Holocaust Heroes

Holocaust Activities for Students
Holocaust Heroes Activity for Students

Some Holocaust heroes include Raoul Wallenberg, Giovanni Palatucci, Oskar Schindler, Andre Trocmé, Irena Sendler, Nicholas Winton, Chiune Sugihara, and Varian Fry.  All have different stories and backgrounds, but they all share a common thread. All risked their lives to save Jewish people during the Holocaust. They are often referred to as “Righteous Among the Nations.” The State of Israel gives this title to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis.

Holocaust Heroes Activity for Students

Holocaust Heroes Teaching Activity

Cover some of the most difficult teaching standards with these compare-and-contrast activities. Students must even synthesize the 8 articles to form conclusions.

  1. The booklet contains brief summaries of the lives of 8 non-Jewish people who helped save lives during the Jewish Holocaust. Students read the brief accomplishments and then complete the charts.
  2. After completing the charts, students answer the compare and contrast questions found following the booklet.
  3. Students complete the printable that compares Henrik from Number the Stars to the real heroes of the Holocaust.
  4. The printable contains answer keys for all activities.
Holocaust Heroes Activity

Where to Get the Holocaust Heroes Materials

The handout includes the printables for the activity. For teachers who want to go digital, this pdf contains a link to the Google Slides version.

Holocaust Heroes - Wallenberg

Raoul Wallenberg

Raoul Wallenberg was the First Secretary to the Swedish Embassy in Budapest in July 1944. He is credited with rescuing more Jewish people during the Holocaust than any other person or nation. Wallenberg rescued around 100,000 people. He did this by issuing “protective passports.” Wallenberg also rented over 30 buildings to house Jewish refugees. In front of these buildings, he flew the Swedish flag. He also put up fake signs reading “The Swedish Research Institute.”


Giovanni Palatucci

Giovanni Palatucci was an Italian police official and lawyer. He used his authority as Chief of the Foreigners’ Office to forge travel papers for Jewish people. This permitted hundreds of Jews an escape to Fiume where they settled. Palatucci also destroyed documented records for 5,000 Jewish refugees. This prevented them from being sent to concentration camps.

Holocaust Heroes - Schindler

Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist. He had originally hired Jewish slave laborers for his ammunition factory in Poland. When he witnessed innocent people packed onto trains heading for concentration camps, he began smuggling children out of the ghettos. He spent millions bribing and paying off the Nazis. Schindler allowed Jewish women and children along with disabled and unskilled workers to work in his factory. He even moved the workers several times to keep them out of harm’s way. Schindler died penniless because he spent his wealth helping the Jews.


Andre Trocme

Andre Trocmé was a French Protestant pastor. He arranged for the rescue of between 3,000 to 5,000 Jews. He asked private families to take in the refugees and children.

Holocaust Heroes - Sendler

Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker. She began helping Jewish families by producing thousands of false documents. She joined a resistance group Zegota (Council for Aid to Jews). Sendler was appointed head of the children’s department. Sendler organized 2,500 children to be smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto. She gave these children new identities and placed them with Polish families. They also were sent to orphanages and convents.


Nicholas Winton

Nicholas Winton was a British Stockbroker. When he visited Prague, he saw a large number of refugees. A group of British organized camps for the elderly and vulnerable, but nothing was being done for the children. Winton created the Czech Kindertransport. This train transport saved 669 children. The train brought the children to England and Sweden. He found foster parents for these children. Winston’s work had to stop with the outbreak of World War II.

Holocaust Heroes - Sugihara

Chiune Sugihara

Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat. He began issuing visas to help refugees leave Lithuania. When the Soviets took over Lithuania, he was reassigned to Berlin. As Sugihara headed to the train station, he discovered a mob of refugees with unstamped passports. Sugihara threw the official stamp into the crowd. This action saved between 2,000 to 10,000 Jews.


Varian Fry

Varian Fry was an American Journalist. He witnessed the Nazi treatment of the Jews on his trip to Berlin in 1935. Fry raised funds for a European anti-Nazi movement. After France was invaded in 1940, Fry went to Marseille to run his network. Fry secured visas for around 3,000 anti-Nazi and Jewish refugees. Many were prominent artists and intellectuals.

Gay Miller

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