The world is getting smaller as the empires across the globe prepare for war. The second world war, WWII, has spread to every corner of the earth. Everyone is affected as Axis forces begin their terrifying conquest at world domination. As time progresses, and hatred replaces fear, a new dawn has arrived. Systematic genocide has become the accepted way to deal with differences in people and ideas. This genocide will become forever known as the Holocaust. You are experiencing the atrocities. The fires plaguing Europe are not as strong as your will to survive. Whether you are an American soldier stuck behind enemy lines, a Nazi soldier with a conscience, or a Jew preparing for an uprising, you are all connected to the grand scheme and have felt the world change. You look to the sky, it looks like snow. You think of the calm peaceful snow that seems to counter the rampage of Gestapo. You take a closer look only to realize that the snow is not snow at all. It is the ashes of burning bodies from a near by death camp. These ashes, these remains, blot out the sun and become a true reflection of what humanity has become. Twelve million people were killed during the Holocaust, twelve million lives wasted, twelve million stories not forgotten. This is a time without light. What is your life like? What is happening? What will you do with the situation at hand?


The Task:

  • Understand the event of the Holocaust, how and why it happened, as well as who was involved.
* Gain a deeper understanding of Kristallnacht, Concentration Camps, Ghettos, Stereotypes, Scapegoats and Genocide. * Analyze the usage and success of propaganda in Nazi Germany. * Conceptualize the mentality of those involved in the Holocaust. * Write a one page entry/response toward the given scenario. * Create an illustration of a character or situation of the Holocaust.
  • Together as a class, combine all entries and illustrations to create a book of memoirs.


The Process:

Step 1. First, go to to set up an account. Click 'Join Now' and fill out the information required. Click 'Continue'. Again, enter information at your discretion and click 'Save and Continue'. On the next page it will ask you to find your friends, for this project click 'Skip'. After setting up your account go to your email and follow the directions on the verification email from Diigo. By clicking on the link on the verification email Diigo will take you to install 'diigolet'. Follow the directions on the screen to install the program. Make sure to keep diigolet open when going to the links in the rest of the webquest. You will see "sticky notes" or little blurbs that provide more insight and questions about the topics on the sites you are taken to once you scroll over them. Read the questions and comments to aid you in completion of the project. Also, by having your diigolet open you will be able to see sections of sites that have been highlighted for you to pay close attention to, by scrolling over the highlighted words you will seem more questions to consider. Remember, just because text in the links are not highlighted/sticky noted does not make them unimportant.

Step 2. Individually use the following link to gain some background information about the Holocaust. The Holocaust

Step 3. After reading the background, use the following link to read accounts of persons involved in the Holocaust. Students are required to read one story from at least FIVE different categories provided. (You will be reading five stories total).

Accounts The categories include:






Aid and Escape






Step 4. Next, you will be put into a group with three other students. After recieving your group number follow the scenario below.

Group 1 - The Attic

The year is 1941, you are thirteen years old and have spent your last two birthdays living in an attic. Along with your mother and father you are accompanied by six other people. You are in hiding because two years ago your town had been raided by Nazi soldiers and Gestapo. You miss your best friend and neighbor Eli and are beginning to wonder if you will ever see him again. The night the Nazi soldiers came you could hear Eli scream. Ms. Donovan has been taking care of your family by bringing food and water. She is not a target of the Nazi's as you are. Almost daily the sounds of German troops marching down the street bring you to believe that your family will be found. For the past two years you have been unable to speak in a volume above a whisper in fear of being found. Your story is similar to that of Anne Frank, to take a quick tour of the secret annex click here. Describe a typical day in the attic and the scares that come with being a refugee.

Group 2 - The Ghetto

The year is 1940 and you are Jew living your life in the dangerous and challenging ghetto. A day in the ghetto was like living a month under normal conditions. A month was like a year, and a year was a lifetime. There was never a dull moment, even buying a quart of milk was wrought with danger. They catch you and you are dead. One day they caught a Jewish family outside the ghetto, and they were shot on the spot. The will to live was so strong, in between the spurts of danger young people were falling in love, fights were erupting between neighbors, and even parties were given on occasion. Life in the ghetto was physically and emotionally draining. Almost every day was spent doing labor assignments like cleaning sewers, digging ditches or working on the railroad, however these types of jobs had to be done in secrecy, from the neighbors and the Germans. There was an intensive night life in the ghetto, as every few houses had to maintain their own night watches to guard against a night or predawn raid by the Nazis. The Star of David stitched to your shirt is a constant reminder of your degradation (images from two different perspectives). Describe your life and jobs within the ghetto and the dangers you faced as on an everyday basis.

