Facing History and Ourselves
Recommended Books & Study Guides
Through rigorous historical analysis combined with the study of human behavior, Facing History’s approach heightens students’ understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice; increases students’ ability to relate history to their own lives; and promotes greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a democracy. All publication are available for free download to Qualified Facing History educators. Visit facinghistory.org to learn more.
Our core resource, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior provides an interdisciplinary approach to citizenship education. Students move from thought to judgement to participation as they confront the moral questions inherent in a study of violence, racism, antisemitism and bigotry.
Study Guide to the MTV Film I’m Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust
During the Holocaust, a handful of young people chose to write and record in diaries throughout Europe. The documentary film developed by MTV weaves together excerpts of young writers’ diaries covering the years 1937-1944. The companion study guide aims to help educators use the voices of these young writers from the film as a springboard for discussion and reflection on the value of these diaries as historical sources and literary records.
Decision-Making in Times of Injustice, a 17-lesson unit, is designed to help middle school educators use the materials in Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, as well as other Facing History resources. This unit has been designed to help students learn about this important moment in history while deepening their understanding of themes such as peer pressure, obedience, fear and self-preservation, opportunism, and prejudice.
This resource connects our core work, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, with writing prompts that align with the expectations of the Common Core State Standards. This supplementary guide includes specific writing prompts and teaching strategies that ask students to use evidence as they craft a formal argumentative essay. The resource features effective writing strategies for general use in the social studies or English classroom.
Soon after Hitler and his Nazi party took over Germany in 1933, they began to isolate and then eliminate Jews and other “racial enemies.” By the late 1930s, Jews could no longer own radios or record players. They were banned from movie theatres, concert halls, and cabarets. Their music, art, and literature were labeled “degenerate,” even immoral. This study guide is designed to help teachers and their students use the accompanying CD explores the role of the arts and artists in that extraordinary place. It is music that deepens our understanding not only of creativity but also of courage, resilience, and resistance. Their music is a part of the history of Terezin and of the Holocaust.
Facing History and Ourselves: The Jews of Poland considers the ways Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe responded to questions of identity, membership, and difference at various times in their shared history. Students explore this history by reading autobiographies, diaries, official documents, literary works, and other sources.
Sonia Weitz tells her story through poetry and testimony about her life during the Holocaust in I Promised I Would Tell. She gives life to the millions of children, men and women who were murdered in Europe because they were Jews. Her personal memories and poetry give a history to mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.
The award-winning film Schindler’s List provides an opportunity to both preserve and judge the past through a medium that is accessible to every high school student. This study guide is designed to help teachers make the most of that opportunity by fostering classroom reflection and discussion.
This guide highlights the story of Raphael Lemkin who is known for coining the term genocide. Lemkin challenges us to think deeply about what it will take for individuals, groups, and nations to understand and recognize genocide prevention.
Night: The Study Guide explores the relationship between memory and identity and also considers what it means to be a witness to collective violence. This guide accompanies the memoir Night, by Elie Wiesel, which focuses on the final year of the Holocaust—a year the author spent at Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp.
Shot by Shot: The Holocaust in German-Occupied Soviet Territory, an ebook by Joshua Rubenstein, author and associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian studies, contains personal survivor testimony and archival video footage as well as primary source documents that provide detailed perspectives of the events unfolding during the Holocaust in viet territories.
Sacred Texts, Modern Questions is a resource designed specifically for educators in a Jewish setting. This five-unit collection of lessons explores sacred texts of the past and the questions that shape our present. It makes connections between instances of moral courage in Pharaoh’s Egypt, struggles of conscience and faith in Hitler’s Europe, and readings from today’s influential thinkers. Our goal is to integrate original Facing History resources with biblical, rabbinic, and contemporary Jewish sources.
A Convenient Hatred chronicles a very particular hatred through powerful stories that allow readers to see themselves in the tarnished mirror of history. It raises important questions about the consequences of our assumptions and beliefs and the ways we, as individuals and as members of society, make distinctions between us and them, right and wrong, good and evil. These questions are both universal and particular.