Lesson Plan

Auschwitz Through Art

Explore art created by victims of Auschwitz and the reasons and risks people took in order to create them.

View All Lessons

Enduring Understanding

Art created by survivors from Auschwitz paint a picture of what life was like in the notorious death camp.

Essential Question

  • 1What makes art a significant resource for telling history?


5 Min

Explain to your students that art can be a powerful way to learn about people and places. In Auschwitz, access to materials was incredibly limited. However, some artists were commissioned to produce art or signs for the Nazis, thus providing them access. Using these materials for personal use was a punishable offense. Some of the art they will see was created while people were in Auschwitz while others were drawn after liberation.


25 Min

Pull up the resource, Teaching about Auschwitz through Art, by Yad Vashem. As a class, read through the sections: Art as Evidence (1), Portraits (2) and Art as a Means of Conveying (4). While you go through each section, expand the accompanying art and ask students to share what they see and how it makes them feel.


15 Min

In partners, ask students to discuss their answers to the questions below. Provide 10 minutes for this discussion and then ask for people to share.

  1. What are the different reasons why people created art about their experiences?
  2. How do these pieces help tell the story of the Holocaust?
  3. What does it say about the importance of art that people risked their lives to create it in the camp?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

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

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

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