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


Trudi's Goose: 2020 MY HERO International Film Festival Winner. Appropriate for Upper Elementary, Middle and High School Students

Trudie's Goose

C. Lily Ericsson, Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman and Liran Kapel
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: 2020 MY HERO International Film Festival Relationships First Award Winning Film

Inseparable: The Story of Elly and Lya

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

Dutch sisters, born on the same day but years apart, are separated by the Holocaust and raised in hiding by two very different families. Appropriate for middle and high school students.

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.

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. 


If teaching virtually: Assign a film to watch or story to read to a pair of students. Have them create a Google Doc or other shared document, to share how their hero survived the Holocaust. Students each use a different color text to show what they contributed. 


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.  


If teaching virtually, have students use breakout rooms if possible or a shared Google Doc to share their thoughts. (If using a shared document, it is recommended that students use different colored text in order to identify each student's contribution.) 


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.

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


Stories Told by Family Members

There are many families who have been affected by the Holocaust. Students are encouraged to talk with members of their family and community about how the Holocaust affected them and members of their family.

Did you learn about someone who survived or helped others during the Holocaust? Consider writing their story or videoing an interview to submit to MY HERO.


My Grandfather Harry

By: Ellisha from Montreal, Quebec in Canada

"My grandfather was a normal child, just like you and me. However, something horrifying occurred that changed his life forever."

David Lissak

By: Ariel from Montreal

David Lissak helped teens get back into school and will be missed by his family.

Semon Shabaev (age 19) tells his story about resurgent Jewish life in Germany at a time of rising antisemitism worldwide.

BYkids Trailer: L’CHAIM

Semon Shabaev | BYkids
Semon Shabaev (age 19) tells his story about resurgent Jewish life in Germany at a time of rising antisemitism worldwide.

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

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.


Additional Resource: 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

Related 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.


Laura Nietzer

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


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Credit: USHMM

International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Credit: International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Echoes and Reflections Holocaust Teacher Resources for Middle and High School
Credit: Echoes and Reflections

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

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

Last edited 1/3/2023 12:39:50 PM by Laura Nietzer