Inside the Warsaw Ghetto
Grade Level: 6 through 8
- to describe the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
- to identify Jewish fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
- to describe other forms of resistance during the Holocaust
- to evaluate the significance of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Sunshine State Standards:
View all Sunshine State Standards
- Grades 6-8
- SS.A.1.3.2, 1.3.3, 2.3.4, 2.3.6, 2.3.8, 3.3.2, 3.3.3
- Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto, by Emmanuel Ringelblum
- Round Table worksheet packet
Background: On April 19, 1943, the Warsaw ghetto, the largest ghetto in Europe, was to be liquidated. All inhabitants would be taken to extermination camps to be murdered. Among the residents were women, children and men--all weak, starving and exhausted from the extreme conditions they were already enduring in the ghetto. Knowing what was to come, the remaining people in the ghetto organized a group of fighters. Although these fighters realized their small army and home-made ammunition could not fight the Nazis, they chose to die fighting rather than go willingly to their deaths.
Procedure: Begin this lesson by discussing the Warsaw ghetto. As a class, discuss how the Germans established the ghetto for Jews and segregated them from the rest of Polish society. Discuss the harsh living conditions of the ghetto. You may wish to read excerpts from Emmanuel Ringelblum's Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto. How was Ringelblum resisting the Nazis? Read the letter written by Mordechai Anilewitz, leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. You may also read excerpts from The Man from the Other Side. Children of the Warsaw ghetto often risked their lives to smuggle food, and sometimes even ammunition, into the ghetto. Many were caught by the Nazis and shot immediately.
Prior to the activity, create a Round Table worksheet packet. This packet will contain questions with room for five students to respond to each question. Students will pass each question sheet around the table and respond to each question.
Questions for Round Table Worksheet:
- Why were Jews forced to live in the ghetto?
- In your own words, describe the conditions of the Warsaw ghetto. What noises might you hear in the ghetto? What would you see? What would you smell?
- Write your own definition for "resistance."
- How did Emmanuel Ringelblum resist?
- List some other forms of resistance.
- Name something you are willing to fight for.
- In your opinion, did the Jewish fighters win or lose?
- Do you think the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is important to your generation? Why or why not?
Place each question on a separate sheet and number the responses 1-5. Have groups of five sit in a circle. Assign each student a response number to correspond with the responses on the sheet. On the worksheet, have students identify their name and corresponding number at the top of the first page.
Students are to begin with the first question. The first person may read the question to the group, write a response, then pass the paper around. Discussions about the questions are to be saved until the paper has gone around the circle. For each question, have students read and discuss their responses.
Allow students to work through all the questions and discuss their answers. Then, as a class, have groups share an overall statement on each response.
Assessment: Evaluate students based on group participation and student-generated responses.
- Emmanuel Ringelblum, Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto. New York: Schocken Books, 1974.
- Uri Orlev, The Man from the Other Side. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1991.
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 1997-2013.