This Toolkit is released as an online beta version. Teachers are invited to share their experiences in using this Toolkit by emailing one of the project contacts.

This project specifically focuses on how children particularly suffered discrimination during different periods of history, specifically during the Holocaust. We began working with archival photographs related to the Holocaust, posing students with various questions at the children’s cognitive level. We formed a small discussion groups and each group tackled different questions, such as “Who took the pictures and why? How have these pictures been preserved after WWII?”
We realized very quickly that the pupils were very touched by a photograph relating to German Jews not being able to go to a public playground. The pupils were touched by the realization that they had rights that other children had been denied.
In response, some of the children noted:
“They have no right to play because they are Jews!?”
“These people had to hide their identities and not reveal that they are Jewish”
“Now we understand the meaning of the yellow star!”
The book, “Matin brun,” written by Frank Pavloff, was used for additional reading and as a material for a dramatic workshop that was presented to the parents and open to the public. “Matin brun” brings to life the incremental process by which an open society can succumb to totalitarianism: A small concession today can pave the way for serious oppression tomorrow.
After six months of preparation and work in school, the youngsters visited memorial of the House of Izieu, commemorating what happened to the Jewish children who were hidden there during the Holocaust. In the Izieu museum, the children copied letters exhibited in the museum without telling us about it. Students were touched emotionally by their visit. After looking at the photos of the Klaus Barbie trial, the students quickly understood that the “monster” in the photograph looks like a grandfather. In addition, the lack of remorse from the side of the perpetrators also profoundly influenced our young students.

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Reading  and Decoding Archival Photographs

October 2009

Contextualizing the Historical Background

November 2009

Reading and listening to fiction stories

January to March 2010

Visit at the Armenian Heritage House

Reading out loud and drama workshops “Matin brun” written by Franck Pavloff

April 2010

Preparing and visiting of the House of Izieu, writing and illustrating in a personal notebook.

May 2010

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Objectives and Rationale
a. Content and Context

  • It is very important to introduce the theme of Holocaust and human rights in an interdisciplinary way.
  • It is necessary for students to learn more about this period in history and broaden their knowledge by reading, age-appropriate stories, such as “I Wanted to Fly Like a Butterfly” by Naomi Morgenstern, published by Yad Vashem.
  • The connection between the Holocaust and human rights was approached from several angles: prejudice and stereotyping, respect for children’s rights, to respect others.
  • This exercise was connected to the French national educational system, especially to the curriculum that focuses on French language and literature; history and geography. In addition, civic education is well established in France, placing an emphasis many times on issues related to human rights.

b. Pedagogical/Didactic Aims

  • Encouraging pupils to expand their knowledge together about the Holocaust and human rights by sharing their thoughts and analyzing primary sources.
  • Coaching the students, giving them open questions to answer, tools to work to explore, a variety of documents to examine.

Methodological Approaches
The advisor read and analyzed around thirty school history books in order to understand how they worked on the subject.
Teachers involved in the project read and searched for the right fiction books to be read by the children after-wards.
The connection between the Holocaust and human rights was created from several aspects:
a. Prejudice and stereotyping
b. Respect for children’s rights
c. The meaning of democracy through the understanding the need to respect others by learning about their way of life
d. The notion of “ordinary” heroes (Righteous among the Nations)

Practical Challenges Faced by the Coordinators and Resolution Strategies
Knowledge of potential partners and establishing links with them in order to build a network of partners working towards the same objective.
Although primary school age students are capable of learning about discrimination, the magnitude of the Holo-caust is far beyond the comprehension of most of these young pupils. A careful age-appropriate approach is needed.
Parental concerns: Some of the children’s parents were skeptical about the project, concerned that the children would be traumatized by these topics. However, over time, most of the parents were very supportive and pleased that their children had gained new values relating to citizenship. Only one parent complained, noting that her child would not want to study the German language later on after learning this subject matter.

Further Outcome of the Project
DVD about all steps of this project for other teachers to view in order to prepare themselves on how to introduce the topic of the Holocaust and other genocides to primary school aged children in their respective schools. This DVD is available for teachers to view in their pedagogical resource centers.

Technical Equipment Requirements (if applicable)
Two video cameras in order to have different shots with or without children at different angles.
Compiling and editing material to produce a film.

Primary Source Materials and Online Resources
History Books
Above Outlined Websites

Yad Vashem - Educational Materials
Je voulais voler comme un papillon”

Yad Vashem - Educational Materials

Matin brun”

Visual Documentation (Photos, Scanned Materials)
The DVD that was produced within the framework of this project about the learning process of the instructor and his pupils.

Practical Suggestions for Adaptation and Implementation in the Educational System
It is suggested that teachers watch the DVD film twice before they begin teaching this material in the classroom:
During the first time, the educator will watch the film in the eyes of a child and is involved in a learning process. Keep in mind that all documents have to be designed for the pupils so they can identify themselves.
During the second time, the educator who teaches pupils will observe how the way the project was designed and developed in order to gain a better understanding about how to introduce the educational concepts that were featured in the film.

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Teaching about the Holocaust in Primary School

Name of the Coordinator:
Marc Delhomme

Name of the School:
Condorcet and Ernst Renan Schools

EU Member State:

Number of Students Involved in the Project:

Ages and Grade Levels of the Students:
11 to 12 years old, Grade 5 (last year of school in primary level).

Involvement of Advisors and/or Other Institutions (if applicable):