Holocaust Remembrance Day Lesson Plan

As we enhance student learning by remembering and honoring the victims of the Holocaust and those who fought the Nazi Regime, we are part of a global community that resolves to reject the denial of the Holocaust and to condemn discrimination and genocide. 

Holocaust Remembrance Day lesson plan
Credit: Anne Frank by Natalie from Laguna High School


"The International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest and one of the most deadly of the Nazi death camps, on that day in 1945. Over one million people, mostly Jews, were killed in Auschwitz. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Eleven million human beings across political, social, national, and religious lines, were killed as victims of Nazi persecution. More than seventy-five years later, we reflect back on humanity’s worst impulses—Yet in choosing to commemorate the liberation of the camp alongside recalling the suffering that took place in it, the historical moment reminds us that we should persist toward hope and justice and that it is in our power to fight against such evil—and to win." Dr. Deb Donig, Assistant Professor of English Literature, Cal Poly



Teachers: Use the following curated multimedia content to enhance your students' learning about heroes during the atrocities of the Holocaust.

The sections are divided into stories and film about heroes who survived the Holocaust, those who risked their lives to help others, and stories told by family members. Discussion questions are included.

There is also a section of stories with an audio link so students can listen and read along. 

Link to Suggested Class Activities to use with Discussion Questions


Watch and read about this film from the 19th MY HERO Film Festival

A Prayer for My Mother: The Eva Brettler Story

By: Cheri Gaulke and Samara Hutman
An animated film that chronicles the extraordinary saga of Holocaust survivor Eva Brettler – a child facing brutality and profound loss who finds sustenance in faith and her own dreams for the future.

'A Prayer for My Mother: The Eva Brettler Story' by The Righteous Conversations Project

By: Naomi Gledhill
A Prayer for My Mother: The Eva Brettler Story wins the Women Transforming Media Category of the 2023 MY HERO International Film Festival.

The Following Two Films are Recommended for Upper Elementary, Middle and High School Students

Trudie's Goose

C. Lily Ericsson, Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman and Liran Kapel

 MY HERO International Film Festival Winning Film: When a young girl preparing for her Bat Mitzvah befriends a Holocaust survivor elder, both lives are changed forever as they journey from darkness to healing through the power of art.

Inseparable: The Story of Elly and Lya

Gabriela Barrett, Alexander McDaniel, Idalis McZeal, Noa Nelson, Grace Sandman, ...

A MY HERO International Film Festival Relationships First Award Winning Film: Dutch sisters, born on the same day but years apart, are separated by the Holocaust and raised in hiding by two very different families.

Additional Films for Holocaust Remembrance

The Forgotten Hero - Carl Lutz

Daniel Joseph Taylor
This video is about the Holocaust hero Carl Lutz, who saved 62,000 Jews during his lifetime.

Stitching a Life: The Story of Trudie Strobel

Produced by:Carter Beardmore, Michael Zambrano, Lauren Rothman, Cheri Gaulke, Sa...
Based on the life and art of Holocaust survivor Trudie Strobel. A production of the Righteous Conversations Project.

I Am A Traister: The Sarah Moskovitz Story

Produced by:Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
I Am A Traister: The Sarah Moskovitz Story is an animated film made by teens that tells the story of an unsung hero now in her 90s.

The White Rose

By: Ian Kim
The story of the German students who resisted the Nazis by distributing incendiary leaflets.

Survivors of the Holocaust: Stories and Films Appropriate for Middle and High School Students

International Holocaust Day | Voices of Survivors

By: MY HERO Staff

LInternational Holocaust Day is observed to inscribe the atrocities of the Holocaust into our hearts and our history. To that end it is important to hear the testimony of the survivors of the Holocaust.


Discussion Questions

1. Why is it important that these stories of the survivors of the Holocaust are remembered?

2. What character traits do these heroic survivors exemplify?   

In Class Activity

Divide students into partners and assign a film to watch or story to read. Students discuss how that hero survived the atrocities of Holocaust.

Then students create two circles, an inside circle facing an outside circle, with each student standing in front of their partner.

The inside circle shifts to the right and students share how their hero survived the Holocaust.

Every 2 minutes, students shift to the right until they reach their partner. 

Heroes who fought, resisted and helped others during the Holocaust: Stories Appropriate for Middle and High School Students

International Holocaust Remembrance Day | Helpers

By: MY HERO Staff

Honoring those who fought, resisted and helped others during the Holocaust.


Discussion Questions

1. Why did these heroes put their own lives at risk to help those being persecuted during the Holocaust?

2. How did each of these individuals put themselves at risk to help others?

3. What character traits do these heroes exemplify?

4. What did you learn from these heroes that you can apply in your own life to stand up for your rights and the rights of others?   

In Class Activity: Think, Pair, Share

Group students in pairs or groups of three. Have each group read the same story about a hero who fought, resisted or helped others during the Holocaust.

Give students time to consider one of the above discussion questions. 

Then students share their thoughts with their partner or group.

Repeat with the remaining discussion questions.  

Stories about the Heroes of the Holocaust with Text and Audio so Students can Listen as They Read AlongGreat for ESL and ELL Students

 Students learn about the survivors and those who risked their lives to help others during the Holocaust. 

Teachers: Use the discussion questions and activities included in this lesson plan in the Survivor and Helper section with your students. 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day | Text With Audio for ESL

By: Laura Nietzer

Let us never forget the Holocaust. These stories all have text with an audio link allowing students to listen as they read along. Great for ESL/ELL students and emerging readers.

Holocaust Remembrance through Art Submitted to the Gallery

International Holocaust Remembrance Day | Artwork

By: MY HERO Staff

Holocaust Remembrance through Art submitted to the Gallery

Additional Related MY HERO Resource Pages

Films for International Holocaust Remembrance Day

By: Laura Nietzer
This is a collection of films for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day | Heroes Working to Stop Future Genocide

By: MY HERO Staff

Heroes Working to Stop Future Genocide

Anne Frank & Miep Gies

By: Erin Gruwell

Anne Frank & Miep Gies are heroes to Freedom Writers founder and teacher, Erin Gruwell.

The Righteous Conversations Project brings together teens and survivors of the Holocaust creating powerful messages of peace and tolerance in the community.

Righteous Conversations
Credit: MY HERO

MY HERO Calendars for use in the Classroom

MY HERO's Teachers Calendar Features Lesson Plans and Multimedia Resources

MY HERO Teachers Calendar
Credit: MY HERO

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

How to use MY HERO's Create Program to Publish Stories, Art, Film and Audio for Students

Tutorial for students: Publish written stories, film, original artwork and audio in MY HERO's multimedia library.

Create Program
Credit: MY HERO


Laura Nietzer

The Holocaust Remembrance Day lesson plan was curated by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.


International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Credit: International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Credit: USHMM
Echoes and Reflections Holocaust Teacher Resources for Middle and High School
Credit: Echoes and Reflections

Organizer created on 1/16/2020 9:22:41 AM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 2/22/2024 9:01:27 AM by Laura Nietzer