Facing History and Ourselves

Holocaust and Human Behavior

Passage (Holocaust Memorial, Boston)

"like human breath as it passes through the glass chimneys to heaven."*
by Stanley Saitowitz, the designer of the memorial


Malden high is a four-year urban, blue-collar, multi-national public school. The student population is approximately 1700 students. This unit will be disbursed among core curricula in grades 9 through 11. The purpose of this format is to weave a thread of the Holocaust and Human Behavior Unit into the history content over the course of three years. This methodology allows us the opportunity to introduce the unit in grade 9 and build upon it throughout their study of U.S. History and World History. In this manner students realize that this unit impacted and continues to impact all facets of history. Facing History and Ourselves provides students the lens to examine the impact of human behavior on world events.
The planning and implementation of this unit will be a two year process, which will be continued next year through the use of professional development time.
This is an outline of the topics and resources that maybe used in the scope and sequence of the 7 curriculum units. This unit will be developed in a Wikispace environment, which will make it readily accessible to all members of the department. This electronic notebook allows us to organize a plethora of resources in one compact site. It also provides us with the ability to integrate the unit into our existing content curriculum maps. District literacy and instructional strategies will be used to help all learners access the content.


"Students need to think about their thinking in order to become aware of their moral development." Throughout this Facing History Unit, students will discuss individual and group identity, examine choices, and make judgments, which will lead to active participation in their lives. By analyzing prejudices, myths, and misinformation, students will make informed choices and recognize the power of these choices in shaping their world. This unit will provide students the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust by examining perspectives, analyzing causes and consequences of the actions of individuals and nations and how their behavior contributed to acts of genocide. This unit will help teachers empower their students to move from thought to judgment and ultimately to participation that will extend to their school, community and the world. (Facing History and Ourselves, Resource Book, Introduction p.xx)

Massachusetts Curriculum Framework: History and Social Science

Explain and provide examples of different forms of government, including democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, theocracy, and autocracy. (H, C)
Explain the rights and the responsibilities of citizenship and describe how a democracy provides opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process through elections, political parties, and interest groups. (H, C)
Describe how decisions are made in a democracy, including the role of legislatures, courts, executives, and the public. (H, C)
The Great Wars, 1914-1945

Describe the relative importance of economic and imperial competition, Balkan nationalism, German militarism and aggression, and the power vacuum in Europe due to the declining power of the Russian, Austrian, and Ottoman Empires in causing World War I. (H, E)
Summarize the major events and consequences of World War I. (H, E)

  1. physical and economic destruction
  2. the League of Nations and attempts at disarmament
  3. the collapse of the Romanov dynasty and the subsequent Bolshevik Revolution and Civil War in Russia
  4. post-war economic and political instability in Germany
  5. the Armenian genocide in Turkey
  6. the unprecedented loss of life from prolonged trench warfare
Describe the various causes and consequences of the global depression of the 1930s, and analyze how governments responded to the Great Depression. (H, E)

  1. restrictive monetary policies
  2. unemployment and inflation
  3. political instability
Describe the rise and goals of totalitarianism in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union, and analyze the policies and main ideas of Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin. (H)

Describe the background, course, and consequences of the Holocaust, including its roots in the long tradition of Christian anti-Semitism, 19th century ideas about race and nation, and Nazi dehumanization of the Jews. (H)
Explain the consequences of World War II. (H, E)

  1. physical and economic destruction
  2. the enormous loss of life, including millions of civilians through the bombing of population centers and the slaughter of political opponents and ethnic minorities
Describe reasons for the establishment of the United Nations in 1945 and summarize the main ideas of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (H)
Explain the background for the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, and the subsequent military and political conflicts between Israel and the Arab world. (H)

  1. the growth of Zionism, and 19th and early 20th century immigration by Eastern European Jews to Palestine
  2. anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

Facing History