Sunday, 27 January, 2013

This is the accompanying guide for teachers to Secondary discussion scenaios for pupils.

You can download a printable version of this page here.

After the Holocaust, they said never again...

We need to learn lessons from the past to create a safer, better future.

Using the image of the bridge as a visual framework for discussion you will see that there are six steps across the bridge.  Ask students to move across the bridge one square at a time.  Each square will be linked to a different genocide.  There is some additional information within this document for your own reference, which can be shared with students.  On the PDF entitled scenarios, there are discussion topics for each of the squares which you can print off and give to the students.  You can facilitate this discussion yourself or nominate a student to do this.  Alternatively, you may wish to divide the class into smaller groups so that they each have a different scenario to discuss so they can then feedback to the rest of the class.  Please read the information and discussion points in advance of delivery so that you can decide how much detail is appropriate for your students.

We have created a Secondary PowerPoint presentation which covers the main features of each genocide.  We recommend that you look at this as a class before giving the students a copy so that you may address any questions that arise.

Aim for students
Increase your understanding as you move across the bridge – making a connection between what has happened in the past, and the impact that this has on our society and how we behave as an international community today.

At the end of each discussion, ask the young people to carefully identify three words which capture the essence of each discussion/scenario.  Ask them to make a note of these words as they will be needed for a later activity.

If you have limited time you can guide your students through the powerpoint.

During each genocide, hate groups exploited community differences and escalated the situation through propaganda.  Whilst Britain is a safe place to live with very little risk of this happening here - there are examples in our society of Stage 1: Classification.

Can you think of any examples of this that you have seen happening in the UK?

What do we need to do individually and as a society to challenge this?

The young people may wish to think of a film or something in contemporary culture to help illustrate their point.

Square 1 - Holocaust (1933 – 1945)

The Nazis murdered approximately 6 million Jews in a systematic state-sponsored campaign which attempted to wipe out European Jewry.  By May 1945 around two out of every three Jews in Europe had been murdered. 

The Nazis used historical anti-semitism which had existed since ancient times to justify legal persecution against the Jewish people.  The Nazis began to restrict the lives of Jews immediately after taking in power in 1933.  They introduced laws which forbade Jews from running businesses, children attending school, banning Jews from marrying non-Jews and other measures which excluded Jews from civic life.  Whether practicing or not, all Jews had to wear yellow stars to identify them.  By 1940, Jews all over Nazi occupied Europe were forced to live in ghettos where families were crammed together in single rooms and food was scarce.  Many died through starvation, cold and overcrowding. 

Deportations to specially constructed prison, concentration and extermination camps began.  Hundreds of people were crowded together in cattle trucks and sent to camps for imprisonment, work or mass murder.  Life in the camps was incredibly hard.  For those who weren’t murdered on arrival, the life expectancy of a prisoner was between one to three months.

Hundreds of camps were established in Europe with the aim of systematically destroying millions of Jewish men, women and children.  Throughout late 1944 and 1945, these camps were liberated by Allied troops.  The liberation of the camps exposed the full extent of the Nazi’s ‘Final Solution’ to the rest of the world. 

Many survivors of the Holocaust live in the UK today.  They have rebuilt their lives, brought up families, and today many share their stories with us in order that we learn what happens when discrimination, anti-semitism and prejudice is left unchecked.

Frank Foley was born in 1884, worked for the Foreign Office and became Head of the British Passport Control Office in Germany.  Foley was in fact Britain’s most senior spy in Berlin.

During his time in Berlin, Foley is known to have saved an estimated 10,000 German Jews after Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933.  Despite having no diplomatic immunity and being liable to arrest at any time, he bent the rules when stamping passports and issuing visas to allow Jews to escape 'legally' to Britain or Palestine.  This remarkable man also visited internment camps to get Jewish people out, hide them in his home, and helped forge passports – saving tens of thousands of people from the Holocaust.

Read Frank Foley’s story.

What professional roles in the community did the remarkable individuals have who helped rescue people from the Nazi regime?

What were the risks that Frank Foley faced by carrying out these acts?

What personal attributes are required to act in this way?

Are there any other professions that would have been able to help people escape the Nazi regime? What positions might these people have held?

After a couple of minutes, ask the group to share any thoughts with the rest of the class.

There were many other remarkable and courageous acts carried out by people in all sorts of professions.

Below are a couple of examples – full details are available in individual case studies.

Miep Gies who hid Anne Frank worked in an office in Amsterdam.

