|The Diary of Anne Frank
Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
Theme: The Holocaust
Grades: Grades 7-8
The play The Diary of Anne Frank is a reenactment of events
from the diary of a Jewish girl who hid with her family from the Nazis
in Holland. For decades this award-winning play, along with the diary
on which it is based, has been viewed as an insightful portrait of courage,
dignity, and perseverance.
- Small-Group Work: Projecting.
Divide the class into groups of three to five students. Ask each group
to think about what problems would likely evolve from living under
the circumstances they will shortly read about -- hiding for several
years with people who are basically strangers and with very little
space, major restrictions on noise, and no opportunity to go outside.
Each group should report back with two or three conflicts that they
envision as inevitable. The class can then discuss the similarities
and differences in group responses.
- Linking to Today; Conflicts Between Groups.
Ask students to create two columns on their paper and to label one
column "Part of World" and one column "Description of Conflict." What
conflicts are they aware of today or in recent years that have pitted
one group of people against another? Students' answers may include
Afhanistan, Ireland, Rwanda, the Middle East, Bosnia -- to mention
just a few trouble spots. What, if anything, do these conflicts have
in common and how do they relate to the Nazis' "war" against the Jews?
Making Numbers Meaningful.
How can students grasp the enormity of genocide involving six million
people? Challenge students who enjoy working with numbers to come
up with a math equivalent for helping their classmates to appreciate
what that number means -- in terms they can relate to. How does
six million people compare to the population of your school? city/town?
state? How many football stadiums would be needed to hold six million
people? How many train cars in which the prisoners would stand,
jammed together for days on end? Encourage students to think of
their own standards of comparison.
- Visceral Visual.
Anne liked to write, and so she kept a diary of her emotions. Someone
else in Anne's situation might have painted or drawn as a way to express
their feelings. Perhaps some students can best respond to Anne's experiences
in the Holocaust through the graphic arts. Students may paint or draw
pictures of hope or of anxiety or of pain. Encourage them to choose
an appropriate medium for their feelings -- paints, pastels, charcoal,
or pen and pencil. They may choose to make representational art or
- Holocaust Survivors.
Have your students use the internet or the library to locate first-hand
accounts of Holocaust survivors. After reading several of them, focus
on an element of survivors' experiences that you want to bring to
the class's attention -- for example, separation from parents, food
supplies in camps, relocation after the war. Have your students prepare
a written report in which you discuss one element of the Holocaust
as seen by two or more survivors.
- War Speeches.
Have students research speeches by some of the great orators of the
World War II period such as Churchill and Roosevelt. Suggest that
they try and find the actual speeches on a recording. Encourage students
to try to imagine the effect the speeches would have had on the British
and American citizens of the time, as well as on people like Mr. Kraler.
Students should research the elements that led people to call these
orators great and then write a report. Have them consider: would the
same speeches, delivered in the same way, have an equal impact today?
Why or why not?