Holocaust and Genocide Curriculum

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As the Chairman of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, I am pleased to post the curriculum outlines recently approved by the Commission for kindergarten through twelfth grade. Comments and questions are welcome.




The following outline for Kindergarten through 12th grade was initially developed by the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education and finalized with input from the Department of Education, the NJ School Boards Association, the NJ Teachers Associations, and the Principals, Supervisors and Administrators organizations. The outline is recommended as a basis for the development of a Holocaust and Genocide Curriculum in the schools of New Jersey in accordance with chapter 13 of the New Jersey laws of 1994. Curriculum materials developed by the Commission will be provided to the schools for in service training programs to be held during the 1994/95 school year.


A STUDY OF THE HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE Adopted 10/4/94 Kindergarten – 3rd Grade

I. Yourself and Others

1. Understand what makes up a person












2. Compare yourself to others:



3. Understand concepts of respect toward:

self and others – diversity – self concept – trust respect


4. Draw preliminary conclusions about individuals and groups

II. Dislikes and Prejudice

1. Understand what are “OK” dislikes and “Bad” dislikes.

2. Define “prejudice”

3. List the effects of prejudice.

4. Develop a personal plan to be more trusting, caring, and less prejudiced.

III. The Holocaust

1. Define “The Holocaust”

2. Understand who were:

The “Victims”,The “Bad People”,

The “Quiet People”,

The “Heroes”

3. Analyze how prejudice led to the Holocaust. Discuss:

a. antisemitismb. economic prejudice

c. religious prejudice

d. philosophic prejudice

4. Understand how and which laws led to the Holocaust. Discuss the Nuremberg Laws.

5. Know facts regarding the Holocaust, relating them to such general concepts as respect of self and others, diversity, hatred, prejudice, altruism, and heroism.







6. Analyze the impact of the Holocaust on individuals, society, and the future.

IV. Genocide

1. Define “genocide”

2. Learn how prejudice and bigotry may lead to a genocide.

3. Analyze and explain some of the factors that have led to genocides.

4. List some of the past and present genocides.

5. Understand that a genocide may impact any people at any time.

V. Personal and Group Reactions

1. Understand the many ways that individuals and groups may react to any given situation.

2. Understand the various ways individuals and groups reacted to the Holocaust and genocides.

3. Understand the meaning of “a hero”.

4. Explain reasons why people and groups reacted as they did during the Holocaust and during genocides and atrocities against peoples.

VI. Moral Issues and Civic Responsibility

1. Analyze what you personally would or should have done during the Holocaust.

2. Understand what individuals or groups could have done.

3. Explain how we can prevent a future Holocaust or genocide.

4. Evaluate the importance of studying about the Holocaust and genocide.

4th Grade – 6th Grade

I. Individual and Group Behavior

1. Differentiate between good and bad behaviors of an individual and of a group.

2. Analyze reasons why individuals and groups act in certain ways.

3. Define the following behavioral types:

a. herob. perpetrator

c. bystander

d. collaborator

4. Draw preliminary conclusions about individuals and groups.


II. Prejudice. Bigotry, and Discrimination

1. Define the following terms:

a. bigotryb.prejudice

c. discrimination

d. scapegoating

e. racism

f. genocide

g. stereotype

h. ethnocentrism

2. Analyze how prejudice is formed.

3. Evaluate the impact of prejudice on individuals, groups, and society.

4. Develop a personal plan to reduce bigotry and prejudice within yourself and others.

III. The Holocaust

1. Understand the meaning of the term “Holocaust”, and place it in an appropriate timeline of history.

2. Study the life of Adolf Hitler.

3. Understand the impact of the Nuremberg Laws.

4. Analyze the impact of “Kristallnacht” – The Night of Broken Glass

5. Study the reasons why Jews were singled out by Hitler and the Nazis.

6. Study the different individuals and groups during the Holocaust.

a. Heroesb. Righteous peopleand Germany

c. Victims

d. Nazis

e. Collaborators

f. Allies of the US

g. By-standers

h. Auxiliaries

7. Review the inhumane treatment by the Nazis.

a. Lawsb. Isolation

c. Ghettos

d. Final Solution

e. Murders (shooting, gassing)

