“We Are the Polish Jews” Eastern European Jewry in the Interwar Period


Who was Polish Jewry before they were victims of the Holocaust? What were their dreams, political affiliations, religious beliefs, education and careers? What did they do for leisure? In this lesson, learners will examine the biographies of ten individuals, from a rabbi to a thief, intentionally presented as regular people with hopes, traditions, beliefs, interests  and challenges.  Through photographs, moderated discussion (questions are provided throughout the resource), and role play, students will be able to better understand and appreciate the vibrant tapestry of pre-war Polish Jewish life.

The learner will:

  1. Understand how learning about specific individuals impacts one’s capacity to empathize with the larger community

  2. know about the multi-faceted religious, political, and social groups that constituted pre-war Polish Jewry

be able to tell the story of one Jewish individual in the interwar period that resonated with them and why

When you click on the Yad Vashem resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. A rationale that articulates why this is an important resource to study

  2. Printable classroom materials

  3. Recommended methodology for structuring the lesson

  4. A glossary of terms

  5. Biographies

  6. Photo Gallery

Student handouts, Photographs for hanging in classroom

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