Holocaust and “Diary of Anne Frank” Unit
Context: Taught at Nicollet Junior High in Burnsville, MN in the spring of 2007. It was taught to regular
class eighth graders as part of the required curriculum. The students were predominantly white with
about 20% of the class being minorities. There are approximately 25 students in each class. This is a six-
Unit Focus and Rationale: We are focusing on how insiders and outsiders are treated and thought of and
how stereotypes impact action. We will see how this played out in America with the PBS documentary
“Not in Our Town.” We will then read the play, “Diary of Anne Frank” by Frances Goodrich and Albert
Hackett as printed in McDougall Littell’s Language of Literature textbook while listening to the provided
compact discs of the play. We will also watch the movie version to see how this impacted a few
individuals. We will also watch Allan Holzman’s film “Survivors of the Holocaust” to get an idea of how
people survived the war. We will focus on character development and change, motivation, perspectives
and some literary techniques.
Alignment with Minnesota standards:
I. B. 1. Acquire, understand and use vocabulary by learning words through explicit vocabulary instruction
and independent reading, and appropriately use these words in writing.
I. D. 9. Analyze the characteristics of literary forms.
I. D. 10. Interpret the effect of literary and structural devices.
I. D. 11. Demonstrate how literary works reflect the historical contexts that shaped them.
I. D. 13. Read, analyze, and critique dramatic selections by comparing and contrasting ways in which
character, scene, dialogue, and staging contribute to the theme and the dramatic effect.
I. D. 14. Respond to literature using ideas and details from the text to support reactions and make literary
First Week – Prejudices and stereotypes.
Prejudices and stereotypes are common in all cultures. Every group has insiders and outsiders and all
often hold some preconceived ideas about one another. This is true of small people groups and large
ones, and is found in primitive and modern societies.
Activities for first week.
Notes on social outcasts in Europe – what was the reasoning behind them all.
In Computer lab students research as much as they can on the history of the Holocaust and
WWII. The students fill out a worksheet as they work. See Appendix A.
Students look at “Victims of the Holocaust” pamphlets and create collages or drawings that
represent each group. Each student is assigned one group of people to make the collage for.
These are put on the wall for the remainder of the unit.
Journal 1: Pretend that you are one of these “Social Outsiders” that later became a victim of the
Holocaust. Write a diary entry about your experiences and feelings. Include information such as
how the new laws affected your life and how you feel about them. Mention your hopes for the
Discrimination still happens today. Students watch film “Not in Our Town” for two days
Journal 2: Choose one of two questions. “What did the residents of Billings, Montana do that
was different from the Germans during WWII? What lessons did they learn from the Holocaust
that gave them the strength to stand against the white supremacists? What gave them the
courage to stand up for those being persecuted?” Or “If hate groups were taking action in your
community against minorities, how would you respond?”
Read background information on Anne Frank from the intro to the play “Diary of Anne Frank”.
Students are given the WWII Film Assignment along with a Parent Permission letter. The
permission letter was included since many WWII films may contain content that parents may
find objectionable for 8th graders. They are also provided with a list of some WWII movies (not
shown here). See Appendix E.
Begin listening and reading along to the play – Act One
Students are given a Character List to help them notice details. See Appendix C.
Five vocabulary words from the play are gone over with the students.
Journal #3 Describe Anne’s personality and characteristics.
Journal #4 After Act 1 Scenes 1, 2: Choose two of the characters. How does each person respond
to going into hiding? What are their expectations for living in the Annex? How do they react to
their new restrictions?
Quiz on vocabulary
Third Week – Listening and reading along to the play: Act 1 and 2
List of five vocabulary words
Journal #5 Choose two personality conflicts that occur in these scenes 2-3. How does each
impact the other characters and how does it increase the tension in the living arrangements?
Journal #6 Compare and Contrast Anne’s parents and Peter’s parents. Include what their
reactions to Mr. Dussel’s arrival reveal about each character.
Journal #7: How has Anne and Peter’s relationship changed over time?
Journal #8: What impact does Mr. Van Daan’s stealing have on the people in the Annex?
Quiz on vocabulary words
Forth Week – Finishing the Play, Discussion and Extending
Journal #9: What foreshadowing did you see in the play that hinted at the ending? List three
examples and explain what it showed the readers.
Discuss the play. Students write down two quotes that they found important and write down a
question relating to each. These are used in the class discussion of the play.
Students write a letter to Otto Frank, Anne’s father about their experience in reading the play.
The final drafts are matted on construction paper and posted around the room.
Students watch the movie “Diary of Anne Frank.” It takes three days.
Review for Exam on fourth day. Also discuss differences between movie and play.
