Lesson Plan

The Weight of Freedom

Students will engage with a survivor’s personal story about the aftermath of the war, immigration, and the complexity of re-building home and family.

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The Holocaust
Finding Home

Enduring Understanding

After everything survivors went through, their attempts to reunite with their families and their desire to rebuild was full of seemingly endless heartbreak, struggles, questions, and challenges.

Essential Question

  • 1Is it possible to piece together the stories of friends and loved ones in the wake of WWII? How might this have affected people's decisions on where to rebuild their lives and homes?


5 Min

Explain to the students that the aftermath of WWII and the liberation of people from concentration and death camps was the beginning of a difficult period of recovery for around 6 million refugees and displaced persons. Jewish refugees in particular faced much discrimination by authorities, and had a difficult time re-building their lives.


15 Min

Split the class into 4 groups, assigning a section of Nate Leipciger’s post-liberation story to each group. Allow each group 15 minutes to read through their assigned text and list out events detailed, as well as specific things that stood out to them in the story, to be presented to the rest of the class.


30 Min

Allow 5 minutes for each group to present each section of the story in chronological order, beginning with group 1 and ending with group 4.

Use the remaining 10 minutes to discuss with the class the reasons why Nate Leipciger and his father chose to rebuild their lives outside of Poland, as well as what aspects of the story stood out to them. If there is any time remaining, ask the students whether or not knowing the whole story made it difficult to understand what happened. Explain that often families were separated from each other at different points of the war, so that they may know one part of the story but be unaware of others. This made it very difficult to reunite with other members of the family who survived, or to figure out what happened to those who did not.

Wisconsin Academic Standards

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

Teacher Primer

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