Jewish Life in the Soviet Union – What Was Lost

Essential Question: What aspects of Jewish life in the Soviet Union were destroyed in the Holocaust?
Suggested length of time: 60-90 minutes
Suggested age levels: For Grades 7-12

Remind students that Jewish people had a long and vibrant history within eastern Europe before World War II, much of which was destroyed in the war. Ask students to spend time examining the contents of the “Pre-War Jewish Life” section of the online exhibition, and allow them to search in the “Research” section containing the Museum’s archival materials for items that represent pre-war Jewish life.

After studying the site, students should create a visual narrative entitled “Jewish Life in the Soviet Union – What Was Lost.” Note that there was an obvious cost in lives and money, but the goal of this exercise is to consider what else was lost. They can use photographs, quotes, or artifacts obtained through the online exhibition.

When completed, display the collages around the classroom and allow time for students to observe their classmates’ work considering things that were or were not included in others’ visual narratives. Ask what lessons they take away from what they see. As part of the debriefing, have them also cite one image that stood out to them and explain why it did so.

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