / would s/he be today? ________________________________

6.     What can you learn about the artist’s personality from her/his poetry or artwork? ______________________________________________________________



7.     Group self assessment:

Our group worked:

Well as a group, each person fulfilled her/his tasks efficiently

Could have worked better as a group.  (Please explain): ___________________


Please write a few words about what you thought about the tasks:

Segments from Schlindler’s List: ____________________________________


Group work following Schlindler’s List:________________________________


Class presentations:_______________________________________________


Work on I Never Saw Another Butterfly:_______________________________


Do you feel you learned anything from today’s work?  If so, what? If not, why not? ___________________________________________________________


Download the word document of this lesson plan.

**Note from Adele (30/4/2000):If any of you intend using the lesson plan I put up on the web, some words of advice: I did it today in 2 classes, and found that if you want to finish the Schlindler's List part in one 45 minute lesson, you MUST cut back on the excerpts- it's too much to finish viewing, have the discussion and report in the same lesson. I suggest you cut back on the first segment (only until he is seen in the restaurant , offering the waiter money to buy drinks for the German soldiers, and says "Tell them it's from me." Also- cut out completely the segment "Looking for Itzack Stern" (until "It couldn't be better" "It could be worse"). That should leave you enough time for work and reporting. My main aim here is to focus on the girl in the red dress, and -from there, the second lesson- to continue with the subject of children (I Never Saw Another Butterfly) . If you intend to devote 3 lessons to it, then my plan is enough - leaving time for drawing, writing poetry , composition,etc. Adele

Copyright 1997 - ETNI
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