Holocaust Remembrance Day

Posted by Alysha Groff on January 16, 2018


On January 27 - the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau - the United Nations General Assembly and its member states commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.   On this day, (indeed every day) we remember the victims of the Holocaust and remind ourselves of the importance of teaching and learning about the Holocaust for the prevention of future genocides.   Here are few blog posts that highlight a variety of approaches to teaching this important history.  We hope these will inspire and assist you as you prepare for this day of remembrance and learning.

Remembering the Holocaust Today and Everyday” is a look at the importance and impact of having survivor testimony in your classroom. This post offers quotes for students to consider as well as links to videos that will deepen students’ understanding of the important history of the Holocaust.

 Holocaust survivor and Facing History and Ourselves board member, Nate Leipciger shares his testimony with a rapt group of students in the Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course.  Photo courtesy Nick Kozak.

Michael Pitblado's post “Beyond Anne Frank: Using an arts-integrated approach to explore victim experiences during the Holocaust”offers an innovative approach to engaging students deeply in the experiences of young Jewish victims and survivors of the Holocaust.  For this project, students read the intimate and emotional diairies published in Alexandra Zapruder’s extraordinary collection Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust  and then created art installations to commemorate the individuals they encountered.

 Students in Michael Pitblado's class place the finishing touches on their displays.  Photo courtesy Michael Pitblado

Jan Haskings-Winner’s post “Why I Use Schindler’s List” is an excellent resource for those teaching grade 10 history. It is a practical outline as to how she includes the Holocaust in her courses, and includes some inspiring personal connections that she has made through her own study of this history. 

 photographs of Jewish survivors on display at Schindler's Factory.  Photo courtesy Jan Haskings-Winner

 Ben Gross’ post “3 Ways Educational Travel Inspires Lifelong Learning” is an inspiring look at what a field trip can do to enhance and reflect student learning of the Holocaust. 

 A student examines a primary source document at Wannsee Museum.  Photo courtesy Ben Gross

OISE professor Rob Simon uses art and memoir in a collaborative assignment entitled “Collaborative Inquiry using NIGHT.” This Teaching to Learn Project brought together teacher candidates from OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto), graduate students and high school students together to plan curriculum for the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel. 

  Works produced by students in response to reading Elie Wiesel's Night.  Photo courtesy Laura Darcy

Helping students view Prejudice and Discrimination as a Universal Problem” by Kristen Drury follows her journey to help her students understand that the roots of anti-Semitism and racism that led to the Holocaust were not just found in Germany.

 Student discussions using Big Paper strategy featuring reprinted primary source images that tell of the global reach of overt antisemitism in the 1930s in Canada.  Photo courtesy Kristen Drury.

If you are a middle school teacher and struggle to find appropriate ways to incorporate a study of the Holocaust into your class, below are a few blogs about the graphic novel Maus, and how if can be integrated into your literacy and arts program.  

Rob Simon did a collaborative assignment entitled “Youth and teachers respond collectively to Art Speigleman’s Maus through art and inquiry.” This project partnered OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto) teacher candidates with grade 8 students at from Delta Senior Alternative School in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). This blog demonstrates a unique and inspiring approach to teaching the Holocaust. 

 The result of one student group's inquiry project into Art Spiegelman's Maus.  Photo courtesy Rob Simon.

 The Right Time” by Amy Smith follows Amy’s journey through teaching Maus and using the documentary “Paper Clips” in her middle school classroom. 



We hope you have found some inspiration and help to teach the Holocaust in your classroom. For additional resources that you can use to teach your students about the history of the Holocaust,  and to inspire your students to respond to their learning in meaningful ways, download your free 1 week or 1 month unit plan for teaching the Holocaust and Human Behaviour.


Topics: Holocaust, Holocaust Education, Middle School, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, Inquiry, Grade 10 History, HSB, CHC, Anne Frank, international holocaust remembrance day


This is where Canadian Facing History and Ourselves teachers and community members meet to share reflections, scholarship and teaching practices that will inspire, challenge and improve teaching and student learning. Our stories provide a window into diverse Facing History classrooms in Canada, and invite you into the discussion.

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