Jewish Decisions during the Holocaust – A Critical Thinking Lesson

Created by Jessica Rockhold. Revised by Laura Patton, January 2024.
Midwest Center for Holocaust Education

Grade Level
8th-12th grade

Social Studies
Language Arts/Reading

Time Needed
2-3 class period(s)

Jewish responses to the Holocaust are best described as “choiceless choices.” They were put in positions to make judgments and decisions without there being real, viable alternatives to their situation. Despite this, many decisions were made.

Students often have a difficult time understanding why Jews did not “just leave” or “just shoot a Nazi.” This critical thinking exercise is designed to help them understand the dilemmas and decisions faced by Jews during the Holocaust and to put that into the context of real people’s lives with the help of primary source testimony.

Jewish Decisions – Lesson Plan
Jewish Decisions – Teacher Guide
Jewish Decisions – Student Notesheet
Jewish Decisions – Holocaust Timeline

Be a part of our future.

Our mission is to teach the history of the Holocaust, applying its lessons to counter indifference, intolerance, and genocide.

Consider making a gift today.


Get in touch with us.

5801 West 115th Street STE #106,
Overland Park, KS 66211

(913) 327-8192

Contact Us