Holocaust Discussion Questions for High School

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

Teaching the Holocaust is not easy. Discussing it can seem overwhelming. These questions are designed to serve as a guide for you and your students as you explore this important topic.

The Importance of Perspective

This discussion guide is divided into four sections. Sections one and two are designed to ensure that students have a working knowledge of the events and key people in the Holocaust. Questions ask students to analyze and explain, as well as connect the information to today's society. However, an overarching concept of events is not enough when teaching a topic of such enormous emotional and societal impact. Therefore, sections three and four ask students to step into the shoes of various people involved in the Holocaust. In so doing, students gain a perspective that goes much deeper than surface knowledge.

These questions are tough, and they require that students take a hard look at devastating events. Be sure to provide support and guidance along the way. Break up the heavy discussion with stories of courage, survival, compassion, or resistance.

Section One: Key Terms

Discuss the following terms and explain how they connect to the Holocaust.

  • Genocide
  • Nazi
  • Gestapo
  • Final Solution
  • Nuremburg Trials

Section Two: From Propaganda to Final Solution

Propaganda

Propaganda can be printed or audiovisual material used to convince people to agree with a certain idea. One of Hitler's early actions was using propaganda to disparage groups of people through an exaggerated, negative portrayal.

  • What reasons could Adolf Hitler have had for starting with propaganda?
  • How did the propaganda impact interactions among different groups of people?
  • What methods could people have used to combat propaganda's impact?
  • Are there any uses of propaganda in today's world? If so, how do they impact our society?

Anti-Semitism

Hitler's anti-Semitic ideology was implemented through laws and regulations that unfairly targeted people of Jewish descent.

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