Group 3 - The Conscience

The year is 1937, you are a Nazi soldier, this is what you are a part of. Being stationed outside a Jewish Ghetto is a tiresome job keeping the residents inside the walls. Even though Germany is pulling itself out of a depression, your family is still feeling economic burden. Your job as a Nazi soldier is to provide an income for your family. While you are a member of the Nazi party, you are indifferent in your views toward the ghettoization of Jews. Despite your job to guard the ghetto, a part of you feels regret for the dehumanization of the Jews. As much as you would love to show pity and mercy on the Jews, you have seen other soldiers shot on the spot for these actions. There are other soldiers you know of helping the Jews. If you were to report them, you would be paid for the information. What will you do?

Group 4 - The Uprising

When the Holocaust began, you were a young Jew growing up in a Polish city. In that city, about a third of the population was Jewish. There was anti-Semitism in Poland, as there was anti-Semitism nearly everywhere in Europe. With your parents and four brothers you led relatively peaceful lives. However, this all changed with Germany's invasion of Poland...the infamous blitzkrieg of September 1st, 1939 (footage). You were only 12 years old at the time, and on this day, Poland was about to face the systematic annihilation and slaughter of all Jewish people. Only the strong and resourceful would be alive at the end of the war. For a Jew to survive this slaughter - it was very difficult - nearly impossible. However, there are those who not only survived, but who also rose up and saved lives and even fought back. Your mother and two of your younger brothers went missing after the invasion. Five years have passed and since then you have been in hiding with your father and two remaining brothers. Rumors have been spread about a Polish army uprising being planned. Turns out the rumors are true. The remaining members of your family arm themselves and make ready for what will be known as the Battle of Warsaw. Write about the experience.

Group 5 - The Prisoner

The year is 1943. After graduating from high school in a small town in Pennsylvania, you decided to enlist in the U.S. airforce. Once training was complete you were shipped to the front lines. During a battle your plane was shot down. The other two airmen in your plane died, you managed to escape. Unfortunately you landed behind enemy lines and were badly injured. German forces stumble across the crash and find you, taking you hostage. You are now a Prisoner of War (POW). Packed into a crowed train with no room for any movement, you only know you are being shipped east. By the time the train arrives the stench of dead is unbearable. One-fifth of the occupants have died while traveling. You step off the train and realize you have arrived at Buchenwald, a German established labor camp. The days are long and the work is hard. The barrel of a gun is constantly pressed against your head as you are being told to move faster, work harder. Europe was filled with extermination, labor/concentration, and internment camps, here* is an example. Describe a day as an American POW in Buchenwald. (*Note: The end of this slide show says that 6 million people were killed in concentration camps. This is a common misconception, the numbers are roughly 12 million. Of the 12 million, 6 million Jews were killed.)

Step 5. Use the following links associated with your group number to gain a better understanding of the scenario you have been given. If you are told to 'use the following link to...' just follow the directions. Go to the links provided and watch/read/see whatever the website provides. As mentioned in step 1 keep your diigolet toolbar open to see questions and comments. You do not have to write down the answers to these questions just yet, for now just consider them. When you do the final project the questions and your answers might help you generate a more thoughtful assignment.

Group 1 - The Attic:

Before your family went into hiding, you had heard of Nazi 'propaganda'. Use the following link to find out more about propaganda. Propaganda

Your scenario was derived from the story of Anne Frank. Use the following link to find out more about Anne Frank: Anne Frank

Much like Anne Frank, your scenario deals with being a refugee in hiding. Use the following link to read about Anne Frank's secret annex:

The Annex

Group 2 - The Ghetto:

Your scenario deals with the stage of ghettoization of Jews. Use the following link to gather more information on the ghettos: Ghettos

Mentioned in your scenario is the armband you are forced to wear. The following link has pictures of these Star of David armbands/patches. Use the navigation arrows on the site to scroll through different photos.

Star of David

The following is a slideshow of photos taken in Jewish ghettos. Ghettos II

Group 3 - The Conscience:

Your scenario is the most difficult. You are a Nazi soldier with a conscience but in dire need to provide for your family. Nazi Soldier Photos

In more extreme circumstances, Nazi party members, and even high ranking officials, attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. You Are Not Alone

You are attempting to help Jews in the ghettos, later in history a man named Oskar Schindler helped rescue Jews from concentration camps.

Oskar Schindler

Group 4 - The Uprising:

This link provides you with a personal story as well as a brief history of the Battle of Warsaw.

Battle of Warsaw

This link provides you with photos of the Battle or Warsaw. Photos of Warsaw

Group 5 - The Prisoner:

Use this link to gather more information on what American POW's endured while being imprisoned in Germany

American POW

This story is about how an American POW created hope in these hard times.

Violin Story

Step 6. After completing all of the previous steps of The Process, take some time to individually respond to the scenario that your group was assigned on a word processed document. Each individual response should be about a page long and double spaced.

Step 7. After each group member has completed and printed out their individual response to the scenario they will get back together and share their responses with their group members.

Step 8. Each group member will switch their responses with another, and will draw a picture that reflects what the group member has written about.