f. Concentration Camps

g. Slave labor

h. Separation of families

i. Death (starvation, sickness)

j. Physical torture

k. Medical experiments

8. Review the facts regarding other victims of Hitler

a. Handicappedb. Gypsies/Roma

c. Poles

d. Communists

e. Catholics

f. Jehovah’s Witnesses

g. Anti-Nazis

9. Understand and analyze the use of Propaganda by the Nazis.

10. Analyze the findings of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

11. Analyze the response of other nations to the Holocaust during 1933-45.

IV. Genocide

1. Develop a full definition of the word “genocide”.

2. Compare the various types of genocide.

3. Analyze how a “genocide” may happen.

4. Understand the facts of at least three genocides that meet the criteria.

V. Individual, Group, and Societal Resistance

1. Compare the different types of resistance that may be used in any situation.

a. passiveb. slowdown

c. direct

d .moral

e. economic boycott

f. physical

2. Analyze the resistance provided by some individuals and groups during the Holocaust, such as the partisans, workers, the citizens of LeChambon, Oskar Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg, Zegota, etc.

3. Evaluate the resistance of countries through their governmental actions, such as Denmark and Italy

4. Analyze the actions and motivations of the heroes.

VI. Related Issues of Conscience and Moral Responsibility

1. Assess the importance of studying about the Holocaust and genocide.

2. Evaluate the impact the Holocaust has on our lives today.

3. Analyze why some people say the Holocaust or some genocides never occurred.

4. Predict whether a future Holocaust or genocide can occur again. If yes, why?

5. Analyze how we might prevent these occurrences from ever happening again.


7th Grade – 12th Grade

I. The Nature of Human Behavior

1. Examine human behaviors of obedience, conformity, silence, courage, integrity, martyrdom, empathy, caring, cruelty, collaboration, and other positive and negative behaviors in relation to personal relationships.

2. Draw preliminary conclusions about human nature and behavior.

II. From Prejudice to Genocide

1. Define and determine the causes of prejudice, scapegoating, bigotry, discrimination and genocide.

2. Compare contemporary examples of hatred, prejudice, discrimination and genocide.

3. Understand the history of antisemitism from ancient times to 1933.

4. Analyze the relationship, if any, between education/culture and the potential for genocide. Why was the Holocaust perpetrated by a civilized, highly educated people?

5. Study ideologies related to prejudice and how they might lead to a genocide: racism, sexual orientation, creed, gender, religion, social class, age, ethnicity.

6. Reassess human nature in light of examples of prejudice, scapegoating, bigotry, discrimination and genocide. To where would tolerance, respect, acceptance lead?

III. The Rise of Nazism: Prelude to the Holocaust

1. Analyze the background of German political, economic and social thought in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

2. Assess the domestic and worldwide conditions that influenced Germany after World War I and contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

3. Investigate reasons for and the impact of the decline of the Weimar Republic.

4. Examine the role of Jews in Germany before the rise of Hitler.

5. Determine why Nazi philosophy and government appealed and still appeal to certain aspects of human nature or behavior.

6. Understand the life of Adolf Hitler.

7. Evaluate the role of the media and propaganda in relation to Nazi ideology.

8. State and support generalizations about the reasons for the rise of the Nazi state.

9. Reassess human nature in light of knowledge about Hitler’s life and the Nazi Party to 1933.

IV. Persecution to Mass Murder: The Holocaust

1. Evaluate the extent to which Nazi policies, laws and teachings in the years immediately following their rise to power, prepared the foundation for the Holocaust. Examine the erosion of Jewish rights, boycotts of Jewish businesses, and the dehumanization of the Jewish people.

2. Describe changes in the lives and legal rights of Jews in Germany after the rise of the Nazis to power: the Nuremberg Laws.

3. Investigate the escalation of Nazi policies of persecution and murder of Jews, which culminated in what the Nazis called “The Final Solution,” to include

(a) Euthanasia Program;(b) Kristallnacht;

(c) the isolation and ghettoization (concentration) of Jews;

(d) the Einsatzgruppen; and

(e) the Wannsee Conference.

