Lesson Plan

The Heroines

Explore the stories from women rescuers during the Holocaust. Students will have the opportunity to learn the stories of courageous female upstanders and what they risked in order to save the lives of Jews.

This lesson is generously sponsored by Godfrey & Kahn.

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Enduring Understanding

During the Holocaust we can see numerous accounts of people going out of their way to rescue Jews from being harmed or deported.

Essential Question

  • 1What role do upstanders play in standing up to injustice?


10 Min

Start by asking students, “What is an upstander?”

After students have had a chance to answer, you can provide them with the official definition. An Upstander is “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.”

Next, discuss the following quote by Samantha Power- “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.”

  • Ask your students what this quote means to them. How does it help to explain the actions of upstanders and bystanders?


5 Min

Direct students to the “Women of Valor” section from Yad Vashem. Show them where to find the women’s stories; take some time to click on one or two of the women’s stories to demonstrate how to find the information they will need.


35 Min

Divide students into groups of three to five. Assign each group one of the heroines’ stories to look into. Ask students to prepare a presentation telling this person’s story. Presentations can be made with Prezi or PowerPoint, if your class does not have access to computers, presentations may be done with poster boards or large pieces of paper.

Once students have been assigned their group and heroine, provide them with the following questions to help structure their presentation.

  1. Who was this person? Briefly describe her role as an upstander.
  2. What made this person risk her life to save the Jewish people?
  3. Did these women face any consequences for their brave actions?
  4. Do you think their role as women made them more or less likely to act as upstanders?
Teacher Primer

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