The FHM Teaching Trunks and Florida Standards
The Florida Holocaust Museum invites educators to use our dynamic trunk curriculum to teach the lessons of the Holocaust. These large teaching trunks are designed to accommodate the needs of one class or a team of teachers.
Inside the trunks you will find:
- Reference and resource materials
- Classroom sets
- Literature circle sets
- Read-aloud titles
- Curriculum framework
The curriculum guide contains an introduction to each trunk; synopses of select books and films with rationale, discussion questions and activities; additional resources, and professional readings.
The role of The FHM teaching trunks in helping to meet the goals set out in the Florida Standards:
- The trunks provide resources and tools covering multiple disciplines and skills for various grades K-12.
The skills students practice and acquire can be applied outside the classroom in their future careers and community life.
- By using our resources students learn how to read attentively, and how to analyze and understand complex texts with substantial amounts of factual information.
- Students learn how to differentiate between and respect various opinions and individual perspectives.
These goals can be achieved through studying primary sources like testimonies of Holocaust survivors or Holocaust-era diaries as well as secondary sources including articles and history books.
- In order to comprehend a broad and complex context of Holocaust history necessary for studying Holocaust era first-hand accounts, students – under the supervision and guidance of their educators – learn how to conduct research and navigate between safe printed and online resources while avoiding information released by Holocaust deniers and hate groups.
- Both primary and secondary sources in the trunks help students strengthen their analytical skills and enhance comprehension of informational text.
- Students develop better writing and reading skills by working with complex informational text and themes that require independent thinking and analysis.
- Students acquire knowledge how to ask relevant questions and understand the author’s message, integrate the new information obtained from various sources (printed and online materials, videos, maps, primary and secondary sources, etc.) into their own understanding of a given topic or resource, and draw evidence and convey their message for specific audiences.
- Since our teaching trunks have been built to accommodate progress in students’ education but also to address challenges educators may encounter in a group of students with different levels of education, the resources provided particularly in multi-grade trunks help educators build units that correspond with particular needs of students in their class and encourage better participation.
- By studying the Holocaust students learn about the importance of diversity and how to build a society that embraces democratic values and responsibilities. They learn the dangers of hate and prejudice and ramifications of abusive ideologies. Students learn to adapt the lessons of the Holocaust into their own lives by embracing different opinions and world views and the need for mutual respect among individual human beings as part of a multifarious, open-minded, democratic society.
- Resources included in our teaching trunks allow students to analyze how the text is structured and identify aspects that reveal an author’s point of view and, particularly in the case of primary sources, motivation for creating it. Students learn to investigate connections between historical events and individual lives, e.g. the impact the anti-Jewish legislation had on individual families. Among the skills acquired and enhanced through the study of primary and secondary sources from the trunk is attentive reading and analytical comprehension of complex informational texts.
- Students also learn how to use and integrate different formats of resources (maps, graphs, artifacts, photographs, text) into their own analysis. They study new vocabulary which is an indispensable component of understanding the historical context of the Holocaust and the events described in the primary and secondary sources. By studying the resources provided in our teaching trunks students prepare to be independent thinkers capable of making their own decisions based on acquired knowledge and taking responsibility for their own actions. They are taught to be open to diversity in their communities and to respect civil rights and democratic values.
- Students achieve these goals by studying personal stories of individual victims of Nazi persecution which enables them to translate the history of the Holocaust from abstract, staggering numbers into compelling experiences of individual human beings whose lives were directly impacted by the choices of other individuals. They learn about the concept of victims, perpetrators, bystanders, or upstanders and the choices people could have made to change their behavior, e.g. they examine instances of how a bystander turned into an upstander/rescuer. Students learn to draw conclusions from these authentic experiences for their own lives today and for society at large. They learn the power of each decision made by a single person and the scope of change, both positive and negative, individuals can initiate.
Florida Holocaust Museum sends teaching trunks free of charge to schools throughout the United States. To reserve a trunk or for more information please visit us at www.flholocaustmuseum.org.
Recommendations prepared by Ursula Szczepinska, Director of Education & Director of Research at The FHM.
High School Trunk Recommendations
Prepared by Ursula Szczepinska, Director of Education & Director of Research at The FHM.
