These resources are intended for teachers to use with their pupils and we hope that there will be something for everyone in the range provided. Due to the vast breadth of development in primary aged pupils from Early Years to Year 6, we have provided a number of activities, and will leave it to the teacher’s discretion to select an appropriate activity for their pupils.
As the Holocaust is not a focus in the child’s learning until Year 6, you may wish to focus on the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day for younger pupils – Communities Together: Build a Bridge. All children will be able to understand that Holocaust Memorial Day 2013 is:
- a day to learn from the past when people were treated unfairly to stop it happening again
- to think about what life would be like if people didn’t respect one another or considered some people more important than others
- to celebrate diversity and the differences between ourselves
- to think about how we can connect with other people
For older children, you may wish to explain a little more about the Holocaust and deliver some teaching around this topic prior to HMD. Please note that the resources provided by Holocaust Memorial Day Trust are intended to be used on Holocaust Memorial Day. If you would like to deliver more in depth teaching about the Holocaust, please follow the link to one of our partner organisations that focus on teaching about the Holocaust within the curriculum. We appreciate that many school settings may only have 15 minutes to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in an assembly, and recognise that dealing with such a sensitive topic cannot be done within that time period – hence our emphasis being on the theme.
Holocaust Memorial Day is a chance to remember those who have been treated unfairly and for the children to use the theme as a way of understanding what they can do in their lives today.
You may wish that older children understand the following:
The Holocaust took place in Europe between 1939 and 1945, and resulted in the murder of millions of innocent people. From 1933, the authorities began to bring in laws that allowed some groups of people to be treated badly compared to others. The laws made sure that some people had fewer rights than others because the Nazi government thought of them as ‘different’. The Holocaust refers specifically to the six million Jewish victims, however many other groups of people were targeted too. Roughly five million people died as a result of Nazi Persecution.
When the unfair laws were being introduced and groups of people began to be treated badly some people tried to help those who were losing their rights. After all, they had previously lived side by side with these people as neighbours and friends. They knew the risk they were taking, yet still helped, even though if caught, they could be arrested and punished.
We have included a few stories which we feel represent the theme Communities Together: Build a Bridge which you can tell in assemblies which will be appropriate for different children depending on their ability to comprehend such things.
Rainbow Fish to the Rescue
Many schools will already own Rainbow Fish to the Rescue – if you do, why not read the whole story to the children. If you don’t have it, there is a synopsis of the story that you can share with the children. This is for very young children, and an opportunity for them to recognise that just because someone may look different, it shouldn’t mean that we don’t play with them. That in fact, we can all be friends.
Blanche Benedick – The courage of Danish people
This is a true account about a little Jewish girl born in Copenhagen. During the war, she was helped by non-Jewish friends in Denmark and by her new community in Sweden. She was touched by the kindness that they showed her as a refugee. It is a beautiful example of communities coming together to support one another. There is an accompanying powerpoint that can be used as you tell the story in assembly.
Kindly contributed by The Holocaust Centre.
This is the true story of Miep Gies, the brave woman who hid Otto Frank and his family (wife Edith and daughters Margot and Anne) despite the enormous risk to herself. Miep stood by her friends and others within her community for two years, making sure that they had enough food and that no one found out about their whereabouts. There is an accompanying powerpoint that can be used as you tell the story in assembly.
Information kindly contributed by the Anne Frank Trust.
As with the assembly material, there are a range of classroom activities that will suit different children. Please choose activities appropriate for your class, depending on what assembly material you select and their age and/or understanding.