Bystanders in the Holocaust

Subject: Social Studies

Grade Levels: 9 through 12


  1. to recognize the effects of apathy and indifference
  2. to examine behaviors associated with obedience, conformity, and silence
  3. to explore legal responses to issues raised by the Holocaust
Sunshine State Standards: View all Sunshine State Standards


  1. USHMM Teaching About the Holocaust Poster Set and Teacher Guide

  1. Students should examine the efforts of Roosevelt and Churchill to save the Jewish people in Europe during World War II.
  2. Students represent different countries that attended the Evian Conference. They should write and deliver a speech to persuade other countries to change their immigration laws or quota. After the speeches have been given, discuss with the class factors that should be considered in our country’s immigration policy today.
  3. Use a political cartoon (Green Light Go, New York Times) about the Evian Conference. Have students create an editorial cartoon to reflect their reaction to the fate of the Saint Louis and its passengers.
  4. Define the term "bystander."
  5. Explain the purpose of the Evian Conference. Discuss events and results.
  6. Discuss decisions made at Evian and Wannsee. Why did the Nazis engage in mass murder? What events made such a project possible? How did the idea of using gas originate?
  7. Research and describe the Voyage of the St. Louis. Use the USHMM guide, as well as the June 6, 1999 and June 8, 1999 St. Petersburg Times Floridian section. Voyage of the Damned is also a strong reference source that has survivor testimony woven into the historical events. Why didn’t the United States allow the boat to enter? What role did the United States Coast Guard play?
  8. Evaluate the response or lack of response on the part of individuals and the world community to the plight of the Jews.
  9. Explain the viewpoints of various bystanders and victims.
  10. Use the Internet as a resource tool.
  11. Use primary source documents to investigate these historical events.
  12. Research how individual and international efforts safeguard human rights. How does the world respond to human rights violations? How should the world respond to human rights violations?

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida ©2000.

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