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Classroom Presentations for Educators

Choose from nearly 20 PowerPoint presentations designed for 90-minute blocks. They can easily be adapted to any classroom format. The topics have also been divided into separate presentations for different level abilities of students.

To Schedule a Presentation

Judaism & Historical Anti-Judaism

For classes such as World Perspectives I, Western Civilization, Intro to Holocaust, or Sociology, this presentation gives an overview of the history of Judaism and its religious traditions, ideas, and values. The roots of historical anti-Judaism are also traced, from antiquity to the European Middle Ages. This is a good starting point for any study of the Holocaust.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Antisemitisms: Hate as Identity

This presentation explores the origins of antisemitism utilizing Rabbi Jonathan Sak’s metaphor of a “mutating virus.” How do issues of identity (individual and collective) allow the cultural expression of antisemitism? The development of antisemitic tropes and ideas from pre-Christian anti-Judaism to Christian anti-Judaism and antisemitism to modern antisemitism will be examined. This presentation broadly examines the difficult relationship between Judaism and Christianity and Christianity's wrestling with its own assumptions and traditions while facing the darkness of the Holocaust. We will wrestle with current manifestations of antisemitism – including anti-Zionism – while examining what is at stake.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Traveling and Studying in Israel

This presentation developed from trips to Israel and will serve as a fun travelogue illustrating the geography, culture, and history of Israel. Particular focus will be given to the Old City of Jerusalem as well as Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites. Additionally, we will visit the landscapes of the Galilee, Masada and the Dead Sea, as well as the Jordanian and Lebanese borders. The presentation will end by highlighting the work and mission of Yad Vashem (Israel's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority).

The Rise of the Nazis: 1933-1939 (Middle School)

This presentation will focus on the origins and rise of the Nazis; the accession to political power; the human rights violations and antisemitic policies. How do human rights violations escalate without being checked and what is the responsibility of individuals when facing such violations? A major focus will be how we create the ‘other’ and how to be an Upstander in the face of a perpetrator or bully. An ideal introductory presentation for high school and middle school dealing with the issues of personal and social responsibility and resisting bullying behavior.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

The Rise of the Nazis: 1933-1939 (High School)

Geared specifically to high school students, this presentation will focus on the rise of the Nazis within German society and within the greater context of general European democratic collapse. The accession to political power through manipulation of law and political violence will be explored. How do human rights violations escalate without being checked and what is the responsibility of individuals when facing such violations? A major focus will be how the ‘other’ is created. An ideal introductory presentation for high schools dealing with the issues of personal, civic and social responsibility.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Discrimination and Law in Nazi Germany (1933-1938)

The Nazis passed over 2000 laws in their persecution of German Jews. This simple figure shows how the Nazis were obsessed not only with the "Jewish Question," but also in their need to act "legally." Hitler had a great contempt for law, but came to see its use as an absolutely necessary in his war to progressively remove human rights from those he perceived as dangerous threats to the German Volk. Why? This presentation deals with the legal dimension of the Holocaust and its role in the lead-up to the Final Solution. The actions of the police and the judiciary will be highlighted with a particular focus on Franz Schlegelberger. He served in the Ministry of Justice from 1931-1942. For the last seventeen months of his service, Schlegelberger was Director of the Ministry of Justice. Key themes in the development of human rights violations will be discussed to illustrate early warning signs of genocide.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Elie Wiesel: Trauma, Remembrance and Hope

This power point presentation traces the life of Elie Wiesel from his birth in Sighet, Romania; his early, formative years; the historical context of Hungarian history; the round-up of his family and deportation to Auschwitz. We will discuss Night as the beginning, not end, of Wiesel’s encounter with the Shoah by exploring the text through his Hasidic roots and identity. We will explore Night as a counter-narrative; a constructed memoir; a crafted testimony; a matzeva (marker/gravestone) about the limits of witnessing and “surviving survival.” And yet, by studying the Shoah and Wiesel’s writings we will encounter his hope that the spark for goodness must be ignited within us.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Student Worksheet: Elie Wiesel

A "Perfect Storm": Antecedents and Precursors to the Holocaust

This presentation examines the preexisting prejudices, myths, anxieties and fears that the Nazis astutely utilized to not only become a mainstream political party, but one with “moral authority” within German society. Focus will be given to persecution of the offspring of French-African soldiers after World War I; homosexuals; the handicapped; the Sinti and Roma; Jehovah’s Witnesses; and the Jews. In the cases of these minorities, professionals and many segments of society became invested with the questions thrust before them and wrestled – through growing frustration – to imagine more radical solutions…from sterilization to deportation to…? While obsessed with “the Jews”, the Nazi persecution of these other groups helped them develop “useful” ideas and techniques that would emerge in the Final Solution. Nazism existed and was attractive precisely because it could effectively “other” the other. In confronting issues such as homophobia and racism this presentation seeks to emphasize the need for eternal vigilance for the “other” in our midst.

Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Germany 1933-1938

Using Marion Kaplan's work, this presentation deals with gender. "Along the stations toward extinction … each gender lived its own journey." Using images and memoirs, the focus here is on the role of everyday Germans, on a daily level in the social death of their neighbors. Often overlooked is the initiative of ordinary Germans in complying with the new tone of the government without serious legislation being passed in the early stages of the regime. Also misunderstood is that the mixed messages being sent did not make the so-called "writing on the wall" clear until 1938. A comparison of the male and female German Jewish experience will reveal the difficulties in accurately assessing the dangers facing this small minority of Germans.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

The Holocaust: "The Twisted Road to Auschwitz"

This presentation focuses on the evolution to genocide that took place from 1939-1945. The major emphasis is on how Nazi policy developed from forced emigration in the 1930s to the "Final Solution" by 1941. Specific attention will be placed upon the Nazi racial laboratory of Poland 1939-1940 and how Nazi policy evolved from the difficulties in implementing the fantasy world of Hitler, Himmler, and the SS. Topics to be covered include: Nazi ideology; the influence of the unfolding war situation; the influence of location; emerging role of the SS; the difficulties and failures of implementing emigration policy and demographic engineering; the failure and complicity of the Wehrmacht; T 4 Program; The ghettos; The Commissar Order; the Wannsee Conference; the Einsatzgruppen and the so-called “Final Solution.” (For advanced classes.)

(For advanced classes.)

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Hiding and Passing: Background for Europa, Europa

This power point traces the life and times of Solomon Perel in preparation for showing the film “Europa, Europa.” Using events and images from his early life through the end of the war (including photographs of himself, the places, and other characters portrayed in the movie) this presentation addresses such issues as: Factors in deciding to hide or pass as a non-Jew; the dangers and difficulties in hiding or passing; and the difficulties and personal impact of hiding or passing.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Anne Frank - A Indestructible Voice

This presentation frames Anne’s Frank’s voice and experiences within the historical context of her life. Special attention is given to the life of Otto Frank and the memories of Hannah (Goslar) Pick, Anne’s childhood friend. The life and decisions of the Frank family (such as emigration and going into hiding) are placed within the context of the Nazi era. This presentation also traces the family’s history after their betrayal in the Secret Annex. We will be challenged by the courageous acts of a few Righteous and consider how their example can inspire us to be “Thy Brothers’ Keeper.”

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

The Righteous: Danish Rescue

This presentation is designed for elementary students reading Number the Stars. We will discuss in general terms the history and relative advantages of Denmark during the Nazi era and explore the rescuers and the rescued. We will also touch upon some of the Danish complicity with the Nazis and examine "goodness" as a human, not national trait. We will explore the Righteous and the traits of an "Upstander". (Grades 5-8)

Rescue and The Righteous: Resisting Evil/Weapons of Hope

Using the Jewish foundation for the Righteous’ eight “Traits that Transcend” this presentation seeks to introduce students to the subject of rescue during the Holocaust. Rescue will be placed in its historical context while approaching the question of how these people did what they did to save Jews. Examples of a “Righteous Among the Nations” will be using to illustrate each trait as well as a contemporary figure to reinforce how these traits transcend the confines of history.

The United States and the Challenge of Nazi Germany

In 1937 President Roosevelt confided to a friend in regards to the looming threat of Nazi Germany, “It’s a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you’re trying to lead and find no one there.” This will be a contextual examination of what the U.S. knew about the genocidal policies of Nazi Germany, how it reacted, and what FDR attempted to do within the political and social realities of the day. U.S. policy is presented in context of the unfolding events during the years of peace (1933-1939). Topics covered include: U.S. immigration policy and the quota system, U.S. attitudes of pacifism, isolationism, racism, xenophobia and antisemitism in the 1930s, the Evian Refugee Conference, the German American Bund; the Voyage of the St. Louis; and the failed Wager-Rogers kindertransport bill.

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Holocaust Denial: Deceit and Distortion

Holocaust denial is an active propaganda effort to deny the reality of the approximately 6 million victims of the Shoah. This presentation will answer questions such as, “How do we know what we know?” “Who would deny the Holocaust and why?” The context and origins of Holocaust denial (initiated by the Nazis themselves) will be presented as will the role of the historian as witness. Fundamental denier motives, distortions and tropes will be examined. Using the documented facts of the Shoah, this presentation will illustrate how denier arguments have no basis in truth.

Genocide's Early Warning Signs

What is required to prevent genocide? This presentation examines the urgent need to develop effective measures to recognize and deter genocide in its early stages and make such attitudes and behaviors culturally unacceptable. We will discuss the U.N. Genocide definition and its limitations; motives for genocide; genocide risk factors and warning signs; and preventative (proactive and reactive) steps that must be taken at every level of escalation. Barbara Harff’s “Risk Assessment Model” and the concept of the “Right to Protect” (R2P) will challenge us to shift our efforts from proving ”intent” to focusing instead on extent and scale. We will also wrestle with the tension between the moral imperative to act and the principles of nonintervention and state sovereignty.

Pre-presentation reading assignments:

Tom White is available at a moment's notice to discuss issues, to sit on panels, to engage in question and answer sessions.

For more information or to schedule a presentation:

Contact Tom White

Tom White
Coordinator of Educational Outreach

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Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Keene State College

229 Main Street

Keene, NH 03435-3201