Students take Anne Frank Final Exam on fifth day. See Appendix D.
Students watch clips from film “Survivors of the Holocaust.”
Journal #10 Choose one of the stories that impacted or touched you. Explain your thoughts and
feelings about the story.
Six photographs from the U.S. Holocaust Museum are posted around room. (Mountain of shoes,
Danish rescue boat, milk cans, different Stars of David and other required patches, etc.)
Students are given the following prompt. Look at the six photographs around the room. Write
one paragraph for each photograph about either an interesting fact that complements or adds
to your knowledge about WWII/Holocaust, or your personal response to the photo.
For last two days, students give short presentations on the film they watched using the posters
This unit allows the students who are both visual and auditory learners to understand the play, as they
will be reading along as they listen to the play. The several films that were watched are engaging and
informative and the students will gain a lot from them. The students will also be able to express their
understanding through art with the colleges and movie poster. The writing is both personal response
This unit went very well. The students enjoyed the films and the play immensely and gained a
detailed understanding of what went on in the Holocaust as well as some of the sources of the anti-
Semitism that pervaded Europe. They were able to make connections from history to the events and see
how it affected individual people such as Anne Frank and the survivors interviewed in the film. We
followed this unit by reading “Farewell to Manzanar,” a memoir from the Japanese internment camps.
The students brought away from these two units a sense of wanting to eradicate prejudices and
WWII and Holocaust Research Worksheet Name _____________________ Hour________
While you are in the lab today you are working on learning as much as you can about the events of
WWII and the Holocaust. Pay attention to events that lead to one another and the people who are
involved. What might have been their motivation? What were the risks taken if the people resisted and
what benefits did some get by cooperating with the Nazis.
1. Summarize Hitler’s background before his involvement in the National-Socialism Party. What
factors led to his hatred of Jews?
2. What did the National Socialist Party promise the people before the election?
3. What did the National Socialist party do that was beneficial to the German people?
4. How did Hitler become a dictator? (what were the steps that led to this development)
5. What were the “Racial purity” laws?
6. What is eugenics?
7. What did the Jewish people have to wear on their clothing?
8. List four of the restrictions Jewish people faced in Nazi Germany
9. What happened during KristalInacht?
10. What were the penalties Jewish people faced for leaving Germany?
11. Describe the “White Rose” resistance group. What did they do and what the results?
12. What happened at the Evian Conference?
13. Who was Anne Frank and why is she so famous?
14. How did Hitler die?
15. Name three of the people on trial, their charges and sentences in the Nuremburg Trials.
16. What other groups were targeted for discrimination during the Third Reich? Why were they
Nazi Victims Quiz NAME: _____________________________
SHORT ANSWER: Write your answer in complete sentences below. Be specific!
1) Why were the Roma/Sinti people persecuted by the Nazis?
2) Why did the Nazis fear homosexuality?
3) What did the Jehovah Witnesses do that made the Nazis angry? (This is why the Nazis began to
4) What did the Poles experience when the Nazis invaded Poland?
5) Explain two of the ways the Nazis tried to get rid of handicapped people.
PARAGRAPH: Write your answer in complete sentences. Use may continue on the back of this page.
6) Choose two of the persecuted groups and compare / contrast the way that Nazi laws affected
Anne Frank Character Sheet
Describe the personality traits, expectations, actions, and anything else you can think of for each
character listed below.
Otto Frank (Anne’s father)
Edith Frank (Anne’s mother)
Peter Van Daan
Mrs. Van Daan
Mr. Van Daan
Anne Frank Test Name: __________________ Hour: _____
Match characters to their description. 1 point each.
____ 1) Anne Frank a) Always fears the worst, grumpy.
____ 2) Margot Frank b) Always worried about food, selfish.
____ 3) Mr. Otto Frank c) Protective and helpful, always cheerful.
____ 4) Mrs. Edith Frank d) A leader, always know what to do.
____ 5) Mr. Van Daan e) Focuses on the children, always polite.
____ 6) Mrs. Van Daan f) Always helpful, is quiet and sweet.
____ 7) Peter g) Optimistic, talkative, independent.
____ 8) Mr. Dussel h) Quiet, protective of mother, shy.
____ 9) Miep i) Worried, gets ulcers, tries to be cheerful.
___ 10) Mr. Kraler j) Loves fur coat, always fears the worst.
Multiple choice. 2 points each.
1) Why do the characters arrive at the Annex wearing several layers of clothing?
A) The weather is cold.
B) The furnace is broken.
C) They would look suspicious carrying luggage.
2) Which are the following actions shows Anne’s growing sensitivity to other people’s feelings?
A) Anne sends her mother away after her nightmare.
B) Anne sings a song for Hanukkah.
