Here are some specific questions you may want to think about as you peruse the Choices exhibit:

  • What choices did non-Jews have during the Holocaust? 
  • Why did some non-Jews choose to rescue Jews? What were some of the ways they did so?

  • What options did Jews have to resist? What were some ways that Jews did resist? In what ways were they effective?

  • Should we think of those who resisted as ordinary or extraordinary people? Why does that matter?

  • What questions does this raise for you about the Holocaust?

JOSEPH'S CHOICES
MYRA'S CHOICES
HE HELPED JEWS ESCAPE THE HOLOCAUST. HE DIED UNKNOWN.

ARTIFACT 1

Read about the mostly unknown Portuguese diplomat who saved thousands of Jews.

"For three days, he took to his bed in despair...Then he emerged full of energy. 

Guiding Questions:

  • What was the Portuguese government's Circular 14? How did that affect Jews?

  • What did Sousa Mendes do to help Jews?

  • Why did Sousa Mendes decide to be an upstander?

  • What consequences did he face?

"DEFIANCE" TRAILER AND TEXT

ARTIFACT 2

Video Length: 2:09

Watch the trailer to the movie Defiance, about the Bielski brothers and the partisans in the Belorussian forest. Then read the article below.

Guiding Questions:

  • How did the Bielski brothers resist the Nazis?

  • How did the Bielskis help others?

  • How did the Bielskis spend the rest of their lives?

  • What does this story teach us about resisting injustice?

FIGHTERS IN WARSAW GHETTO

ARTIFACT 3

Video Length: 8:28

Watch the testimony of a survivor about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Learn more about the extraordinary resistance movement.

Guiding Questions:

  • How did Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto resist the Nazis?

  • To what extent was the resistance successful?

  • What does this story teach us about resisting injustice?

RIGHTEOUS OF THE NATIONS

ARTIFACT 4

Learn about ordinary non-Jewish people who took the risk to help Jewish friends, neighbors, and strangers. Find out why Israel's Holocaust memorial museum has chosen to honor them.

Guiding Questions (For two rescuers):

  • How did this upstander save Jews?

  • Why did the upstander do what s/he did?

AMERICANS AND THE HOLOCAUST

ARTIFACT 5

Look into the United States' decisions during the Holocaust

Guiding Questions :

  • What did the United States government and the American people know during the Holocaust?

  • What were three options that the U.S. government had to help Jews? Why did the U.S. not do more?

  • What was the Evian Conference? What was its result?

  • What was the St. Louis? What happened to the passengers?

The Last Letter From Ghetto Revolt Commander Mordecai Anielewicz 

ARTIFACT 6

April 23, 1943

"It is impossible to put into words what we have been through. One thing is clear, what happened exceeded our boldest dreams...."

Guiding Questions:

  • How did Anielewicz view the fate of the Warsaw Ghetto resisters?

  • Despite their ultimate loss, why does he maintain that "great things are happening?"

  • How does he view the resistance movement?

RESERVE POLICE BATTALION 101

ARTIFACT 7

Learn about Christopher Browning's study of the members of the German Police Battalion who were given the option by their commander not to kill Jews.

Guiding Questions:

  • What was the offer that Major Wilhem Trapp gave his soldiers in Police Battalion 101?

  • What choice did most of the soldiers make?

  • What reasons did the soldiers (later on) give for why they participated in the massacres?

  • What does Browning believe were the reasons for their choices?