Teaching students about the Holocaust

Two Victorian government schools share their experience teaching the Holocaust and its significance

McKinnon Primary School and Lilydale High School are each teaching the Holocaust, so students learn about the dangers of hatred and discrimination.

Both school programs help students address prejudice, value social cohesion and recognise the role they can play in upholding human rights.

For the reference of all teachers, their approaches are documented in two new case studies available on the Department's FUSE website.

These case studies are among a comprehensive suite of resources available to teachers to help strengthen Holocaust education.

As part of a 2020 Victorian Government commitment to strengthen Holocaust education, all government secondary school students in years 9 and 10 must learn about the Holocaust as part of the school’s History program.  

The Holocaust may also be taught in primary schools to explore broader human themes in the curriculum.

Holocaust education teaching approaches

The case studies give an overview of the approaches both McKinnon Primary School and Lilydale High School are taking to teach students about the Holocaust.

At McKinnon Primary School, Grade 6 students undertake a six-week unit investigating human rights, the challenges involved, ways to take action, and the interplay between morals and ethics.

At Lilydale High School, Year 10 History students learn through human experiences of hardship and survival to appreciate their own freedoms, explore Australian laws and democracy, and consider the need to uphold human rights. 

The approaches have common elements. Both schools:

  • make use of historically accurate teaching and learning resources
  • find genuine curriculum connections across many learning areas
  • focus on broader human themes of rights, democracy, and human experiences
  • use survivors’ voices to inspire students with stories of courage and adversity
  • support students to explore museum artefacts and engage with different texts
  • avoid graphic imagery, role play and presenting dilemmas
  • give students an active role in their learning such as conducting their own research.

Teaching resources

The Department's FUSE website has new education resources on the Holocaust, ready for secondary school teachers to use in the classroom.

Victorian teachers who took part in the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators helped developed the resources, which include:

  • lessons on the Second World War and the significance of the Holocaust
  • individual lesson ideas aligned to the English curriculum
  • guiding principles for teaching the Holocaust and its significance
  • links to professional learning opportunities
  • links to more than 280 quality-assured resources
  • additional resources for teaching about racism, genocide, rights, freedoms and resilience.

Find out more

For more information, refer to:

Image: Meet a survivor program, Jewish Holocaust Centre