Lesson Plan

Kristallnacht: The November 1938 Pogroms

This lesson will help students understand the events of Kristallnacht and the different views and perspectives of those who witnessed it. This lesson will allow them to gain a deeper understanding of the varying human reactions to this violent pogrom against the Jews.

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Nazi Germany

Enduring Understanding

Those who witness injustice, without participation in the action, have the ability and the power to shape the consequences of those injustices through their response.

Essential Questions

  • 1What do the responses to Kristallnacht tell us about how people react to violence and terror?
  • 2What role do people play in preventing these violent acts against others and what role do they play in encouraging or participating in these acts?


5 Min

Ask students, “What happened on November 10, 1938?”


10 Min

Show students the video, Kristallnacht: The November 1938 Pogroms by Facing History and Ourselves.


35 Min
Teacher's Note
You may need to create a free account with Facing History and Ourselves in order to access some of the resources. It could be beneficial to print out the resources to give to the groups prior to starting the lesson.

Divide the class into groups of three to five and assign a reading to each group.

Group 1: The Night of the Pogrom
Group 2: Opportunism during Kristallnacht
Group 3: A Family Responds to Kristallnacht
Group 4: Thoroughly Reprehensible Behavior
Group 5: A Visitor’s Perspective on Kristallnacht
Group 6: World Responses to Kristallnacht

Ask students to complete these steps after they read their group assigned reading as outlined in the Facing History lesson:

  1. Who was the author of this reading? Who was the audience (if it is stated)? What kind of document is this?When was it created or written?
  2. Based on the background information you gather, what was the document’s significance or purpose? What new information does the document contribute to your understanding of this historical moment?
  3. Discuss one of the “Connection Questions” found at the bottom of your resource with your group.

Once completed, pose the question again, “What happened on November 10th, 1938?” What can they now add to this question? Where did they get this information?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

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

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