Students will learn the history of antisemitism and how it was transformed into Nazi racial antisemitism through the years.
Listen to testimonies from survivors about their time spent in a ghetto. Students will learn the history of the term “ghetto” and think critically about the implications the history has on their understanding of the term today.
Ghettoization was both physically and mentally difficult. The harsh conditions caused many to lose their lives.
Write the word “ghetto” on the board. Have students share what they know about the word and record their responses. Follow this discussion by sharing the history of the word.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Holocaust Encyclopedia states that the term “ghetto” originated from the name of the Jewish quarter in Venice, Italy. In 1516, Venetian authorities compelled the city’s Jews to live in this quarter. Following Italy’s example, local authorities and even the Austrian emperor ordered the creation of Jewish ghettos in Frankfurt, Rome, Prague, and other cities.
This lesson is adapted from The Ghettos by Echoes & Reflections, the full unit can be found here.
Play the video testimonies for Joseph Morton and Ellis Lewin. While they watch, encourage your students to listen for specific examples of how ghettos during the Holocaust differ from their understanding of what is referred to as a “ghetto” today. It could be beneficial to take students to the resource, Life in the Ghettos by USHMM and scroll through the photos and watch a few of the brief videos.
Open up into a class discussion with the questions below:
Lastly, divide the class into groups of three to five to discuss the following questions:
If time permits, open into a class discussion.
This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
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