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Holocaust Teaching Guide

Susanne M Reyto

December 2019 978-0-944581-00-1


Learning the lessons of the Holocaust has never been more important or more challenging. Together with Violins of Hope, this curriculum will educate with a unique approach, through music and culture, using violins, violas and cellos. The project will teach elementary, middle and high school students through their experiences rather than through textbooks. Adults will participate in salons of music and discussion. These instruments were silenced by the war and have now been painstakingly restored, becoming a symbol of hope and endurance of the human spirit. They are giving voice to the voiceless. Jewish musicians were forced to play amidst the atrocities, often extending their lives and for some to survive.

Jewish people make up only 2% of the US population, but attacks on Jews account for 60% of all religious hate crimes. We aim to reach young people and teach them the dangers of intolerance of the past as well as the present time, and continue to fight against Holocaust denial and religious bigotry.

Learning the lessons of the Holocaust has never been more important, or more challenging. It inspires students to resist in-group pressures toward racial and religious bigotry and equip them with the tools to respond to bullying, by becoming more morally aware, better informed and caring citizens.


Define the term "Holocaust"

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, stat sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazis and its collaborators starting in 1933 with Hitler's rise to power and ending in 1945 at the end of World War II. During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived racial inferiority: Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic people, (Poles, Russians and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological and behavioral grounds, among them Communist, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuals.