Sources of the Holocaust

There are countless texts available for students of the history of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. However of all the books on the market the series edited by J. Noakes and G. Pridham have been my most regular source of primary material for A level classes over the last ten years. The documents and commentaries are first class. Always on the lookout for alternative materials I was pleased recently to come across a similarly formatted and, in my opinion, equally impressive book devoted entirely to the Jewish Holocaust (1939-1945). Sources of the Holocaust edited by Steve Hochstadt is rapidly becoming my first stop when looking for documents that provide a clear insight into the chilling events of the 30s and 40s. Particularly interesting are the sections on ‘The Context of Christian Antisemitism’ and ‘The Creation of Monsters in Germany: Jews and Others’. In twenty eight pages of fascinating documents the reader is guided through the development of antisemitism from the writing of the Gospel According to St. Matthew to the murder of a Polish labourer named Konrad Pietzuch in August 1932. A gripping introduction to an excellent study that should be on the shelves of every history department.

Hochstadt, Steve. Sources of the Holocaust. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Print. (£19.99)

ISBN 978-0-333-96345-6

Active History Creative history

Getting Creative – Puppet Theatres in the History Classroom

I’m not sure if this is in any way a new idea but I’ve had some really fun lessons using this idea. The pupils love it and other teachers are starting to use the same approach in other subjects. When you think about it its only a simple development of the tried and tested “create a story board to tell the story of…..” but more flexible. The pupils are hooked from the start as they have to research the detail so that they can put their character’s point of view across and of course they get the chance to create their puppet. The added twist of having to make the ‘scenery’ makes them think about the historical context and working with their team ensures they consider the inter-relationships. In this example we were looking at comparative experiences under dictatorships during the 1930s.