Coming of Age in the Holocaust / Coming of Age Now is an interactive curriculum for middle-school students and their teachers. Coming of Age is designed to accommodate classes of students working as a group. Pairs of classes may also work on this curriculum together.

As part of this curriculum, students read real stories of people their own age who lived through the Holocaust and will have the opportunity to:

  • Hear directly from survivors, through video testimonies
  • Participate in online discussions with their peers
  • Answer geography questions
  • Analyze primary documents and artifacts
  • Explore timelines of the survivors’ lives and create a timeline of their own lives
  • Complete a research project

The Coming of Age curriculum includes twelve stories of Holocaust survivors and one story of an individual who grew up in the Mandate of Palestine during the same period. Each story reflects unique, individual experiences, and as a group, the stories provide a library of resources for learning about the Holocaust through personal narratives. Find summaries here.

Students will reflect on the challenges survivors faced in maintaining their identities, responsibilities they assumed during difficult circumstances, sacrifices they made for others, and lessons they want to impart to the next generation. By studying the lives of survivors, students will grow in their understanding of the Holocaust and themselves, and develop a deep sense of what it means to come of age today.

Coming of Age is not a stand-alone curriculum for teaching about the Holocaust. It supplements a Holocaust curriculum by illustrating how real people’s lives were affected by historical events. For a review of best practices for teaching the Holocaust, try Meeting Hate with Humanity: Life During the Holocaust Teacher’s Guide.

You might also try these Holocaust resources:

Holocaust and Resistance
Unit designed for high school students by EDSITEment

Educator Tools for Teaching the Holocaust
US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Jewish Holocaust
Social Studies Central

A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust
Florida Center for Instructional Technology