This course has been cancelled and registration is not available. We hope to offer it at a future date. Please contact MCHE’s Director of Education with any questions.

1941 collage2

January – May 2016
4:30-7:30 p.m.

Conference Room C
Jewish Community Campus
5801 West 115th Street
Overland Park, Kansas

In 1941, after securing the Western Front, Germany again turned its attention to the East. Conditions worsened for the Polish Jews living in the ghettos, and the military war against the Soviet Union resulted in radicalized policy toward the Jews and the first moves toward genocide.

These content sessions, taught by MCHE’s director of Education Jessica Rockhold, feature short lectures, analysis of primary source materials, testimony and resources for classroom use. Educators in grades 7-12 may register for individual sessions or the entire series. Sessions occur monthly January-May 2016.

A registration fee of $15 per session includes a light supper and materials.

Participants who register for the complete series may earn 1 credit hour of continuing education credit through Baker University (pending approval). Registration will occur on January 13th and requires an additional payment to Baker University.


January 13, 2016 – Life in the Ghettos of Occupied Poland

The ghettos were the last place Polish Jews functioned as families and communities. In the midst of deteriorating conditions and extreme hardship they sought not just to survive, but to live. This session explores not only the cyclical conditions designed to undermine these communities but the means employed by the Jewish community to sustain their lives and their culture.


February 10, 2016 – Jews on the Eastern Front

Jewish life east of the Molotov-Ribbentrop line followed a unique trajectory during the Holocaust. Initially sheltered from German occupation, in 1941 this Jewish community was the first to face murderous Nazi policy. In response to this mass murder, Jews in the east formed significant communal responses. Among these were some of the most successful armed resistance movements of the Holocaust, the partisans. This session will explore the destruction of East European Jewish lives and culture, but also the role of resistance in the East.


Reinhard Heydrich

March 9, 2016 – Preparing for the Final Solution

As mass murder commenced along the Eastern Front throughout 1941, Nazi leaders in Berlin were making preparations for a “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” Throughout that summer orders were given, decisions were made and methods were tested in preparation for the establishment of six killing centers. This session explores that summer and examines not only the methods by which the Final Solution was achieved, but also the rationale behind the expanded killing operation.


testimony collage

April 6, 2016 – Leaving a Record: Jewish Witnesses

In the midst of continuing their lives among deteriorating conditions, many Jews caught up in the Holocaust endeavored to leave testimony. For some, this took the form of keeping a diary. For others it meant a concerted communal effort to document a given time and place for posterity, such as the Oneg Shabbat Archive in the Warsaw Ghetto. This session explores the record left by Jewish witnesses, many of whom did not survive.


May 4, 2016 – Jewish Experiences in the Axis Countries

While Jews under German occupation experienced persecution and murder as a direct result of Nazi policy, Jews living in countries under a military alliance with Germany often experienced varied levels of persecution as a result of the national leadership. In 1941, many of these Jewish communities began to experience changes to their status. This session explores the relationships of these Jewish communities with the Axis governments and their ultimate fate in the Holocaust.

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