C) Anne defends Peter’s cat to Mr. Dussel.
D) Anne explains that her father is the only one she loves.
3) In the crisis following the lampshade crash, Mr. Frank’s actions show that he is:
A) Unconcerned about his own safety.
B) Worried about the condition of the hiding place
C) A rash, thinking person
D) The most logical thinker in the group.
4) What happens after Mr. Van Daan steals the bread?
A) He is discovered, Mrs. Frank begins to throw him out, the news of the invasion makes
everyone happy again and they continue to live together.
B) He is discovered, Mrs. Frank throws out the Van Daan family, the Van Daans are picked
up by the Green police.
C) He is not discovered, the food supply gets lower and lower, eventually Mouschi is killed
and eaten by all except Peter.
D) He is not discovered, the food supply gets lower and lower, the invasion begins and they
are liberated from their hiding place by the Allies.
5) What happened at the end of the play?
A) The thief revealed the hiding place and all were sent to concentration camps, however,
B) Miep was tortured into revealing the hiding place, all were sent to concentration camps
and none survived.
C) The thief revealed the hiding place, all were sent to a concentration camp, and only Otto
D) The workman revealed the hiding place, all were sent to a concentration camp and only
Short answer. 2 points each. Write in full sentences.
1) Where does the play take place?
2) Why do the Franks, Van Daans and Mr. Dussel go into hiding?
3) What was Mrs. Frank’s reaction to Anne’s preference to her father?
4) How does Anne and Peter’s relationship change over time? Why did it change? Be sure to
explain what it was like at the beginning of the play and at the end.
5) What special thing does Anne do during for Hanukkah?
6) What does the sugar cake incident reveal about Miep, Mr. Van Daan, Mrs. Van Daan, Mr. Dussel
and Anne? (5 points)
Mr. Van Daan
Mrs. Van Daan
7) Why does Mr. Van Daan want to sell Mrs. Van Daan’s fur coat? Why does this upset her so
8) Why are the families upset by Anne and Peter’s growing relationship?
9) How does the news of the invasion impact the Franks, Van Daans and Dussel? How did it change
10) How and why does Anne put her father “to shame” at the end of the play?
Written response. 7 points.
Discuss the mood at the end of the play. Use at least two examples of how the mood was created.
April 16, 2007
The 8th grade students have just begun a Holocaust and WWII Unit this past week in
both their Language Arts and History class. They have just begun reading The Diary of
To supplement these learning experiences, I am asking that the students choose a movie
related to WWII or the Holocaust in some way. Each student will view his or her chosen
film outside of school and then write a film summary and a reflection on the film. They
should then make a poster for their film. It can be a pretend “promotional” movie
poster or a traditional school presentation poster. They will present these posters to the
class at the end of the unit.
A movie guide is also attached to this letter. Students should select films that are
deemed appropriate by parents/guardians. Please help your child in the selection
process. If a film seems too dark or graphic, there are plenty of other options. For
example, Sophie’s Choice and The Pawnbroker may be too dark and difficult for 8th
graders, even though they are listed on the movie guide. Some good examples of
appropriate films are The Sound of Music and Swing Kids.
Student may watch their selected films together. However, each summary, reflection
and poster on the film must be done independently. The film choice must be approved
by 5/25. The students are to watch the film and complete the questions by 6/1. On 6/4
we will have a discussion about the films in class.
For extra credit, students may watch additional films and write a short analysis on the
I hope you have fun with this! If you can, join in to view and discuss the film with your
student. If you have any questions, please let me know.
952-707-2659 mailbox 8180
Student name _______________________________________________
Film selected _______________________________________________
Parent/Guardian signature ___________________________________________________
WWII Film Study Assignment Guide
You will choose a film on WWII or the Holocaust. After viewing the film you have chosen,
answer the following questions in your reflection. You may want to view the film several times.
Then use your answers to create a poster to present your film to the class. You may make a
movie promotional poster or a traditional school presentation poster. Be sure to use lots of
detail and examples!
Who is the main character?
Describe the main character in detail.
Is the main character multi-dimensional or flat? Explain your choice and give reasons for
Does the main character change and grow throughout the film or do they remain the
same? What do they learn or fail to learn? Give examples.
Describe two of the other important characters and explain how they interacted with
the main character.
Discuss the theme(s) of the film.
What was the purpose or goal of the film?
Discuss how the theme relates to the purpose of the film. Explain.
What aspects were especially effective?
o Film techniques
o Lighting techniques
o Camera angles
o Use of color
o Use of symbols
o Use of special effects
What are the strengths of the film? Be specific.
What are the weaknesses of the film? Be specific.
What did you learn historically from the film? Be specific.