Lesson Plan

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Students will learn about a piece of antisemitic literature that was spread in the early 20th century. Open into a conversation about how false information spreads and how difficult it is to be taken back once shared.

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Enduring Understanding

Antisemitism and conspiracy theories against Jewish people did not begin, nor did it end, with Nazi Germany.

Essential Question

  • 1Why is it easier to continue believing a lie than it is to admit wrongdoing?


10 Min

Begin by asking your students, how does false information spread? Prompt students by asking them to think of social media. How credible are the posts they see? How easily are they shared? What is the danger in being able to easily and quickly post and share information?


10 Min

Pull up the resource, A Hoax of Hate: The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion by the Anti-Defamation League. Start by reading the introduction and stop after the section titled, “The Protocols and Nazi Germany.”


25 Min

Divide your class into small groups of 3-5 and provide them with the instructions below. Provide 10-15 minutes for the group activity before coming back together as a class to go over their answers.

  1. Read through the document at the designated sections. (Introduction through The Protocols in Nazi Germany)
  2. As a group, write out your answers to the following questions:
    1. What are the Protocols? What were they used for?
    2. How did they spread? How many countries did they reach?
    3. The Protocols were widely proven to be false, yet the conspiracy theory continued to spread. How difficult is it to retract or “undo” a lie?
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