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Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 – 12 of the best teaching resources for primary and secondary

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27th January – use these resources to get involved and educate your students…

Lloyd Burgess
by Lloyd Burgess
DOWNLOAD A FREE RESOURCE! Holocaust Memorial Day Tutor Time Activities for Secondary Schools

What is Holocaust Memorial Day?

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi Persecution and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

When is Holocaust Memorial Day?

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place each year on the 27th January, which is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

What is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2023?

This year’s theme has yet to be announced. Keep an eye on the official website to find out more.

1 | What was the Holocaust?

Obviously teaching the Holocaust to young pupils is something that should be done with sensitivity, so if you’re after a good, child-friendly starting point for what the Holocaust was and what happened, try this CBBC page.

It has short descriptions of events and people, along with animated videos and links to other relevant sources.

Find all this here.

2 | Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

On the Holocaust Memorial Trust website you can order its free About HMD booklets, poster pack and pin badges to use in your own Holocaust Memorial Day activity.

Or, if you prefer, you can print the booklets and posters off yourself.

All of this can be found here.

3 | Why children need to learn about the Holocaust

Obviously the Holocaust is a tricky topic to bring up with younger children, but in these turbulent times it’s essential that we do.

In this article, Bev Forrest outlines how you can give KS1 and 2 children a firm foundation of knowledge on this difficult subject, to set them up for a deeper understanding in secondary school.

Read it here.

4 | Holocaust Memorial commemoration video

If you’re looking for something to share with students, this award-winning video from the UCU comes in at around 25 minutes, and features personal testimonials of the Holocaust.

The film was accompanied by a short publication of testimonials by UCU members and others who survived genocides in Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda, which you can download here.

You can also find more videos and resources from UCU here.

5 | Exploring the Holocaust KS3 scheme of work

Exploring the Holocaust is a free, comprehensive and flexible cross-curricular scheme of work produced by the Holocaust Educational Trust, built around 15 core lessons in History, RE and Citizenship or PSHE.

You will also find additional resources which can be added to the scheme of work and guidance on incorporating art into a programme of study on the Holocaust.

Find all this here.

6 | Holocaust assemblies for primary and secondary

The Key Stage 2 assembly introduces students to Holocaust Memorial Day, what we are commemorating, and how we can mark it. It includes poetry and film to engage students with the day.

While in the secondary assembly, students will learn about how people around the world have been affected by genocide, and what we can do today.

Each one features a script and presentation, designed to be used together by teachers to deliver the assembly.

Click these links to download the primary assembly or the secondary one.

7 | Holocaust timeline wall chart

One of these resources is the UCU Holocaust Memorial Day wallchart, which has been brought up to date to include new sections about the recent fight against fascist organisations like the BNP and EDL.

It can be used in your school to educate against the dangers of anti-Semitism, fascism and racial discrimination.

Download it here.

8 | The ten stages of genocide

The importance of learning about the timeline of the Holocaust is essential for spotting acts of evil as they occur. Genocide doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with small steps imposing on people’s liberties.

In 1996, Dr Gregory H Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, outlined the 10 stages of genocide as:

  1. Classification
  2. Symbolisation
  3. Discrimination
  4. Dehumanisation
  5. Organisation
  6. Polarisation
  7. Preparation
  8. Persecution
  9. Extermination
  10. Denial

On the Genocide Watch website you can see exactly how he defines each of these stages. It’s important though to not view this as a linear model, and to understand that some stages take place at the same time.

Read the full explanation here.

9 | Learning about genocide

This set of five activities are designed for use in tutor times. They include short activities and discussion questions to introduce students to the genocides remembered on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Students will learn about people affected by the Holocaust and genocide and explore a range of themes, and are challenged to think about their own social responsibility, and what we can do to make a difference today.

Get this resource here.

10 | Belsen concentration camp

What did the British find when they entered Belsen concentration camp? Belsen (full name Bergen-Belsen) was set up in 1943. It was never used as a death-camp, but was still a place of unbelievable horrors and brutality.

Towards the end of the war, thousands of Jews had been evacuated from camps in eastern Europe and marched west to avoid the advancing Soviet army. There were 40,000 prisoners at Belsen in April 1945, many dying each day, as well as thousands who had recently died and had not been buried.

The outside world knew of the camps even before the war, but took little notice of reports of what they were like. Thus when Allied soldiers began to advance into Germany at the end of the war and discovered the camps, they were deeply shocked by the conditions. These documents record what the British soldiers found, and how they responded.

Get this resource here.

11 | Anne Frank resources

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank has long been the go-to text for educating young people about what life was like for those living in hiding from the Nazi regime.

Anne Frank Trust UK and Amnesty International produced a set of resources to go with this famous account, called Writing in Impossible Circumstances.

If you want to take things further, this webpage from Imperial War Museums, called ‘The Way We Lived: Exploring Jewish Life and Culture’, has a number of helpful videos.

There’s a powerpoint, lesson plan, resource sheets, teacher’s notes and curriculum links, all of which you can find here.

12 | Discrimination lesson plan

Made in partnership with Stand Up! Education Against Discrimination, this lesson will help your students learn how discrimination was used during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and the Genocide in Rwanda.

You will discuss antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred in society today, and what to do if you are the victim or a witness to a hate crime.

Download this lesson here.

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