Holocaust WebQuest

Participants in the Uprising at the Sobibor Extermination Camp
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Introduction | Resources | Home School Resources | Conclusion


The following are suggested activities to make your exploration of this subject more interesting. Some of these activities are designed to be used with library programs, however, please do not feel that you must turn in these projects. Feel free to simply do the activity for your own interest.

Questions to Ponder

Could this happen again? Explore the reasons for, and the events leading up to, the Holocaust and ask youself if State sponsored mass killings based on racism and discrimination could happen somewhere in the world today or in the future.

How much did world wide anti-semintisim and discrimination contribute to the Holocaust? Read the material that discusses anti-semintism and the world's reaction to the persecution of the Jews in Germany shortly after the Nazis gained power. Did world opinion allow the Nazis to decide that extermination of the Jews and other undesirable would be acceptable?

Many German and Polish citizens, even those who lived near the concentration and death camps, claimed that they had little to no knowledge of what was happening to the Jews and others during the war. After reading about the Holocaust do you think this is possible?

Write a Poem for the Poetry Contest

The library has a teen poetry contest every April to celebrate National Poetry Month. Poems can be about anything: a person, an event, a place, or an object. As long as you follow the rules of the Poetry Contest you can create any type of poem you want. The following are suggestions for poem themes:

1)Write about someone who was involved in the Holocaust; a victim, a survivor, a rescuer, a member of the Jewish resistance, or even a German who helped to carry out these events.
2)Try to imagine yourself as someone involved in the Holocaust and write about your thoughts and feelings.
3)Write about one of the major aspects of the Holocaust such as; the camps, deportations, ghettos, or hiding.
4) Write about a specific event such as the Warsaw ghetto uprising, liberation of the camps, or the Nuremberg Trials.
5)Write about a specific place such as the Warsaw Ghetto, or one of the concentration camps.

Examples of Holocaust poetry can be found at Holocaust Poetry and Art, Holocaust Poetry by Jeremy Hobbs, and Holocaust Museum and Study Center

Suggestions on how to proceed - As you are reading, identify a subject that you find especially moving or interesting. Makes notes about the important events or features of the subject. Also make notes about the small details that you find interesting. Bringing a person or event alive can often rely on small but moving details. Next, organize your notes by time or by importance. You should consider creating a timeline of events to help you create the poem, or even to include with the poem. The following is a suggested outline for a poem about a person. Feel free to modify this outline to suit your poem.

Line 1 - State the persons name.
Line 2 - Tell where were they born or raised.
Lines 3 to 4 - What was their life like before the holocaust? Did they go to school? Did they work? Did they live in the city or country? Did they have family?
Lines 5 to 7 - Tell what happened to them during the Holocaust. Did they hide? Were they sent to a concentration camp? Were they in a Ghetto? Did they help people escape the Nazis? Tell as many details as you wish about what happened, but keep them in the order in which they occurred.
Lines 8 to 9 - What ultimately happened to this person. Were they killed? Did they die in a camp? Did they survive? Did the person(s) they were helping survive? Did they stay in Europe or did they move to another country.
Line 10 - State their name again, and describe your thoughts about this person. Were they courageous, or gifted, or kind?

Poetry Contest Rules
Poems must be submitted to the library during the month of April.
You must be age 11 to 18.
All poems must be 10 lines or longer.
Entries must be typed.
The poem must be suitable for public viewing on the Library Web site.

The poems will not be judged, instead a drawing will be held for prizes. Your name will be added to the drawing for every poem you submit. All entries will be displayed on the library website and a booklet of all the entries will be given to everyone who submits a poem.

Create a Poster for the Poster Contest

One of the library's annual Teen Read Week activities is a poster contest. The posters can reflect any theme. Posters about the Holocaust could be about: a single person, a group of people (victims, survivors, rescurers, etc.), an event (the liberation of a concentratin camp, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, etc), or some aspect of the Holocaust (concentration camps, ghettos, deportations, hiding, etc).

Examples of Holocaust art can be found at The Cybrary Image Art Gallery - Student Expressions, and the May Family National Art and Writing Contest, see the past winners section.

Suggestions on how to proceed - As you are investigating the Holocaust, look for a topic or subject that interests you. Make notes of the important or significant events or aspects of that subject. Also make notes of interesting graphics that you feel reflect or represent that subject. You might consider making a timeline of events to help you organize the subject or to include with your poster. Organize your notes, look over the images that interested you, and design a poster that you feel reflects or represents the subject you choose. The library has a scanner, Microsoft Office, and Print Shop which can be used in creating the poster.

Poster Contest Rules
All posters must be submitted during Teen Read Week (October 19-25, 2003).
An entry form must accompany your poster submission.
Your name should not appear on the front of the poster (for judging purposes).
The poster must be original, while you can include clip art or other images, the poster itself cannot be a copy or reproduction.
The poster must be 22" X 28" or smaller.
A variety of materials may be used including: watercolor, pen and ink, crayon, chalk, markers, computer generated images, clip art, and 3D textures.
A poster can be an individual or a team effort.
All posters must be suitable for public viewing in the library.

The posters will be judged based on their originality, creativity, ability to communicate their theme, and neatness. Posters will be displayed in the library for one month.

Enter the "May Family National Art and Writing Contest"

Each year the United States Holocaust Museum invites middle and high school students to study a different aspect of the Holocaust and then answer questions through an essay, a creative writting project, or artwork. Submissions are usually due sometime in March of each year. Information about the contest can be found on the May Family National Art and Writing Contest web page.

If you are interested in entering the contest, you might consider looking at the submissions of past winners to help guide you. You might also consider asking your art or english teacher for some basic guidence.

Do Your Own Holocaust Research

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has an interactive Web page that allows you to look at real documents about a person persecuted by the Nazis. By using the documents, you can trace their movements and decide what happened to them. If you submit your conclusions to the Museum (you do not have to give them your name) they will allow you to see the conclusion that the Museum researchers came up with. This is a fun and interesting activity.

Start out by reading about the Voyage of the St. Louis. This provides background information about the events and the people you will be investigating. Next read about how the Museum conducted its research, then do your own research.


A free program to help you construct a simple timeline is located at Teach-nology. Using this online program, you can make both vertical and horizontal timelines using up to six events. Unfortunately the timeline cannot be saved as an image, but you can print it out and use the library scanner to create a digital image if needed. The following is an example of a timeline created using this program.

Introduction | Resources | Home School Resources | Conclusion

(Last Revised June 20, 2003)
Victoria Ferguson