Twenty and Ten

Grade Levels: Fourth Grade

Goal: to introduce students to the moral choices faced by Gentiles during the Holocaust and the role of the rescuer.

Sunshine State Standards:

View all Sunshine State Standards

Day One



  1. Have the children discuss what they might do if they had a close friend who knocked on their door asking for help. What if this friend is fleeing from the police? Would this change their response?

  2. Explain that this story is about helping not friends, but strangers. Read aloud p.11- middle of p.12.

  3. Have students read Chapter One, p.12- middle of p.18. Elicit:

    1. What do you know about the narrator, Janet? (11 years old, in 5th grade when story takes place.)

    2. Where is the story set? (In occupied France during WWII.)

    3. How do world events upset the lives of the children? (They live in boarding school far from home to avoid the war's fighting.)

    4. How do the children feel about Sister Gabriel? (She's a young, lively nun in the Catholic Church whom they adore.)

  4. Explain the story "The Flight into Egypt." The children combine two stories, one from the Jewish Bible and the other from the Christian Scripture. The first story is about Jews fleeing to Egypt to escape persecution; the other involves "The Holy Family," Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They thought they were rich because of the gifts given at Jesus' birth, but, in fact, were poor.

  5. Tell students that the term D.P. means displaced person. It refers to people displaced from their homes and lives. Jews are DP's during WWII because they are being persecuted and chased from their homes by the Nazi Germans because of their birth. They are forced to leave their homes and flee certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Some go into hiding, others try to escape. In order to do both of these, Jews need help from non-Jews.

  6. On p. 18 point out that the text mentions Ration Cards. Explain what they are and ask how children in a convent school know about them. (They live in a world in which all adults are required to carry identity cards and present a ration card to obtain food.)

  7. Read aloud p. 18-21. Ask what is unique about the visitors to the school and why help is requested. (They are Jewish children, who like the family of Jesus mentioned in the text, are fleeing from their oppressors, the Nazis. The children are asked to help 10 Jewish orphan children.)

  8. What do the children learn about their role? (They mustn't let anyone know Jewish children are being hidden in the school even if they are questioned by the Nazis and/or subjected to Nazi terror.)

  9. What will happen to Sister Gabriel if the Nazis discover that she is hiding Jewish children? (She will be shot.)

  10. Where have the Jewish children been for the past twelve hours? (They had walked in the woods all night and were waiting in the forest for a sign they might come in.)

Day Two



  1. What do you do when you come into a room where you know no one? (You introduce yourself and try to make friends.) How do others treat you? Imagine you were one of the Jewish children. How might you feel coming into a Catholic school where you know no one and your life depends on Christian children not giving you away? Discuss student feelings. Read p.23-30.

  2. What does Sister Gabriel do to help the children become acquainted? (She has the Jewish children mingle so that only one or two sit at a lunch table.) Have the students refer to the drawing on p.24.

  3. What does Philip say that sets the stage for the behavior of the Catholic children? (He says that the Jewish children look just like us.) Tell the class that at the time many people believe that Jews had horns or big noses or tails, or other characteristics associated with the devil which seem to indicate that they are evil. Point out that one thing Nazis try to do is to separate Jews from the rest of mankind. Philip says the Nazis are crazy for concluding that Jews are different.

  4. What is the meaning of the slogan, "We all eat, or nobody eats"? (In dealing with the children's complaints about the skimpiness of their soup portion, Sister Gabriel explains that the Jewish children don't have ration cards and she can't apply for them because it would alert the Nazis to the children's whereabouts. She tells them that they will be sharing rations so that the Jewish children don't die from starvation.)

  5. What action does Henry take that lets some of the Catholic children know he's a caring person; however, how do Janet and Denise react? (He gives part of his soup to one of the Jewish boys, Arthur; Denise and Janet accuse him of showing off.)

  6. What might happen in the next chapter based on the ending of chapter 2? (Some person is on the grounds, possibly a Nazi.) How does this end to the chapter make you feel? (Scared, on the edge.)

  7. Read p.31-38. What discovery do the children make during the chase for the chocolate? (An underground cave; Denise was the one whose footsteps they heard.) Have students speculate why the cave might be important in the remaining story. (A hiding place for the Jewish children.)

  8. How does Henry continue to show his warmth to Arthur, the Jewish boy to whom he had given his soup? (Arthur gives Henry his chocolate.)

  9. What happens that may convince Denise that Jewish children are no different than her? (She listens to Arthur and leans on him and Henry when she hurts her foot. She places her trust in Henry when she is afraid to put weight on her foot.)

Day Three



  1. Read p.39-43. Show a map of France where the story takes place. How are the children getting along? (They are all friends.) How do they amuse themselves while Sister Gabriel goes into the village for the mail? (They have a picnic of bread and apples.) Why is this such a treat? (They are now getting less to eat because they are sharing their food with the Jewish children.)

  2. After eating, how do the children spend the time? (They play The Flight into Egypt.) How does Janet react to the change in parts? (She gives hers up, but resents being pushed to do this.)

