Chapter 3.1: How did life change for German Jews?

Develop knowledge and understanding:

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

  • That during the 1930s the Nazis wanted to exclude German Jews from society.
  • How the Nazis used propaganda, violence and anti-Jewish laws to make life extremely difficult for Jews in Germany.
  • That the mass murder of Jews did not occur before 1939.
  • About the impact that persecution had on Jews in Germany.

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:

  • That there was a large and influential Jewish population in Germany
  • Organised mass killing of Jews began in 1933

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 briefing that is relevant to this textbook chapter content here:

Research briefing 3: An unfolding genocide

Suggested activities:

Further enquiry – Jewish emigration from Nazi Germany

Use resource sheet 3.1.1 to allow students to explore Jewish emigration from Nazi Germany.

  • Where did people go?
  • Why these particular countries?

Through the case studies of Anne Frank and those who immigrated to Shanghai students can research individual experiences of migration in more detail.

DOWNLOAD: Resource sheet 3.1.1

Further enquiry – Dr Michael Siegel

Use these links to enable students to discover what happened to Dr Michael Siegel:

Additional resources for students:

To find out more about how life changed for Germany’s Jews in the 1930s, students can undertake further research using this recommended website:

Additional resources for teachers:

Classroom materials: ‘German Jews and the Holocaust’: Using rare home movie footage students engage with some of the challenges faced by German-Jewish families in the months before the Second World War.

Classroom materials:Life in Plauen’: What does life in Plauen reveal to us about the paradoxes and contradictions of Jewish and non-Jewish relations in Germany in this period?

Online classroom materials:Being German and Jewish: Living in hope in uncertain times’: The five lessons are intended for Year 9 students learning about the Holocaust in history, RE and citizenship. With the city of Plauen as a case study, students explore how Jewish and non-Jewish people lived alongside one another before the Second World War. The lesson material is an adaptation of the classroom lesson ‘Life in Plauen’.

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