Curator of Education & Director of Research at The Florida Holocaust Museum
The High School Teaching Trunk focuses on the theme of individual experiences during the Holocaust. Through studying non-fiction such as diaries, memoirs, and biographies supported by secondary sources, students examine the impact of historical events on individuals.
The high school trunk materials can help with meeting the following Florida Standards in Literacy in History/Social Studies:
LAFS.910.RH.1.1; LAFS.910.RH.1.2; LAFS.910.RH.1.3; LAFS.910.RH.2.4; LAFS.910.RH.2.5; LAFS.910.RH.2.6;
LAFS.910.RH.3.7; LAFS.910.RH.3.8; LAFS.910.RH.3.9; LAFS.910.RH.4.10; LAFS.910.WHST.1.1; LAFS.910.WHST.1.2; LAFS.910.WHST.1.3; LAFS.910.WHST.2.4; LAFS.910.WHST.2.5; LAFS.910.WHST.2.6;
LAFS.WHST.910.3.7; LAFS.WHST.910.3.8; LAFS.WHST.910.3.9; LAFS.910.WHST.4.10
LAFS.1112.RH.1.1; LAFS.1112.RH.1.2; LAFS.1112.RH.1.3; LAFS.1112.RH.2.4; LAFS.1112.RH.2.5;
LAFS.1112.RH.2.6; LAFS.1112.RH.3.7; LAFS.1112.RH.3.8; LAFS.1112.RH.3.9; LAFS.1112.RH.4.10;
LAFS.1112.WHST.1.1; LAFS.1112.WHST.1.2; LAFS.1112.WHST.1.3; LAFS.1112.WHST.2.4;
LAFS.1112.WHST.2.5; LAFS.1112.WHST.2.6; LAFS.WHST.1112.3.7; LAFS.WHST.1112.3.8;
Samples of primary and secondary sources available in the high school trunk that can be used for
applying the Florida Standards:
“The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak” edited by Alan Adelson
Dawid Sierakowiak was an insightful, talented young man who shared the tragic fate of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. While his life was cut short by his untimely death, the diary he had kept for nearly 4 years survived. He wrote most of his diary in the Łódź ghetto in German-occupied Poland. Five notebooks of Dawid’s diary were found after the war. In the span of time between the fall of 1939 and spring of 1943, Dawid Sierakowiak described in great detail the deterioration of the situation around him shortly before the outbreak of World War II in September, 1939 and then the harrowing experiences his family endured in the ghetto. The diary ends in April 1943. Dawid died in August 1943 at the age of 19.
Dawid’s diary lets readers examine the daily struggles of ghetto inhabitants trying to survive in some of the most inhumane conditions. Students learn to recognize the extraordinary legacy of Holocaust-era diarists. By describing their experiences, young writers like Dawid Sierakowiak provided testimony to the atrocities that took place during the Holocaust, to the suffering inflicted on human beings by their fellow humans. Even though some of Dawid’s notebooks were never recovered, the ones that survived reveal a powerful record of the horror unfolding around him and his family. Dawid did not survive but his diary helps us raise awareness about the tragic fate of millions of innocent people and ensure that it’s not forgotten. Thanks to him and other diarists, students learn about the Holocaust not through anonymous, overwhelming numbers but through individual stories of human beings with their names and identities that the perpetrators tried to deprive them of.In order to better understand Dawid’s diary, educators and students need to familiarize themselves with a larger historical context of his daily entries. The high school trunk has numerous secondary sources that can help with that task, some of which are listed below. Many of the resources include timelines, glossaries, and bibliographies that educators and students may benefit from.
Secondary sources supporting the study of “The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak”
“Atlas of the Holocaust” by Martin Gilbert
In order to prepare students for the reading of Dawid Sierakowiak’s diary as well as during the classes devoted to the study of this topic, teachers can use resources that provide visual information: e.g. “Atlas of the Holocaust” with 316 detailed maps carefully drawn and annotated by a world-renowned historian Martin Gilbert. In chronological order, the atlas covers the history of Nazi persecution of Jews from the time of pre-WW II Germany, through ghettoization, deportations to concentration and death camps, death marches, and liberation by the Allies. The maps also show examples of resistance, defiance, and escape routes. This comprehensive resource helps students investigate the Nazi expansion during World War II and see the scope and scale of the events. This and other secondary sources are a good starting point for discussions about the most recent research results published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and help students appreciate the ongoing efforts of scholars and archivists dedicated to bringing to light as much information about the Holocaust as possible.
“Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior”
As the Facing History and Ourselves leaders describe their core work, it “provides an interdisciplinary approach to citizenship education. Students move from thought to judgment to participation as they confront the moral questions inherent in a study of violence, racism, antisemitism and bigotry. The readings and activities explore the consequences of discrimination, racism, and antisemitism by holding up ‘the tarnished mirror of history’ to one of the most violent times in world history – the 1930s and 1940s. As students read and reflect, they investigate the forces that undermined democracy in Germany, betrayed a generation of young people, and ultimately led to the Holocaust. In doing so, students discover that many of those forces threaten our own society today. The book then helps students discover how their decisions can make a positive difference in their community, nation and the world.” To learn more about this and other resources of Facing History and Ourselves please visit
“Voices & Views: A History of the Holocaust”
edited by Debórah Dwork, published by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous
“Edited and introduced by Holocaust historian and scholar Debórah Dwork, this anthology presents the history of the Holocaust from the origins of antisemitism to the post-Holocaust world in ten chapters. Voices & Views includes works from noted Holocaust scholars and writers, including Yehuda Bauer, ebórah Dwork, Yisrael Gutman, Nechama Tec, Robert Jan van Pelt,” and others (description from www.jfr.org).
Educators are encouraged to use chapters of this resource that relate to Dawid Sierakowiak’s story and help students study various historians’ analyses of complex historical events that had a profound impact on the life of European Jews trapped under the Nazi regime. This excellent secondary source offers a rich choice of primary sources that can enhance a unit based on the “The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak,” including photographs, interviews, and memoir excerpts. To learn more about this and other resources offered by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous please visit www.jfr.org.
JFR Rescue Poster Set with a study guide
“The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous offers a set of classroom posters on the rescue of Jews by non-Jews during the Holocaust. The set conveys a crucial message: that the Righteous are not just heroes from the past, but also role models for the present. The posters underscore this idea by linking individual rescuers to character traits exemplified in their stories – traits that are well-known and within reach to young people” (description from www.jfr.org). The set has 8 posters featuring individual rescuers and traits of character we can all emulate. The study guide takes educators through different activities and addresses various questions and focus points helpful for teaching a unit on rescue efforts.
Students not only get to know examples of authentic rescue efforts during the Holocaust but also have an opportunity to explore character traits highlighted by the JFR team and analyze their own response to these particular examples. It’s important to teach about rescue in a broader context of Holocaust history, rather than in isolation, in order to help students understand that while rescue efforts were admirable, those who did try to save Jews were in the minority and most European Jews did not survive.
Dawid Sierakowiak’s story is a powerful starting point for meaningful discussions about the difficulties and risks associated with rescue efforts undertaken by various organizations or by individuals. Above all, Dawid’s diary provides an insight into the agonizing challenges faced by ghetto residents and the reasons why for most of them leaving the ghetto and trying to survive on the Aryan side was an option beyond their reach.
“Tell Them We Remember” by Susan D. Bachrach
This resource book created by a staff historian of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum uses a plethora of primary sources (artifacts, maps, photographs) to explain the history of the Holocaust and the way it impacted individual lives. The book includes factual information from I.D. cards used at the USHMM to teach about individual stories of those who survived and of those who perished during the Holocaust. Students can analyze particular historical events and immediately see examples of personal experiences through I.D. cards of specific individuals.
By learning historical facts and at the same time following individual stories of young people during the Holocaust, students get a better understanding of the impact the Holocaust had on real people: they read about prewar life shattered by the Nazi rule, the persecution endured by Jews and other victim groups, suffering of millions of individuals in ghettos, deportations to various types of camps and murder in the death camps, resistance and rescue operations, and finally liberation and post-WW II attempts to deliver justice. Susan Bachrach’s book teaches a complex and difficult history by giving a voice to youngsters whose lives were changed forever or taken away by the followers of Nazi ideology. It helps personalize and re-humanize history and enables students to see the effect historical events had on individual human beings.
“Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland Before the Holocaust” by Lucjan Dobroszycki and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
At The Florida Holocaust Museum we teach about the Holocaust through the power of individual stories of those who perished and of those who survived. One of the teaching tools we use in our core exhibit is a visual introduction to the world that is no more. We encourage visitors to get acquainted with images showing Jewish life before the Holocaust, with all its diversity. One of the resources that serve the same purpose in our teaching trunks is “Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland efore the Holocaust” by Lucjan Dobroszycki and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. This outstanding resource shows a broad spectrum of the life of Polish Jewry, once the largest Jewish community in Europe. It spans a seventy-five year period with the first photograph dating back to 1864 and the last one from September 1, 1939, the day World War II began. The book is filled not only with photographs of authentic people but with biographical and historical information providing a detailed context for the images.
By introducing students to this visual journey through the history of Jewish life in Europe, educators help them grasp the magnitude of destruction brought upon by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust.
Florida Holocaust Museum sends teaching trunks free of charge to schools throughout the United States. To reserve a trunk or for more information please visit us at www.flholocaustmuseum.org.
Middle School Trunk Recommendations
Prepared by Ursula Szczepinska
Director of Education and Research at The Florida Holocaust Museum
The Middle School Teaching Trunk focuses on the theme of investigating human behavior and the choices individuals and groups made during the Holocaust. The trunk helps examine how to apply the lessons of the Holocaust in today’s world.
The Middle School Trunk materials can help with meeting the following Florida Standards in Literacy in History/Social Studies:
LAFS.68.RH.1.1; LAFS.68.RH.1.2; LAFS.68.RH.1.3; LAFS.68.RH.2.4; LAFS.68.RH.2.5; LAFS.68.RH.2.6;
LAFS.68.RH.3.7; LAFS.68.RH.3.8; LAFS.68.RH.3.9; LAFS.68.RH.4.10; LAFS.68.WHST.1.1;
LAFS.68.WHST.1.2; LAFS.68.WHST.1.3; LAFS.68.WHST.2.4; LAFS.68.WHST.2.5; LAFS.68.WHST.2.6;
LAFS.WHST.68.3.7; LAFS.WHST.68.3.8; LAFS.WHST.68.3.9; LAFS.68.WHST.4.10
Samples of primary and secondary sources available in the middle school trunk that can be used for applying the Florida Standards:
“Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl”
Among the primary sources available in the middle school trunk, the most well-known is “Anne Frank:
The Diary of a Young Girl.” Anne Frank’s diary is often the first Holocaust-era diary students are exposed to.
It was written by a teenage girl whose family spent two years in hiding in Amsterdam, Holland. Anne’s diary provides detailed insights into the family’s situation in hiding and the repercussions of the Nazi persecution in her own life. As Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in the introduction to the American edition of the book: “Anne Frank’s account of the changes wrought upon eight people hiding out from the Nazis for two years during the occupation of Holland, living in constant fear and isolation, imprisoned not only by the terrible outward circumstances of war but inwardly by themselves, made me intimately and shockingly aware of war’s greatest evil – the degradation of the human spirit.”
In August 1944 the hiding place was betrayed to the Gestapo and Anne Frank’s family was arrested along with other individuals in the hideout. They were deported from a transit camp at Westerbork to Auschwitz where Anne’s mother died. Anne and her sister were sent to Bergen-Belsen where they both died of typhus shortly before liberation. Of the immediate Frank family only Anne’s father survived the Holocaust.
Prior to the discussion of Anne’s diary, educators can discuss with students different motivations for writing a diary during the Holocaust and a variety of background circumstances in which these diaries were created. Students get acquainted with the diary genre while educators have an opportunity to teach about different types of diaries written during the Holocaust.
Students learn new vocabulary pertaining to the Holocaust: e.g. ghetto, Nazi, Aryan, clandestine, false papers, deportation, labor camp, concentration camp, etc. The vocabulary is necessary for writing activities on any topic pertaining to the Holocaust, as well as for discussions concerning the subject matter. Students can examine the meaning of particular words and a change of meaning based on the historical context, e.g. the word “selection.” By studying the meaning of particular words and phrases in the context of an authentic diary students are able to see the connection between an individual’s experiences and historical events. The vocabulary stops being a list of abstract terms.
