Chapter 1.2 – Prejudice against Jews

Develop knowledge and understanding:

To deepen student knowledge and challenge common misunderstandings, in this chapter they will learn:

  • That prejudice against Jews has existed in Europe for 2,000 years.
  • About the many ways in which Jews have been persecuted throughout history.
  • What antisemitism means and how it differs from religious prejudice.

Challenge myths and misconceptions:

Here is a summary of the key myths and misconceptions that we identified in our research and that we are aiming to challenge through this textbook chapter content and its supporting materials:

  • All Jews owned businesses and were rich
  • Germany had more Jewish people than anywhere else
  • ‘Jews’ and ‘Germans’ were different from one another
  • Jews were persecuted simply because of their religion

Should you choose to share these with students it is very important to be clear that these are false statements and they need to be taught about with sensitivity and skill.

Access the research briefings that are relevant to this textbook chapter content here:

Research briefing 2: Victims of the Holocaust and 7: Explaining the Holocaust

Support for in chapter activities:

Support for Activity p. 17:

Here are some recommended websites to assist your students in carrying out this research:

Find out what happened at York in 1190.

Discover how Jewish persecution was linked to the Crusades.

Support for Activity p.19: ‘What is antisemitism? Explain antisemitism in your own words.’

To assist students in answering this question they can watch the following clips from the IWM and they can undertake further research using the Wiener Library’s Holocaust Explained website:

  • Why did people hate us?
  • Roots of antisemitism

Suggested activities:

Further enquiry – research individuals

Students could choose one of the individuals listed below and undertake further research into their life, their career and their achievements.

Here are some recommended websites to assist your students in carrying out their research:

Albert Einstein:

Bela Guttman:

Gerty Simon: and see chapter 5.4 a case study about Gerty’s son, Bernd Simon.

Ida Rubenstein:

Janusz Korczak:

Additional resources for teachers:

‘Etymology of antisemitism’

DOWNLOAD: Etymology of antisemitism

Spelling of Antisemitism | IHRA

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) would like to address the spelling of the term ‘antisemitism’, often rendered as ‘anti-Semitism’. IHRA’s concern is that the hyphenated spelling allows for the possibility of something called ‘Semitism’, which not only legitimizes a form of pseudo-scientific racial classification that was thoroughly discredited by association …

 Further reading materials:

Lipstadt, D. (2019) Antisemitism Here and Now. London: Scribe.

Neuberger, J. (2019) Antisemitism. What it is. What it isn’t. Why it matters. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

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