Lesson Plan

A Priest in Dachau

Analyze primary source documents for Rev. Stanley Dabrowski. Use secondary sources to contextualize the history in the larger picture of the Holocatust.

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Enduring Understanding

German forced wanted to eliminate any opposition to the Third Reich, often imprisoning political and religious leaders they feared would speak out against them.

Essential Question

  • 1How did religious opposition threaten the Third Reich?


5 Min

Begin by providing your students with background information on concentration camps. Concentration camps were created for a variety of reasons, including forced labor, detention of individuals viewed as enemies of the state, and eventually, mass murder.


15 Min

Pull up the resource, Polish Victims, by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. As a class, read the first two paragraphs of this article, ending where it begins to talk about “Germanizing Poland.”

Open into a brief class discussion with the following critical thinking question:

Why did German forces eliminate or arrest not just leaders of political groups, but of religious organizations as well?


30 Min

Explain to your students that they will be examining documents from a Polish victim of Nazi persecution, Rev. Stanley Dabrowski.

In groups of 2-3, have students look through and analyze the primary documents from series 1 and 2 of the Rev. Stanley Dabrowski papers from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In groups, provide students with the following instructions below. Provide 10-15 minutes for this activity.

  1. Look through the documents from series 1 and series 2.
  2. What can you gather from these documents about Rev. Stanley Dabrowski’s life?
  3. What was happening around this time in the greater context of the Holocaust leading up to Stanley’s arrest?

Once students have had an opportunity to research for themselves, provide this overview of Rev. Stanley Dabrowski’s life, compiled from research by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

How does Rev. Dabrowski’s story contribute to your overall understanding of the Holocaust?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Teacher Primer

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