Lesson Plan

An Introduction to Antisemitism

Students will go through a worksheet providing an overview of anti-Judaism and antisemitism. This lesson will provide students with the historical roots of antisemitism and introduce students to its use in Nazi Germany.

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Enduring Understanding

Antisemitism was not created by the Nazis, in fact, it has been around for centuries. Many of the stereotypes and prejudices that flourished in Nazi Germany had been accepted long before Hitler and the Nazi party would come to power.

Essential Questions

  • 1How does learning the history of antisemitism help us when learning the Holocaust?
  • 2What are the bases for anti-Judaism in history? How did they stay relevant in the 20th century and today?


5 Min

Begin by asking students what they know about antisemitism. What is it?

You may want to provide the official definition as well.
Antisemitism: refers to prejudice and/or discrimination against Jews as individuals and as a group. Antisemitism is based on stereotypes and myths that target Jews as a people, their religious practices and beliefs, and the Jewish state of Israel. (Definition provided by the Anti-Defamation League)


20 Min

Provide each student with the document, Overview of Anti-Judaism and Antisemitism by Facing History and Ourselves.

Give students approximately 15-20 minutes to go through the page and answer the questions.


15 Min

Go through the readings as a class. Tell students to raise their hand or say something when you get to a point they circled or put a question mark next to. Clear up these points as you go. After each reading, pause to go over the question below.

Lastly, ask students the questions below in an open discussion as time permits.

  1. Why is it important to learn the history of antisemitism when learning about the Holocaust?
  2. How does learning the history of prejudice and violence encourage people to be cautious of stereotypes and rumors?
Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

Before you teach, use our teacher primer to freshen up on your content knowledge.