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Subject: Social Studies

Grade: 9-12

Brief Description

Students research and report on different reactions and responses to the Holocaust.


  • Students identify the response of people and institutions (governments, armies, churches, the press, the Red Cross, etc.) in different positions of power.
  • Students consider the effects of that response on events.

Key words

Consequences, moral responsibility, resistance.

Lesson Plan

Research and collect information about one of the following topics:

  • When did the President of the United States find out about the camps? What was his response? Was there any difference between what he said publicly and privately?
  • Many people in Europe (including areas occupied by Germany) said they did not know about the camps. Can you find evidence that this may not be true?
  • Was there an official response from churches throughout the world? Find an example of a church’s role in the resistance movement.


Present your information and ideas in a written or oral report to the class. Try to answer any questions they may have.

Discussion Questions

  • Does someone in authority have more of a responsibility to do something than someone with little power or authority? Explain your answer.
  • What is the difference between "public policy" and "moral responsibility"? Can they lead to the same response?

Click here for a printable version of this lesson plan.