This Understanding by Design structured unit plan examines how to prevent acts of genocide in four lesson plans, one for each level of the Pyramid of Hate.
1. Biased Attitudes – Biased Attitudes Through Primary Sources
This lesson has students focusing on the base of the Pyramid of Hate and the context surrounding the Holocaust’s beginnings. Students will be introduced to the Pyramid of Hate and will begin to analyze the meaning of bias, how it occurs, and where it occurred during the beginning stages of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. Students will read two sources, Voices in the Dark and Hitler’s Scapegoat – the Jew, which will help them to better understand the historical context and growth of biased attitudes.
2. Acts of Bias – Nazi Identification of Jews
In the second lesson, students will learn about and analyze the second step on the Pyramid of Hate; acts of bias. This lesson focuses on the Nazi Identification of Jews which included the use of the Star of David and antisemitic prejudices which could be seen in Never Trust a Fox on the Green Heath and Never Trust a Jew by His Oath. The main focus is to help students understand that Hitler did not create antisemitism, but his steps to normalize and institutionalize it caused a growth in acts of bias and were pivotal on the steps to discrimination and bias-motivated violence.
3. Discrimination – Employment and Travel Discrimination During the Holocaust
In this third lesson, students will research discrimination during the Holocaust by analyzing two artifacts pertaining to employment and travel. Max Rosenthal’s Passport and Szymon Charlupski’s Work Permit show the legalization of discrimination by the Nazi government and how it was not only limiting their rights, but it also ostracized the Jewish communities from partaking in everyday activities that others could. Students will also consider how outside countries have the potential to make a difference and will evaluate the differences between Britain and Switzerland’s reaction to the red ‘J’ stamp.
4. Bias-Motivated Violence – Kristallnacht
In the final lesson, students will be learning about Kristallnacht through five oral histories given to the Holocaust Memorial Center. Students will have to compare and contrast the oral histories using a five circle web, which will help organize the information and allow the students to critically think about how a single historical event has multiple perspectives in a shared experience. Finally, students will be asked to consider and analyze how previous steps on the Pyramid of Hate have the potential to lead to bias-motivated violence.