A mini-research project in which students decide for themselves how accurately The Boy in the Striped Pajamas depicts the horror and injustice of the holocaust.
I usually watch the film version of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as part of a Holocaust study during my Diary of Anne Frank unit. I have to say, I love the film. Even though I recognize that it sugarcoats aspects of the Holocaust, it nonetheless leaves my students with a sense of awe and reverence for the tragedy and horror that it was.
That said, however, I definitely understand where critics of the story are coming from. When they say it's a grossly inaccurate depiction of how horrific concentration camps were, they are absolutely correct. The question is, does the story still have value despite its inaccuracies? I believe it does, but I love to leave that question up to my students.
This activity allows them to explore and evaluate this criticism. While researching on the internet, students will look at seven "Myths" in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and they will try to prove each myth either "Busted" or "Plausible."
This is a fun activity, but it also helps students think deeply and question some of their assumptions about the Holocaust.
Included is a PDF file of the worksheet students will fill out while they conduct their research. You also get a teacher's guide that contains a link to a great negative critique of the novel written by a Jewish rabbi as well as some suggested responses for the myths.
Created by Arik Durfee