Lesson Plan

Name Reading

Students will be introduced to the act of name reading as a form of commemoration. They will be taught the importance of shining light on individual victims to preserve their memory.

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Enduring Understanding

Name reading is a simple, yet powerful way of commemorating those who lost their lives during the Holocaust. Even reciting a few names can have a profound effect.

Essential Question

  • 1Why is name reading used in a commemoration ceremony?


10 Min

One at a time, have students read three names from this list from Yad Vashem. As they go through, have them read out the person’s family name, first name, as well as where they were killed.


15 Min

Watch this video on Remembrance by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).

  1. What is commemoration? Why is it important?
  2. Why is name reading used in commemoration?
  3. How long would it take a single person to read the first and last names of 6 million victims? Can you guess?

The answer: It would take a single person over 1,538 hours, or 64 days straight.

When else are name readings used? Do they serve the same purpose?


20 Min

Writing activity: Have students write a letter to a Holocaust survivor. Share the resource, Meet Holocaust Survivors by the USHMM and provide them with the instructions below:

  1. Look through the list of survivors and choose one you would like to write to.
  2. Read through their bio to learn more about their story.
  3. Write a letter for this person. Themes you can consider as you write: bravery, strength, and how their memory will not be forgotten.

Ask the class, how does reading a survivor’s story commemorate their memory and the memories of those that lost their lives?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

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

Teacher Primer

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