Students also explore the aspects of the text that show Anne’s point of view and personal opinions about historical events. Since Anne’s family was confined to a small space for a long time we get to know varied responses of several individuals to the same situation, which gives a unique multi-layered perspective.
Secondary sources supporting the study of “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl”
“Atlas of the Holocaust” by Martin Gilbert
In order to prepare students for the reading of Anne Frank’s diary as well as during the classes devoted to the study of this topic, teachers can use resources that provide visual information: e.g. “Atlas of the Holocaust” with 316 detailed maps carefully drawn and annotated by a world-renowned historian Martin Gilbert. In chronological order, the atlas covers the history of Nazi persecution of Jews from the time of pre-WWII Germany, through ghettoization, deportations to concentration and death camps, death marches, and liberation by the Allies. The maps also show examples of resistance, defiance, and escape routes. This comprehensive resource helps students investigate the Nazi expansion during World War II and see the scope and scale of the events. “The World Must Know” by Michael BerenbaumThis resource provides an excellent historical background pertaining to the Frank family’s situation. It helps educators and students explore questions like: “Why did the Franks and other Jews have to leave Germany?”; “What happened to the Jews who stayed?”; “What was the situation in Holland after it was invaded by Germany?”; “What were the rescue efforts in Europe and elsewhere?”; and many more. Berenbaum’s book discusses important facts about the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe but also of other victim groups, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Poles, homosexuals, the handicapped, or Sinti and Roma. It has over two hundred period photographs.
“Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary” by Ruud van der Rol and Rian Verhoeven
“Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary” is a photobiography with over 100 authentic photographs of the Frank family and locations pertaining to their story. The authors weave personal experiences of the individuals from the Secret Annex into the history of specific locations under Nazi occupation. This resource provides a combination of primary sources, e.g. diary excerpts, photographs, transport lists from Westerbork to Auschwitz, and a secondary source in the analysis conducted by the authors. While exploring primary sources from the era, students can examine the circumstances that affected the Frank family. They can analyze Anne’s own words in her diary excerpts along with authentic photographs and compare it with the analysis provided by the book’s authors.JFR Rescue Poster Set with a study guide
“The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous offers a set of classroom posters on the rescue of Jews by non-Jews during the Holocaust. The set conveys a crucial message: that the Righteous are not just heroes from the past, but also role models for the present. The posters underscore this idea by linking individual rescuers to character traits exemplified in their stories – traits that are well-known and within reach to young people” (www.jfr.org). The set has 8 posters featuring individual rescuers and a study guide with different activities and focus points that help with teaching a unit on rescue efforts. Students not only familiarize themselves with examples of rescue attempts during the Holocaust but also have an opportunity to explore character traits of individual rescuers and analyze their own responses to these particular examples.
Through its valuable lessons about rescue the JFR raises awareness about the complexity of this subject matter and helps educators avoid oversimplifications and romanticizing of history. It places the theme of rescue within a balanced historical perspective encompassing numerous factors that contributed to the fact that only a small percentage of non-Jews undertook efforts to help Jews.
In the context of rescue during the Holocaust, Anne Frank’s story shows humanity at its best and at its worst: Anne and her relatives survived two years in hiding thanks to brave decisions of a handful of people – Otto Frank’s friends and colleagues – who were ready to risk their own safety in order to help those in need. But they were also betrayed by a decision of an anonymous human being. Studying Anne Frank’s diary from the perspective of these choices helps lead discussions about moral and ethical choices individuals made during the Holocaust and the significance of ethical choices we make in today’s world.
“The Power of Good: Nicholas Winton”
“The Power of Good” is an award-winning documentary featuring an individual rescuer, Sir Nicholas Winton, and his courageous rescue operation to evacuate mostly Jewish children from areas affected by the Nazi regime. He had managed to save 669 children when his rescue operation was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Sir Winton’s story is a great example of how one person can make a difference and that we all have a potential to become upstanders, rather than bystanders. Students can investigate Sir Winton’s efforts and follow the individual lives of some of the children he had rescued. They can analyze the historical circumstances with the help of the secondary sources listed above (“Atlas of the Holocaust” by Martin Gilbert, “The World Must Know” by Michael Berenbaum).
Florida Holocaust Museum sends teaching trunks free of charge to schools throughout the United States.
To reserve a trunk or for more information please visit us at www.flholocaustmuseum.org.