Jewish life in Warsaw before the Holocaust

You may be surprised to learn that many of the victims of the Holocaust were Polish Jews (3 million victims) and that 90% of Poland’s Jewish population were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War. The history of Poland’s Jews is an integral part of the history of Poland. Who were the Jewish people of Warsaw before the Holocaust?

In this lesson you will examine the important contributions that Warsaw’s Jewish community made to Poland’s cultural, political and social life. You will explore the diversity that existed within this community and recognise that there was no one way to be Jewish in Warsaw before the Holocaust. In exploring the cultural history of this large community you will understand what was lost in the Holocaust. Entire communities disappeared as a result of the Holocaust, communities filled with individuals each with their own invaluable contributions to make to the cultural life of Poland.

This lesson is suitable for students in Year 9 and above. It has been designed for student self-directed home study or for teacher directed home study. There is guidance to support either approach. The lesson can be completed in approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. We recommend that you divide the lesson into two manageable 40 minute lessons.


Lesson plan

Context Cards