Lesson Plan Title : Hiding the Jews
Age Range: Grade 9 through Grade 12 (High School)
Overview and Purpose: German sympathizers hid many Jews from the Nazis. This lesson gives students a taste of what that is like. They are responsible for hiding a classmate from the Nazi officer who will come to the classroom sometime during the week. Students have to be creative and convincing to keep their student safe.
Objective: The student will be able to describe how difficult it was to hide Jews from the Nazis.
Adult who is willing to be a Nazi officer
Powerpoint presentation about the hiding places of Jews during Nazi rule
After the Powerpoint presentation, divide the students into groups. Explain that they need to choose one student in their group to be a Jew and the rest of them are going to be German citizens. They have the responsibility to keep that Jew safe from the Nazi officer who will be there sometime that week. They will get about 30 seconds notice to hide their classmate and assume nonchalant positions.
Give them time to plan how they will hide their classmate and to make any necessary items. Explain that they can create a false wall or bookcase and even though it will obviously be false, the Nazi soldier will pretend not to notice if it blends in to the classroom.
Throughout the week have several "false alarms" where people knock on the door and the students have to hide their classmates. The third day, have the Nazi knock and come in. Have them look around the room for the Jew or evidence of him or her. (Remind the students about their Jew's desk and books.)
At the end of the week, talk as a class about the challenge of having to hide a member of their group and the feelings involved for the group and the student who was the Jew.
You can increase the stress level of the activity by offering a reward to any group who successfully hides their classmate. It is a very powerful lesson in the everyday dangers faced by Jews and sympathetic Germans during that time.