FHM High School Trunk




High School Teaching Trunk focuses on the theme of historical perspectives of the Holocaust – through the examination of non-fiction such as: memoirs, diaries, and biographies students begin to funnel all their previous education into a focused study of the historical impact of the Holocaust on individuals.


The high school trunk materials can help with meeting the following Common Core State Standards:


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2;  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.3; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.5; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.10


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.10


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.5; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.8; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.10


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.2; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.5; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.8; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.10




Samples of primary and secondary sources available in the high school trunk that can be used for applying Common Core State Standards:




Primary Source


     “The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak” edited by Alan Adelson

Dawid Sierakowiak was an insightful, talented young man who shared the tragic fate of millions of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. While his life was cut short by his untimely death, the diary he had kept for nearly 4 years survived. He wrote most of his diary in the Łódź ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland. In the five notebooks of his diary found after the war he described in great detail the deterioration of the situation around him shortly before the outbreak of World War II in September, 1939 and then throughout his ghetto experiences until April 1943 when his diary ends. He died in August 1943 at the age of 19. Dawid’s diary lets readers examine the daily struggles of ghetto inhabitants trying to survive in some of the most inhumane conditions. In order to better understand Dawid’s diary, educators and students need to familiarize themselves with a larger historical context of his daily entries. The high school trunk has numerous secondary sources that can help with that task, some of which are listed below. Many of the resources include timelines, glossaries, and bibliographies that educators and students may benefit from.




Secondary sources supporting the study of "The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak"



       “Atlas of the Holocaust” by Martin Gilbert


In order to prepare students for the reading of Dawid Sierakowiak’s diary as well as during the classes devoted to the study of this topic, teachers can use resources that provide visual information: e.g. “Atlas of the Holocaust” with 316 detailed maps carefully drawn and annotated by a world-renowned historian Martin Gilbert.  In chronological order, the atlas covers the history of Nazi persecution of Jews from the time of pre-WW II Germany, through ghettoization, deportations to concentration and death camps, death marches, and liberation by the Allies. The maps also show examples of resistance, defiance, and escape routes. This comprehensive resource helps students investigate the Nazi expansion during World War II and see the scope and scale of the events. This and other secondary sources are a good starting point for discussions about the most recent research results published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and help students appreciate the ongoing efforts of scholars and archivists dedicated to bringing to light as much additional information about the Holocaust as possible.




    “Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior”


As the Facing History and Ourselves leaders describe their core work, it “provides an interdisciplinary approach to citizenship education. Students move from thought to judgment to participation as they confront the moral questions inherent in a study of violence, racism, antisemitism and bigotry. The readings and activities explore the consequences of discrimination, racism, and antisemitism by holding up ‘the tarnished mirror of history’ to one of the most violent times in world history - the 1930s and 1940s. As students read and reflect, they investigate the forces that undermined democracy in Germany, betrayed a generation of young people, and ultimately led to the Holocaust. In doing so, students discover that many of those forces threaten our own society today. The book then helps students discover how their decisions can make a positive difference in their community, nation and the world. ” To learn more about this and other resources of Facing History and Ourselves please visit www.facing.org.




 “Voices & Views: A History of the Holocaust” edited by Debórah Dwork, published by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous


“Edited and introduced by Holocaust historian and scholar Debórah Dwork, this anthology presents the history of the Holocaust from the origins of antisemitism to the post-Holocaust world in ten chapters. Voices & Views includes works from noted Holocaust scholars and writers, including Yehuda Bauer, Debórah Dwork, Yisrael Gutman, Nechama Tec, Robert Jan van Pelt,” and others (description from www.jfr.org).

Educators are encouraged to use chapters of this resource that relate to Dawid Sierakowiak's story and help students study various historians' analyses of complex historical events that had a profound impact on the life of European Jews trapped under the Nazi regime. This excellent secondary source offers a rich choice of primary sources that can enhance a unit based on the "The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak,” including photographs, interviews, and memoir exceprts.  To learn more about this and other resources offered by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous please visit www.jfr.org.




   JFR Rescue Poster Set with a study guide:


“The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous offers a set of classroom posters on the rescue of Jews by non-Jews during the Holocaust.  The set conveys a crucial message: that the Righteous are not just heroes from the past, but also role models for the present.  The posters underscore this idea by linking individual rescuers to character traits exemplified in their stories – traits that are well-known and within reach to young people” (description from www.jfr.org). The set has 8 posters featuring individual rescuers and traits of character we can all emulate. The study guide takes educators through different activities and addresses various questions and focus points helpful for teaching a unit on rescue efforts. Students not only get to know examples of authentic rescue efforts during the Holocaust but also have an opportunity to explore character traits highlighted by the JFR team and analyze their own response to these particular examples. It’s important to teach about rescue in a broader context of Holocaust history rather than in isolation in order to help students understand that while rescue efforts were admirable, those who did try to save Jews were in the minority and most European Jews did not survive. Dawid Sierakowiak’s story is a powerful starting point for meaningful discussions about the difficulties and risks associated with rescue efforts undertaken by various organizations or by individuals. Above all, Dawid’s diary provides an insight into the agonizing challenges faced by ghetto residents and the reasons why for most of them leaving the ghetto and trying to survive on the Aryan side was an option beyond their reach.




     “Tell Them We Remember” by Susan D. Bachrach


This resource book created by a staff historian of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum uses a plethora of primary sources (artifacts, maps, photographs) to explain the history of the Holocaust and the way it impacted individual lives. The book includes excerpts of I.D. cards used at the USHMM to teach about individual stories of those who survived and of those who perished during the Holocaust.

Students can analyze particular historical events and immediately see examples of personal experiences through I.D. cards of specific individuals.

By learning historical facts and at the same time following individual stories of young people during the Holocaust, students get a better understanding of the impact the Holocaust had on real people: they read about prewar life shattered by the Nazi rule, the persecution endured by Jews and other victim groups, suffering of millions of individuals in ghettos, deportations to various types of camps and murder in the death camps, resistance and rescue operations, and finally liberation and post-WW II attempts to deliver justice. Susan Bachrach's book teaches a complex and difficult history by giving a voice to youngsters whose lives were changed forever or taken away by the followers of Nazi ideology.  It helps personalize and rehumanize history and enables students to see the impact historical events had on individual human beings.



     “Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland Before the Holocaust” by Lucjan Dobroszycki and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett


At the Florida Holocaust Museum we teach about the Holocaust through the power of individual stories of those who perished and of those who survived. One of the teaching tools we use in our core exhibit is a visual introduction to the world that is no more. We encourage visitors to get acquainted with images showing Jewish life before the Holocaust, with all its diversity. One of the resources  that serve the same purpose in our teaching trunks is  “Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland Before the Holocaust” by Lucjan Dobroszycki and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. This outstanding  resource provides a broad spectrum of the largest Jewish community in Europe and spans a seventy-five year period with the first photograph dating back to 1864 and the last one from September 1, 1939, the day World War II began.  The book is filled not only with photographs of authentic people but with biographical and historical information providing a detailed context for the images.

By introducing students to this visual journey through the history of Jewish life in Europe, educators help them grasp the magnitude of the destruction brought upon by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust.



Florida Holocaust Museum sends teaching trunks free of charge to schools throughout the United States. To reserve a trunk or for more information please click here