4. Compare and contrast the operation and conditions of the concentration camps and the death cups in Germany and in other occupied countries.

5. Review the literature, art, and music of the Holocaust to determine the motivations, insights and interpretations of human experience that they reflected, including a form of resistance.

6. Analyze the roles in the Holocaust of business/industry; medical, scientific, educational and legal professions/systems; and the church.

7. Analyze the responses to the Nazi persecution policies by Germans and collaborators from other nations.

8. Evaluate the continuing role of the mass media and propaganda in Nazi Germany, including use of the “Big Lie” and the corruption of language.

9. Investigate the reasons why specific groups became victims of the Nazis, including children, Gypsies, Blacks, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the handicapped, homosexuals, and others, and investigate the reasons for their respective treatment.

10. Examine the war plans and priorities of the United States during World War II as they relate to the Holocaust, including: (a) the Evian Conference; (b) the St. Louis, (c) the Bermuda Conference; and (d) the failure to bomb Auschwitz.

11. Explore eye-witness accounts of the Holocaust by survivors and liberators.

12. Develop a chronology of the Holocaust, 1933-1945.

13. Define the Holocaust: the Shoah.

14. Reassess human nature and behavior in light of events in Nazi controlled areas from 1933-1945.

V. Resistance and Intervention and Non Action

1. Analyze Jewish physical and spiritual resistance to the Holocaust.

2. Examine resistance to the Holocaust by non-Jewish people in Germany and in the Nazi occupied countries.

3. Assess the responses to the Holocaust of (a) the United States and the Allies; (b) the Vatican; (c) religious organizations and leaders; and (d) the media.

4. Analyze the response of American Jews to the Holocaust.

5. Define heroic behavior, and identify those people who had the courage to care during the Holocaust.

6. Reassess human nature in light of the local and worldwideresponses to the Holocaust.

VI. Genocide/Atrocities Against A People

1. Define genocide, atrocity, random acts of violence.

2. Understand the methods of how to study a genocide and atrocities.

3. Define different forms of genocide and atrocities:






4. Review and study genocides and atrocities of the past such as:

African American (slavery)Native American



Individual communities may choose other areas to study.

5. Review and discuss current events regarding genocide and atrocities including but not limited to: Rwanda, Bosnia

6. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the Holocaust, genocide, and atrocities.

VII. Related Issues of Conscience and Moral Responsibility

1. Differentiate between crime and war crime.

2. Examine issues of guilt and responsibility.

3. Assess the effectiveness of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal in adjudicating the crime of genocide.

4. Understand issues not resolved by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.

5. Assess the relationship between the Holocaust and theestablishment of the State of Israel.

6. Examine post-Holocaust persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe.

7. Analyze the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany in the 1990’s and that country’s response.

8. Examine related contemporary issues of conscience and moral responsibility (for example: internment of Japanese-Americans; Serbian policy of “ethnic cleansing”; the Vietnam War; use of the atomic bomb; civil rights movement; apartheid; etc.)

9. Assess the implications of the Holocaust and genocide for the present and the future.

10. Assess the moral and philosophical implications of recent antisemitic incidents and other forms of prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, and racism in American society.

11. Evaluate individual and collective responsibility for the Holocaust and genocide.

12. Evaluate the uniqueness of the events of the Holocaust and the universal lessons that may be learned.

13. Assess the motives and tactics of the deniers of the Holocaust.

14. Evaluate the relationship of the Holocaust to our lives.

15. Examine the impact of the Holocaust upon survivors, including the hidden children.

16. Examine the contribution to the world made by survivors of the Holocaust and genocides.

17. Examine the impact of the Holocaust and genocide on the families of survivors.

18. Examine the reasons why the Holocaust and genocide must be studied.

19. Hypothesize whether or not a Holocaust or genocide can happen again.

20. Examine recent events in Rwanda, Bosnia/Herzogovenia, and the former Soviet Union along with bias crimes locally and nationally, and the reappearance of Nazism and hatred around the world.

21. Evaluate the responsibility of each individual to prevent another Holocaust or genocide.