Students across America are helping the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum discover how their local newspapers covered the Nazi threat and the Holocaust in the 1930s and 1940s. Through History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust, you and your students can participate in authentic project-based learning through hands-on research using historic newspapers found online or in a local library. Your students will search for newspaper articles about important events in the history of the Holocaust and World War II, think critically about what they find, and reflect on what it reveals about American responses to the Holocaust. Their findings become part of a new national research database to be used by historians, curators, and the public.
This classroom-tested lesson is designed to help students better understand American responses to the Holocaust within the socio-economic and political context of the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. It promotes historical thinking and media literacy skills through research and analysis of primary source documents (i.e., historical newspapers) on microfilm or in digitized collections. In most cases, this lesson will require students to perform research at local libraries or historical societies. In some cases, digitized collections may be accessible online. The lesson takes two to three class periods