Lesson Plan

Hitler Youth and Kristallnacht

This lesson centers on interviews of Alfons Heck who became a high-ranking member of the Hitler Youth. This lesson will allow students the opportunity to hear his recollection of Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass.”

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Nazi Germany

Enduring Understanding

The desire for people to belong, coupled with unrelenting propaganda, aided by the belief that the Jews were inferior beings, led to actions being taken by some Germans to harm their former friends and neighbors.

Essential Question

  • 1How did so many citizens come to believe that the Jews, those who had been close friends and neighbors of so many, were enemies of the state?


5 Min

Ask students what they might already know about Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass.”


15 Min

Provide a brief overview of Kristallnacht with the students. Use the resource, Kristallnacht by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Holocaust Encyclopedia article as a resource for this. You do not need to go over the entire article, merely use it as a reference to provide some background information.


40 Min

Divide the class into groups and ask them to watch the video Confessions of a Hitler Youth.
Ask them to answer these questions:

  1. Why do you think Alfons Heck believed so strongly in Hitler and the Nazi’s message? Why do you think he continued to believe in this message even after witnessing Kristallnacht?
  2. Do you think it would have been possible to prevent the events of Kristallnacht?
  3. Based on what Alfons Heck tells us about what he witnessed, why do you think he said, “From now on, not one of us could ever maintain that we did not know what was in store for the Jews”?
  4.  What was meant by the comment, “Children are like empty vessels”? What is the danger in this?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

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

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