  3. Read p.44-61. Their playing is interrupted by the arrival of Nazi soldiers. How do the children know this? (They spot two green spots with helmets.) See the picture on p.45; what does this illustrate? (The children seeing the approaching soldiers.) If the teacher chooses, he/she might show pictures of uniforms from previous eras and/or discuss the changes in technology over the past centuries. The teacher should also show an SS uniform and discuss the role of these soldiers as those who were responsible for carrying out the destruction of European Jewry. This group originally organized as Hitler's personal bodyguard wore an SS insignia of two lightning bolts. The soldiers spotted by the children are members of the regular German army known as the Wehrmacht.

  4. The Jewish children led by Arthur go into the cave to hide. Ask why that is necessary? (They are fearful that they would be taken to the police station and ultimately sent to what were known as concentration camps. These were places established to imprison all "enemies" of the Nazis. Ultimately, they would all be murdered.) Why are the instructions given by Henry important to the Jewish children? (By not speaking a word, the children can't give away any information about the Jewish children's hiding place.)

  5. After they search the house and find nothing, the Nazi soldiers try to make the children talk. What words or phrases do the children find frightening? ("You nasty brats, I know how to make you talk" and "Your teacher has been caught. She is in prison. So you see, you had better talk.") Why do these statements frighten the children? (They think that they may be hurt physically and made to talk, and they are afraid for Sister Gabriel. Also if she has been caught, they might be treated better if they admit knowledge of the Jewish children.)

  6. P.51 shows a soldier taking Henry away; elicit how students believe they might have felt if they had been grabbed and taken away. (Scared, didn't know what would happen, afraid might talk and give away the Jewish children.) What message does Henry's silence convey to the others? (Hold on, hope the German isn't telling the truth and Sister Gabriel will soon return, remain silent.)

  7. Later, when the soldiers send the children to bed without supper, what does Henry, sneaking in from where he had been confined, tell Janet had happened to him? (He had been put in the coal shed; nothing bad happened to him.) What does he tell her has to be done? (Get food and blankets to the Jewish children in the cave and tell them not to come out.) What might have happened to Janet and Philip had they been caught? (They might have been beaten until they spoke, even though they were warned "Don't betray.")

  8. Ask students if any of them have ever planned and carried out a scheme under someone else's eyes; discuss the situations presented. Describe the success of the secret visit to the cave. (They bring food which the children are smart enough to break into small portions so they have bread for the next day; they also tell those hiding about the danger of Nazi soldiers, and to remain in hiding until told it is safe to come out.) Why isn't the trip to the cave uneventful for Janet, and how does she get herself out of what could be a dangerous situation for all the children? Is this an intelligent lie? (When caught by the soldiers, she gestures that she is on her way to the bathroom; since the bathrooms in rural France are outside. They are known as outhouses; this is a believable response.) When they try to question her, how does she react? Is this a good idea? Why? Why not? (She begins yelling and they let her go to stop the noise.)

Day Four



  1. Read p. 63-76. Discuss the manner in which the soldiers try to trick the Christian children. (They pretend to leave but watch them from the woods.) Are the children tricked? Why? Why not? (Henry explains that this is a trick to see if the children lead the soldiers to the Jews.)

  2. How does Louis' answer to the question, "Where are the Jews?" anger the soldiers? (They become angry when he points to George, who had played Joseph, and Janet, who had played Mary earlier in the story.)

  3. How does Sister Gabriel show courage when she is questioned by the Nazis? (Told, while in jail, that Jewish children have been found, she is being taken back by truck to witness the arrest of the Jewish children.) Why do the Nazis tell her these lies? (To trick her into reacting and confirming that the Jewish children are there.)

  4. After the Nazis leave, what types of security actions are taken for the remainder of the Nazi occupation of France? (Jewish children sleep in the cave at night; they post a lookout in case the Nazi soldiers return, they are aware that they are in constant danger.)

  5. How successful are the children at rescuing the Jewish children? (When the American army comes to free France from the Nazis, all the Jewish children are safe having been hidden in the cave and in good health since the Christian children have shared their food with them.)

  6. What do the children in the story learn? What have you learned form this story? (They realize there is no difference between children of different religions; people are people. By living with individuals, they learn that stereotyping a group is dangerous and untrue.)

  7. Tell the class about the Avenue of the Righteous at Yad Vashem where trees are planted in honor of Gentiles who saved Jewish lives. Ask them to discuss whether the children and Sister Gabriel would qualify for a tree?

  8. The teacher should consider inviting a hidden child to speak about his/her experiences. In addition, the class should view the video, Miracle at Moreaux made from this book. They should compare the book with the film and relate both to the experiences of the hidden child.

  9. As a follow-up to this unit, the teacher should have the children write a diary of this experience through the eyes of one of the Jewish children.

  10. Another follow-up is to have children assume the parts of the characters in the book and recreate the book as a play.

  11. Plant a tree in honor of the rescuers. During the year, add others who should be in the company of the rescuers of Jews.

  12. Locate another book in which some one helps another person.

Submitted by:

Dr. Ellen Heckler, Director, Holocaust Outreach Center, Florida Atlantic University (FAU)

Editor: Alan L. Berger, Raddock Eminent Scholar Chair of Holocaust and Judaic Studies, (FAU)

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 1997-2013.

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