Lesson Plan

No Man’s Land

Students will learn about the pre-genocide expulsion of Jews that took place in 1938. This lesson will open a discussion about refugees, statelessness, and international complicity.

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The Holocaust

Enduring Understanding

Geopolitical crises are often created by powerful countries, not by powerless people.

Essential Question

  • 1What happens when the international community does not support refugees?


5 Min

Ask students how they define the term citizenship.
Then, ask them how they would define the term refugee. What is the difference between someone who is a citizen, and someone who is a refugee? Is the distinction meaningful in terms of their status as a human being? If not, why are they treated so differently?


10 Min

Read through the resource, The Expulsion of Polish Jews From Germany by holocaust.cz as a class. Ask students to write down any questions they have about the text.


30 Min

Divide the class into groups of three and provide them with the following instructions:

  1. Go through all members’ questions about the text and help one another understand the document.
  2. Address the discussion questions below. Have group members take notes on their responses.
  3. Lastly, come up with an additional question that comes out of your reflections. This question should attempt to generate conversation between you and your classmates.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What was the significance of what Herschel did?
  2. Germany first tried to expel the Jews from Germany. A devastating amount of countries closed their borders to Jewish refugees, forcing them to fall victim to Nazi Germany’s next move: The Final Solution. Do you think the Holocaust could have been avoided if countries opened their borders to allow for Jewish refuge?
  3. Should nations have an obligation to take in refugees fleeing violence?
  4. What message did closing their borders send to the Jews?
  5. Does the refugee crisis the Jews faced make you think of connections that resonate in today’s world?

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.