Lesson Plan

Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto

Students will learn about the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the largest Jewish uprising in German-occupied Europe. This lesson will lead students into a discussion about resistance during the Holocaust and the many ways people resist today.

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Enduring Understanding

Despite the amount of energy it took to live day-to-day in the ghetto, some inhabitants formed organized resistance.

Essential Question

  • 1What motivates groups or individuals to join a resistance movement?


5 Min

Begin by telling students that between 1941 and 1943 underground resistance movements began popping up in over 100 ghettos in Nazi-occupied countries. Triggered by the deportations and liquidation of the ghettos, many of these resistance groups staged uprisings in order to fight the Nazis or escape.

Ask students if they can list any ghetto uprisings that they have heard of before. Then explain that you will be taking a closer look at the uprising from the Warsaw ghetto.


30 Min

Direct students to the resource, Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Play the animated map video for the class before diving into the reading. Divide the class into groups of three or four and provide them with the instructions below.

  1. Go through the reading with your group. You may switch off reading sections, designate one person to read through, or all read over it silently.
  2. As a group, take notes using the 3Ps method, writing down something you find a) Profound b) Puzzling and c) Propelling.
  3. Go over the list of critical thinking questions and write down your answers.
    1. What pressures and motivations influenced some of the ghetto residents to join the resistance and fight back?
    2. What factors and conditions might delay a persecuted group from resisting?
    3. What risks might a group or individual face when resisting the actions of government or society?

In order to familiarize yourself, and your class with this model, please look over this guide: 3Ps: A Critical Reading Guide.


15 Min

Come back together as a class and ask the groups to share what they had written down. Begin by asking groups to share what they found puzzling about the reading, is there anything that still needs to be cleared up?

Ask students to think of  forms of resistance they have participated in or have seen or heard others do. Can they come up with any examples or instances where people took part in resisting, either violently or non-violently?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

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

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

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