Step 9. After each student completes their picture they will place it on top of the journal response that it represents, and all of the group members will compile the responses and pictures together into one big journal.


Focus on Topic (Content). The main idea is not clear. There is a seemingly random collection of information.Main idea is somewhat clear but there is a need for more supporting information.Main idea is clear but the supporting information is general.There is one clear, well-focused topic. Main ideas stands out and are supported by detailed information.
Support for Topic (Content)Supporting details and information are typically unclear or not related to the topic.Supporting details and information are relevant, but several key issues or portions of the storyline are unsupported.Supporting details and information are relevant, but one key issue or portion of the storyline is unsupported.Relevant, telling, quality details give the reader important information that goes beyond the obvious or predictable.
Grammar and Spelling (Conventions)Writer makes more than 4 errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.Writer makes 3-4 errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.Writer makes 1-2 errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.Writer makes no errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.
Sequencing (OrganizationMany details are not in a logical or expected order. There is little sense that the writing is organized.Some details are not in a logical or expected order, and this distracts the reader.Details are placed in a logical order, but the way in which they are presented/introduced sometimes makes the writing less interesting.Details are placed in a logical order and the way they are presented effectively keeps the interest of the reader.
IllustrationPicture is complete but does not appropriately reflect the Journal response that was read.Picture somewhat reflects the Journal that response was read.Picture is creative and interesting, but does not fully reflect the Journal response that was read.Picture is interesting, creative, and appropriately reflects the Journal response that was read.



Congratulations you have successfully completed the Holocaust WebQuest. You have learned about the Holocaust and the people that were most effected by it. Through your completion of the journal and illustration, you have taken the information you learned and creatively put together journals to describe what you have learned forming a book of memoirs. You also learned what it takes to work with a group. You understand that people do not usually ask for the hand dealt to them as you were assigned your scenario. Some of you made choices and others gathered information on a life that greatly differs from your own. Hopefully this has opened your eyes to what people are capable of; not just destruction and hatred, but surival, compassion and courage. Thank you for all your cooperation and hard work.

Credits & References:

Thank you, to the survivors of the Holocaust, who told the world.




STE-NETS-.1.A > demonstrate introductory technology literacy knowledge, skills, and concepts (described in the ISTE NETS Technology Foundation Standards for Students). ISTE-NETS-.1.B > demonstrate sustained growth in technology knowledge and skills to stay abreast of contemporary and emerging technologies. ISTE-NETS-.2.A > design developmentally appropriate learning opportunities that apply technology-enhanced instructional strategies to support the diverse needs of learners. ISTE-NETS-.2.B > apply current research on teaching and learning with technology when planning learning environments and experiences. ISTE-NETS-.3.C > apply technology to develop students' higher order skills and creativity. PA.SS.H.8.4.9.D __Analyze how conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations impacted world history through 1500 in Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe); Domestic Instability; Ethnic and Racial Relations; Labor Relations; Immigration and Migration; Military Conflicts Nazi concentration camps); Historic districts (e. g., Timbuktu, Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco, Taj Mahal and Gardens, Kremlin and Red Square) PA.SS.H.8.4.12.A __Evaluate the significance of individuals and groups who made major political and cultural contributions to world history since 1450: Political and Military Leaders (e. g., Askia Daud, Simon Bolivar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mao Zedong); Cultural and Commercial Leaders (e. g., Achebe Chinua, Gabriel Garcia Marquiez, Akira Kurosa, Christopher Columbus); Innovators and Reformers (e. g., Nelson Mandela, Louis- Joseph Papineau, Mohandas Gandhi, Alexander Fleming) PA.SS.H.8.4.12.C __Evaluate how continuity and change throughout history has impacted belief systems and religions, commerce and industry, innovations, settlement patterns, social organization, transportation and roles of women since 1450 Africa; Americas; Asia; Europe PA.SS.H.8.4.12.D __Evaluate how conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations impacted world history from 1450 to Present in Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe; Domestic Instability; Ethnic and Racial Relations; Labor Relations; Immigration and Migration; Military Conflicts

Edit Reflection on Standards

Students will be able to...

* identify the key peoples involved in the Holocaust * draw parallels between WWII and the Holocaust * understand internal conflicts caused by race, religion and ideas * understand the treatment of minorities and POWs in concentration camps * identify certain individuals who were signficant in the Holocaust * see the change in time as persecution continued to progress * use internet links, concepts, and navigation systems * stay up to date with new kinds of free internet software (i.e. Diigo) * learn in an environment based around technology * use technology to aid in creativity and understanding of key concepts

These objectives meet the standards in several different ways. The WebQuest helps learners understand changes over time, conflicts between social/religious groups, make connections, and identify key elements in the content. Also, the WebQuest helps students excel in a technology driven world, learning to navigate the web, use online sources, keep up with current technologies and learning through technology.

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