The struggle to survive: resilience and resistance in the Warsaw ghetto

To support you with teaching the Holocaust during the lockdown period, here is a self-directed lesson for students of Year 9 and above exploring survival, resistance and resilience in the Warsaw Ghetto. Students will ideally have already completed the self-directed lesson Jewish Life in Warsaw before the Holocaust before completing this lesson, as this will give students valuable context. The lesson should take around an hour for a student to complete independently, and possible assessment questions and opportunities for extension are suggested at the end.

In this lesson, students will explore the horrific conditions of the Warsaw Ghetto, and will use primary sources to uncover how the Jewish population of the ghetto struggled to survive by relying on mutual aid and smuggling, whilst also exploring the resilience and resistance shown by Jews continuing religious life, telling jokes about their oppressors and investing scarce time and resources in education. Through this lesson, the voice of the victim is placed at the forefront of student understanding and the myth of Jews being passive in the face of the Holocaust is challenged.


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