Our textbook

Understanding the Holocaust: How and why did it happen?

Our research-informed Key Stage 3 textbook, Understanding the Holocaust: How and why did it happen? is the only one of its kind in the world. To date, over 60,000 copies have been distributed free of charge to over 2,000 schools.

Understanding the Holocaust: How and why did it happen? is the only research-informed school textbook on the Holocaust in the world. Published by Hodder Education, the textbook has been specifically designed for use at Key Stage 3.

Class sets of the textbook are available, free of charge, to any teacher in a state maintained school in England on completion of a short CPD course. The textbook is aimed at history teachers, but other teachers are eligible for a class set if they intend to use the book extensively.

The textbook has been written in direct response to the findings of our 2016 research into students’ knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust. It aims to improve understanding of the Holocaust by:

  • Providing an appropriate historical overview of key aspects of the Holocaust
  • Helping to develop understanding of the roots of antisemitism
  • Deepening knowledge of key individuals, places and events
  • Encouraging students to challenge common myths and misconceptions
  • Exercising and refining understanding of key historical concepts (e.g. change and continuity, significance, evidence, etc.)
  • Enabling students to establish a sound knowledge base so as to answer the questions of how and why did the Holocaust happen
  • Supporting students to appreciate the impact of the Holocaust on ordinary people
  • Inviting students to consider the historical importance of the Holocaust and its significance today

The textbook is supported by comprehensive Teacher Guidance materials. An exclusive, e-Inspection copy of the textbook is available here.

How to get your free class set

To apply for your free class set of 30 textbooks, you need to complete a short online CPD course. You can access this course here. The course is hosted by UCLeXtend. If you do not already have an account with UCLeXtend, you will need to create one. Please follow the sign-up process, and ensure that you follow the confirmation link which is emailed to you. You should then be able to ‘enrol’ on the course). Once the course has been completed, books will be sent out termly.

Full terms and conditions are available in the course. You can also view Frequently Asked Questions here.


We have launched an official evaluation study of the textbook.  If you have used our textbook in your teaching in any way, we would really appreciate your feedback. Please go to https://ucl.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/evaluation-of-cfhes-ks3-textbook-understanding-the-holoc to tell us your thoughts.

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