Vali Racz who hid several Jews was a singer and actress in Budapest

Neshad Prizerini was a Muslim shop owner (he had a photographic shop) who offered a whole Jewish family protection and hospitality in his own extended family despite the risk that this posed to his own family.  Listen to The Role of the Righteous Muslims podcast.

Mrs Timmenga lived in the shadows of a concentration camp and provided food parcels for prisoners and sent messages between prisoners and civilians.  When people were taken to the station to be deported, Mrs Timmenga bribed the guards to let her hand out bread to the deportees.  Others found out the names and addresses of prisoners so that they could let family members know who was being deported.  The Station Master helped by delaying the departure of trains so that the team had time to complete its work.


Read the case study of Mrs Timmenga and her team of ordinary people.


People from all walks of life helped others in their community.

Square 2 - Nazi Persecution (1933 – 1945)

The Nazis hated anyone who did not fit their narrow idea of who or what was ‘normal’.  Millions of lives were destroyed or changed beyond recognition due to the things that the Nazis said made them different. 

The Porrajmos - The Nazis murdered Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) men, women and children in their campaign to ‘combat the Gypsy nuisance’ of Europe.  Targeted for eradication, the Roma and Sinti had their citizenship rights removed and were deported to the camps in Europe where they were imprisoned, forced to endure heavy labour or were sent to the gas chambers.

Those deemed untermenschen – sub-human and unworthy of life, included those who did not agree with Nazi views.  Jehovah’s Witnesses and political opponents such as Communists and Socialists, Trade Unionists and Freemasons were persecuted and incarcerated.  Those who did not conform to the Aryan ideal were also targeted.  Black Germans, gay men and lesbians, and mentally or physically disabled people’s lives  were destroyed or irrevocably damaged.  Millions of lives were lost or changed beyond recognition during the Nazi regime of hatred.

Families, communities, cultures and towns were completely wiped out.  On HMD it is our duty to ensure that the memory of these people is never forgotten.

The Nazis falsely believed that some human beings were superior to others.  They saw themselves as leaders of this superior group and aimed to develop and preserve a pure Aryan master race.  They decided that to create their dream race they would need ‘pure’ blood.  They planned to purify Aryan blood by preventing anything they saw as ‘undesirable’ from ‘polluting’ it.  They decided that this meant those they called ‘undesirables’ could not be allowed to live normal lives, mix with the rest of the population and have children.

German midwives and doctors were ordered to report any child known to them who was born deaf or blind, with paralysis or with a neurological disorder such as Down’s Syndrome, microcephaly or hydrocephaly. 

How did the actions of the nurses and doctors affect the community as a whole? 

How do you think these highly regarded members of the community were perceived?  If this was happening now, would people still go to them for their professional help even though they may fundamentally disagree with what they were doing?

Are the midwives and doctors as guilty as those who actually imprisoned and killed these people, through their referral or are they innocent and just caught up in an impossible situation?


Read the case study on the T4 Euthanasia Programme

Square 3 - Cambodia (1975 – 1979)

The fate of Cambodia shocked the world when the radical communist Khmer Rouge, seized power in 1975 after years of guerrilla warfare.  Under their leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge ruthlessly imposed an extremist programme to reconstruct Cambodia on the communist model of Mao’s China – creating ‘year zero’.  The population was made to work as labourers in one huge federation of collective farms.  The inhabitants of towns and cities were forced to leave.

The ill, disabled, old and very young were driven out, regardless of their physical condition.  No-one was spared the exodus.  People who refused to leave were killed, as were those who did not leave fast enough and those who would not obey orders. 

All political and civil rights were abolished.  Children were taken from their parents and placed in separate forced labour camps.  Factories, schools, universities and hospitals were shut down. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists and professional people in any field were murdered, together with their extended families.  Religion was banned as were radio sets and music.  It was possible for people to be shot simply for knowing a foreign language, wearing glasses, laughing, or crying.  One Khmer slogan ran ‘To spare you is no profit; to destroy you is no loss.’  Approximately two million men, women and children were murdered in the Cambodian genocide.  On HMD we must ensure that those lives are not forgotten by standing up to hatred, discrimination and prejudice when we see it happening.

Cities were evacuated, factories and schools closed, and currency and private property abolished. People were moved to a rural collective farm for being deemed too intellectual or speaking a foreign language. Religion was banned as were radio sets and music.  People were forbidden and punished for laughing, crying or even saying ‘I love you’.

All political and civil rights were abolished.

