Lesson Plan

The Effect of Deportation

Hear the testimony of a man forced out of his home country during the Nazi’s program of mass deportations. This lesson will also introduce students to an ongoing debate about whether or not genocide was always Hitler’s intention, or the result of a failure to expel the Jews from Europe.

View All Lessons
The Holocaust

Enduring Understanding

Before killing centers and concentration camps Nazi Germany tried expelling the Jews to remove them from Germany.

Essential Question

  • 1Was genocide always going to be the Final Solution to the Jewish Question?


10 Min

Write down the word, “Deportation” on the board. Ask students what comes to mind when they think of it.
You might expect students to say things such as: separation, returning to their home country, people being sent away unwillingly.
Re-introduce the term scapegoat, noting that deportations are often the result of scapegoating.
→ scapegoat: a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency.

Ask students if they have ever thought about why someone might get deported and what this might do to them and their family.


30 Min
Teacher's Note
It might be useful to address the Nuremberg Laws in this lesson if you haven't done so already.

Show the class Part 1 (the first 3:34 minutes) of the Yad Vashem video, The Development of the ‘Final Solution’.
Then, ask the class whether they lean toward the perspective of the Intentionalists or the Functionalists and why.

Then, watch Bert Flemming’s testimony from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The testimony is quite long, the part that will be used in this lesson is starting at 5:45 and ending at 9:33. Before playing the testimony, read through the overview featured at the top of the page to introduce Bert Flemming and provide some background information.

It may be beneficial for students to read the testimony as the video goes along. The transcript for this video can be found here and the portion of video you will watch begins on page 2 right after 1:06:01.

After you watch the video, take a few minutes to ask the students what they thought of Bert Flemming’s testimony. Allow the students to ask some questions, to provide comments about what they heard. If you are having some trouble getting the conversation started, try asking the following questions:

  1. What do you think was going through Bert Flemming’s mind when he saw the men with bayonets on both sides?
  2. Did it seem like either side, Germany or Poland, had a plan as for what to do with the Jews?
  3. How did Bert Flemming help organize once they arrived in Zbasyn?


10 Min

Finally, return to the question of the scapegoat.
Ask students why they thought Nazi Germany was trying to push the Jews into Poland. Then, dig a little deeper: what is the end game for the Nazis? Would mass expulsion ever really work to meet the interests of the Nazi party?

Finally, prompt them to consider in writing the following question:
Does scapegoating naturally lead to the worst possible outcomes for the targeted group in a given situation?

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

Before you teach, use our teacher primer to freshen up on your content knowledge.