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The Holocaust and Minnesota History: A curriculum for grades 3-12

In conjunction with “Life in Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust,” an exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum showing at the Minnesota History Center July 20 – October 15, 2006, the Minnesota Historical Society has created a free curriculum for grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Each of the three curricula is teacher-reviewed and comes with lesson plans, primary source readings and photographs, and worksheets designed to hone students’ historical thinking skills. In addition, some of the featured Holocaust survivors have written directly to students.

Curriculum Kits

Cover of 3-5 curriculum  Cover of 6-8 curriculum Cover of 9-12 curriculum
Grades 3-5
Curriculum Kit
Web Slide Show
Grades 6-8
Curriculum Kit
Grades 9-12
Curriculum Kit

Connecting Minnesota’s History to the Holocaust

These lessons introduce your students to Holocaust survivors who now live in Minnesota. By learning their stories and examining their personal accounts, photographs and documents, students of all grade levels will understand that the Holocaust was not something that happened a long time ago across the ocean, but that it continues to be part of our communities today.

Students will meet these survivors:

  • Felicia Weingarten was 13 years old when World War II broke out. She survived the Lodz ghetto in Poland and four concentration camps, including Auschwitz. She now lives in St. Paul.
  • Sabina Zimering was 16 when the war started. She survived the Holocaust by posing as a Polish Catholic worker in Germany, right under the noses of Nazi generals. She now lives in St. Louis Park.
  • Jack and Rochelle Sutin were about 15 years old at the start of the war. They escaped the Polish ghettos and lived for more than two years as partisan fighters in underground bunkers deep in the forest. They now live in Minneapolis.
  • Henry Oertelt was 17 years old and living in Germany when the war began in 1939. He survived several concentration camps, including Theresienstadt and Auschwitz/Birkenau. He now lives in St. Paul.
Photos of survivors featured in curriculum

Flexible for Teachers

This curriculum is designed to support a visit to “Life in Shadows: Hidden Children in the Holocaust” or to stand alone. Teachers may use all of the lessons and activities, or just as needed. Grade-level markers are suggestions: sixth grade teachers may prefer the level 3-5 lessons. Teachers of advanced seventh and eight graders may want to use the more advanced document and photo analysis found in the 9-12 curriculum.


Funding for this project provided by Jay and Rose Phillips Foundation

Thank You

Thanks to all of the people who made this curriculum possible:

Linda Schloff of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and Rabbi Julie K. Gordon and Abbe Payton of the Minneapolis Jewish Day School for their support, ideas and corrections • Jodi Elowitz of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas and Stephen Feinsten of the United States Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies for their review and suggestions • Jodi Elowitz, Mary Kay Orman, Stephanie Oertelt-Samuels and Dana Connett for their study guide • Judy Bartel, Michelle Beck, Jeanne Snyder, Steve Hafeman, Andy Stephenson, Scott Wicklund, Matthew Meier, Linda Dailey, Lori Tukey and Kari Janzen for their review • Lerner Publications, DeForest Press, and North Star Press of St. Cloud • Special thanks to Jack, Rochelle and Lawrence Sutin, Henry Oertelt, Felicia Karo Weingarten, and Sabina Zimering, M.D, for their time, inspiration, and the use of their stories and photographs, and to Alexander Kopilenko for the stories and photos of his mother, Dora Hack.