FHM Middle School Trunk




The Middle School Teaching Trunk focuses on the theme of investigating human behavior and the choices individuals and groups made during the Holocaust.  The trunk examines the concepts of bystander, perpetrator, victim and rescuer, and how their choices affected their lives and the lives of others.


The Middle School Trunk materials can help with meeting the following Common Core State Standards:


CCSS. ELA=Literacy.RH.6-1.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.5; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.8; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.10; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.2; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.5; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.8; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.whst.6-8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.10




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



Primary Source



"Anne Frank:  The Diary of a Young Girl"


Among the primary sources available in the middle school trunk, the most well-known is "Anne Frank:  The Diary of a Young Girl."  Anne Frank's diary is often the first Holocaust-era diary students are exposed to.  It was written by a teenage girl whose family spent two years in hiding in Amsterdam, Holland.  Anne's diary provides detailed insights into the family's situation in hiding and the repercussions of the Nazi persecution in her own life.  As Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in the introduction to the American edition of the book:  "Anne Frank's account of the changes wrought upon eight people hiding out from the Nazis for two years during the occupation of Holland, living in constant fear and isolation, imprisoned not only by the terrible outward circumstances of war but inwardly by themselves, made me intimately and shockingly aware of war's greatest evil - the degradation of the human spirit."


In August 1944 the hiding place was betrayed to the Gestapo and Anne Frank's family was arrested along with other individuals in the hideout.  They were deported from a transit camp at Westerbork to Auschwitz where Anne's mother died. Anne and her sister were sent to Bergen-Belsen where they both died of typhus shortly before liberation.  Of the immediate Frank family only Anne's father survived the Holocaust.


Students get acquainted with the diary genre while educators have an opportunity to teach about different types of diaries written during the Holocaust.  Prior to the discussion of Anne's diary, educators can discuss with students different motivations for writing a diary during the Holocaust and a variety of background circumstances in which these diaries were created.


Students learn new vocabulary pertaining to the Holocaust: e.g. ghetto, Nazi, Aryan, clandestine, false papers, deportation, labor camp, concentration camp, etc. The vocabulary is necessary for writing activities on any topic pertaining to the Holocaust, as well as for discussions concerning the subject matter.  Students can examine the meaning of particular words and a change of meaning based on the historical context, e.g. the word "selection." By studying the meaning of particular words and phrases in the context of an authentic diary students are able to see the connection between an individual's real experiences and historical events and circumstances.  The vocabulary stops being a list of abstract terms.


Students also explore the aspects of the text that show Anne's point of view and personal opinions about historical events.  Since Anne's family was confined to a small space for a long time we get to know varied responses of several individuals to the same situations, which gives a unique multi-layered  perspective.




Secondary sources supporting the study of "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl"



"Atlas of the Holocaust" by Martin Gilbert


In order to prepare students for the reading of Anne Frank'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-WWII 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.



 "The World Must Know" by Michael Berenbaum


This resource provides an excellent historical background pertaining to the Frank family's situation.  It helps educators and students explore questions like:  "Why did the Franks and other Jews have to leave Germany?"; "What happened to the Jews who stayed?"; "What was the situation in Holland after it was invaded by Germany?"; "What were the rescue efforts in Europe and elsewhere?"; and many more.  Berenbaum's book discusses important facts about the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe but also of other victim groups, including Jehovah's Witnesses, Poles, homosexuals, the handicapped, or Sinti and Roma.  It has over two hundred period photographs.




 "Anne Frank:  Beyond the Diary" by Ruud van der Rol and Rian Verhoeven


"Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary" is a photobiography with over 100 authentic photographs of the Frank family and locations pertaining to their story.  The authors weave personal experiences of the individuals from the Secret Annex into the history of locations connected to the Nazi occupation of Europe. This resource provides a combination of primary sources, e.g. diary excerpts, photographs, transport lists from Westerbork to Auschwitz, and a secondary source in the analysis conducted by the authors. While exploring primary sources from the era, students can examine the circumstances that affected the Frank family.  They can analyze Anne's own words in her diary excerpts along with authentic photographs and compare it with the analysis provided by the book's authors.




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" (www.jfr.org).  The set has 8 posters featuring individual rescuers and a study guide with different activities and focus points that help with teaching a unit on rescue efforts.  Students not only familiarize themselves with examples of rescue attempts during the Holocaust but also have an opportunity to explore character traits of individual rescuers and analyze their own responses to these particular examples.


Through its valuable lessons about rescue the JFR raises awareness about the complexity of this subject matter and helps educators avoid oversimplifications and romanticizing of history.  It places the theme of rescue within a balanced historical perspective that encompasses numerous factors that contributed to the fact that only a small percentage of non-Jews undertook efforts to help Jews.


In the context of rescue during the Holocaust, Anne Frank's story shows humanity at its best and at its worst:  Anne and her relatives survived two years in hiding thanks to brave decisions of a handful of people - Otto Frank's friends and colleagues - who were ready to risk their own safety in order to help those in need.  But they were also betrayed by a decision of an anonymous human being.  Studying Anne Frank's diary from the perspective of these choices helps lead discussions about moral and ethical choices individuals made during the Holocaust and the significance of ethical choices we make in today's world.



 "The Power of Good:  Nicholas Winton"


"The Power of Good" is an award-winning documentary featuring an individual rescuer, Sir Nicholas Winton, and his courageous rescue operation to evacuate mostly Jewish children from areas affected by the Nazi regime.  He ended up saving 669 children but his rescue operation was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II.  Sir Winton's story is a great example of how one person can make a difference and that we all have a potential to become upstanders, rather than bystanders.  Students can investigate Sir Winton's efforts and follow the individual lives of some of the children he had rescued.  They can analyze the historical circumstances with the help of the secondary sources listed above ("Atlas of the Holocaust" by Martin Gilbert," "The World Must Know" by Michael Berenbaum).






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