Race and Citizenship in Jim Crow US and Nazi Germany in the 1930s

Time Needed:
Flexible. The unit provides thirteen 40-minute lessons. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi faucibus suscipit neque sed faucibus.

Grade Level:
9-12, with adaptations for 7 and 8.

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Overview

This unit explores how race laws in Nazi Germany and Jim Crow United States made German Jews and Black Americans into second-class citizens. It uses Fortunoff Video Archive testimonies given by three witnesses: Leon Bass, an African American soldier who arrived in Buchenwald with a segregated US Army unit in April 1945; Martin Schiller, a Jewish survivor who was a child prisoner in Buchenwald in 1945; and John W., a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, who was a teenager when the Nazis implemented the Nuremberg race laws in the 1930s. The pedagogy emphasizes student-centered historical inquiry: in every lesson, students are actively engaged in close listening, close reading, and raising questions about history and historical sources. Lessons use research-based strategies to develop historical thinking skills. Students are encouraged to source all documents via links to federal, state, and international archives. The content is testimony-centered: textual sources, historical scholarship, and contextual knowledge are introduced in relation to the testimonies, lives, and experiences of the three witnesses. The unit’s central question: How do testimonies support comparisons between Jim Crow United States and Nazi Germany? What are the limits of such comparisons?

Part 1: Introduction

These lessons invite students to create a guide for listening to video testimonies and thinking about history.

Lesson 1: Listening to Holocaust Testimonies

Lesson 2: Historical Inquiry and Comparisons

Part 2: Nazi Germany

These lessons invite students to create a guide for listening to video testimonies and thinking about history.

Lesson 1: Listening to Holocaust Testimonies

Lesson 2: Historical Inquiry and Comparisons

For Teachers Who Wish to Work Through the Full Unit: Culminating Activities

These lessons invite students to create a guide for listening to video testimonies and thinking about history.

Lesson 1: Listening to Holocaust Testimonies

Lesson 2: Historical Inquiry and Comparisons

Common Core and Other State Standards

Evaluating sources and using evidence

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Evaluating sources and using evidence

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CT Frameworks & Dimensions of inquiry

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi faucibus suscipit neque sed faucibus. Duis tincidunt ligula sit amet condimentum cursus. Pellentesque a lacus sit amet orci vulputate fringilla. Morbi eu mattis purus, id pharetra risus. Aliquam arcu enim, volutpat sed erat et, varius accumsan nisl. Vivamus non odio id lorem fermentum cursus. Pellentesque sit amet erat orci. Sed pellentesque ut dui vel semper.