Lesson Plan

No Time to Think

Milton Mayer, an American journalist and educator, interviewed people to find out how they reacted to Hitler’s policies. Students will read a testimony from a German professor on his being a bystander during the Nazi era.

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Enduring Understanding

Bystanders during the Holocaust came in all forms. Many felt it uncomfortable to stray from their everyday thinking, despite the obvious unjustness that was taking place around them.

Essential Question

  • 1All this time later, how do you think the bystanders of the Holocaust feel when they look back at their inaction?


10 Min

Distribute the Range of Human Behavior Vocabulary Terms worksheet by Facing History and Ourselves. Go over the actual meaning for each of the terms with the class. Tell students to keep these worksheets as they could be useful in later lessons/discussions about perpetrators, victims, and upstanders.

Perpetrator: a person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act.
Victim: a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.
Bystander: a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part.
Upstander: a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied.


15 Min
Teacher's Note
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Direct students to the resource, No Time to Think by Facing History and Ourselves. There is an audio version of the testimony that you can play if you would like to have your students listen as they follow the written testimony. Alternatively, you can just read it without listening to the audio.

Before breaking students off in groups to complete the Output section, click on the identity chart link from the second question at the bottom of the page and show the students what it is supposed to look like.


25 Min

In groups of three to five, have students go over the Connection Questions found at the bottom of the page. If time permits, open up into a group discussion going over some (or all) of the questions. Have groups share their identity chart.

Teacher Primer

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