In the UK today, every member of every community should be treated equally and fairly, and the Human Rights Act is in place to ensure that this remains so.  As young people living in the UK in 2013, what human rights do you have that you may take for granted? 

If this act is complied with – what impact does it have on individuals and communities within society?  

Human Rights Act (taken from

The Human Rights Act 1998 gives further legal effect in the UK to the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.  These rights not only impact matters of life and death, they also affect the rights you have in your everyday life: what you can say and do, your beliefs, your right to a fair trial and other similar basic entitlements.   Most rights have limits to ensure that they do not unfairly damage other people's rights.  However, certain rights – such as the right not to be tortured – can never be limited by a court or anybody else. You have the responsibility to respect other people's rights, and they must respect yours. 

Your human rights are:

                        the right to life

                        freedom from torture and degrading treatment

                        freedom from slavery and forced labour

                        the right to liberty

                        the right to a fair trial

                        the right not to be punished for something that wasn't a crime when you did it

                        the right to respect for private and family life

                        freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom to express your beliefs

                        freedom of expression

                        freedom of assembly and association

                        the right to marry and to start a family

                        the right not to be discriminated against in respect of these rights and freedoms

                        the right to peaceful enjoyment of your property

                        the right to an education

                        the right to participate in free elections

                        the right not to be subjected to the death penalty

If any of these rights and freedoms are breached, you have a right to an effective solution in law, even if the breach was by someone in authority, such as, for example, a police officer.

Square 4 - Rwanda (1994)

In 100 days in 1994 approximately one million Tutsis and some moderate Hutus were murdered in the Rwandan genocide.  On 6 April 1994 the plane carrying Rwanda’s President was shot down.  The Tutsis were accused of killing the president and Hutu civilians were told, by radio and word of mouth, that it was their duty to wipe out the Tutsis.  Although on a large scale, this genocide was carried out largely by hand, often using machetes and clubs.  The men who’d been trained to massacre were members of civilian death squads – the Interahamwe.  The State provided supporting organisation –politicians, officials, intellectuals and professional soldiers incited the killers to do their work.  Local officials assisted in rounding up victims and making suitable places available for slaughter.

Tutsi men, women, children and babies were murdered in their thousands in schools and churches.  The victims, in their last moments alive, were often faced by another appalling fact – their coldblooded killers were people they knew – neighbours, colleagues, former friends, sometimes even relatives through marriage.  On HMD, we can learn the lessons from the genocide in Rwanda to change the attitudes and language we use with others around us.

People affected by the Rwandan genocide are still having to share their communities with people who harmed them or killed members of their family.  The state is imposing a law that forces everyone to get on – to coexist, forgive and reconcile.

How genuine can enforced reconciliation be?

What is the alternative?

Can people coexist and reconcile without forgiving?

Square 5 - Bosnia (1992 – 1995)
In 1980, the population of Bosnia consisted of Serbs, Bosniak Muslims and Croats.  In the turmoil following the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Bosnia declared independence in 1992.  This declaration was resisted by much of the Bosnian Serb population who saw their future as part of ‘Greater Serbia’.  Bosnia became the victim of these Serbs’ determined wish for political domination, which they were prepared to achieve by isolating ethnic groups and, if necessary, exterminating them. 

In July 1995 Serb troops and paramilitaries descended on the Bosnian town Srebrenica.  Women and children were forced onto trucks and buses while men and boys remained.  The deportation of Srebrenica’s population took four days.  The first killing of unarmed Muslim men began on 13 July 1995 in warehouses.  At least 8,000 were murdered – trapped in warehouses, football fields, school playgrounds and farms and shot.  Their bodies were buried in mass graves.  Some have been recovered and reburied, but identification has proved extremely difficult.

In the Bosnian municipality of Prijedor, non-Serbs were forced to wear white armbands.  Serbian newspapers, radio and television stations began to publish and broadcast propaganda against the non-Serbs in the city.

After the takeover of power by Serb forces, around 3,500 people, mainly men, were held in inhumane conditions in the Omarska Concentration Camp.  The prisoners were given one meal per day and violence from the camp officers was widespread.  Living conditions were atrocious, with suffocation from overcrowding a constant threat to the prisoners.  On HMD, we must honour the victims and the survivors of the genocide in Bosnia by creating a culture which respects and celebrates the differences between us.

In the Bosnian municipality of Prijedor, non-Serbs were forced to wear white armbands.  Serbian newspapers, radio and television stations began to publish and broadcast propaganda against the non-Serbs in the city.  There is division in a previously connected community.

Propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

Can you think of a modern day example of when propaganda has been used?  In 2013, what other forms of communication are now in existence that weren’t in 1992 – 1995?  What could make propaganda even more dangerous than before – and can you think of when such things have been used in a destructive way?

What impact does or could (if used wrongly) these technologies have on community cohesion?

Square 6 - Darfur (genocide in our time)
Darfur is a region in the west of Sudan, a country in North-East Africa.  Over six million people live there and over half of those are Black Africans.  The rest are Arab.  In more recent times, the Black Africans have been referred to as abid (meaning slave) by some Arabs, who see the Africans as inferior. 

 In 2003, a civil war began in the region between the sedentary population of farmers, who mainly see themselves as Africans, and the nomadic population who regard themselves as Arab and who have been supported by the Sudanese Government.

This civil war has led to the deaths of between 200,000 and 400,000 civilians.  Around 2.7 million people in Darfur have been displaced – forced to flee their homes and live in makeshift refugee camps.  Many more continue to need international aid, and despite the International Criminal Court issuing arrest warrants for  Sudan's President on charges of Crimes Against Humanity, and the South of Sudan becoming an independent country in 2011, the persecution and conflict continues.  On Holocaust Memorial Day, we can all reflect on what we can do to prevent situations like that in Darfur.

Scenario / Discuss
Around 2.7 million people in Darfur were  forced to flee their homes and live in makeshift refugee camps.  A further 2 million people rely on international assistance, bringing the total number of civilians affected by the conflict close to 5 million people.

The UK has accepted a number of Darfuri asylum seekers into Britain.

Discuss how refugees enhance our community.

Summary Discussion - once you reach the other side of the bridge:

What were the remarkable acts of courage?

What was the most surprising thing you learnt – was it an act of destruction or courage?

Do we see any aspects of what took place in the past as described, in the UK today?  If so, what have we seen?

What small individual acts can we all do to make a difference? How can we build bridges between communities? 

Creating a visual or literary response

Using the three words that you have identified from each of the topics, create a response to the discussions. This could be through:

1.      writing a poem using or focused around these three words

2.      creating a word wall

3.      creating a piece of art / music / drama inspired only by the three key words from each discussion rather than the genocide itself

Celebrating Diversity - Planning an Event
Propaganda has fuelled the division between communities on more than one occasion in history.  Imagine you work for a government that does not cause division like we have heard about, but promotes cohesion across different communities.  Plan an event that brings people together.  How would you celebrate the diversity of our different communities?  What would the event consist of?

Present to the class at the end.

International Communities (2012 / 2013):  Olympic Truce:

Can you think of any occasions in the last 12 months when communities have come together – in good or bad times?

Discuss the options presented by the young people and then look at the Olympic Truce:

Did you know that during the Olympics, a truce was agreed among the nations. This offered:

  • a respite from conflict and strife
  • a window of time for dialogue and understanding between nations
  • a pause to provide humanitarian assistance and relief from suffering
  • help for athletes from areas of conflict to attend and compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • the opportunity for competitors, officials, and spectators irrespective of their ethnic origin, gender, culture, religion, language or political system to live and compete in unity, peace and harmony
  • the opportunity for individuals from around the world to observe the spirit of unity and friendship that exists during the Games, and to reflect on how these values can be promoted in their local communities and countries

 Discuss how this might help communities across the world.

  • Making your own pledge – I will build a bridge.....
  • Take the opportunity to reflect on what you have heard today and think/ reflect on your own behaviours and attitudes.
  • How can you make an individual contribution to bringing communities together?
  • Make your pledge to make a difference... (This can be a thought and does not have to be shared with others).
  • School wide community award – Bridge Builder of the week
  • Encourage each tutor group to do something that promotes bringing communities together, either within the school or the wider community.
  • Each week, from the start of the Spring term, ask students to submit their bridge building act to a coordinator.  A winner will be announced each week in assembly.  Put up a display in the reception area so that visitors to the school can see what the school community is doing.

By HMD 2013, as a school, you will have already accomplished a number of bridge building acts that will bring communities together.

Final thoughts of the day

‘Be curious, not judgmental’ Walt Whitman, Poet

‘What can one person do?  You make friends, of course, and do what you can.’ Daoud Hari, refugee from Darfur

'No Man is an Island – we are all interconnected.  No man can truly succeed when isolated from others; we depend on one another.  There’s no place, culture, race or people better than another.  It takes the sum of all to make up the human race.' John Donne, Poet


  • 11-14
  • 14-16