Students explore human nature through the memoir of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor who vividly describes the horrors he experienced.
In many ways, Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel taught the world about the Holocaust. Their stories have profoundly changed the way that we understand one of the darkest moments in human history—and the way we understand our own present and future.
Students will begin this second unit of 8th grade by reading the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage adaptation of Anne Frank’s famous diary. The Diary of Anne Frank, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hacket (and then later revised in the 1990s by Wendy Kesselmen), tells the story of the two years that Anne spent in hiding with her family in a desperate attempt to avoid capture by the Nazis.
Students will then read Night, often considered among the most important memoirs of the 20th century. Written by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, the text recounts the author’s experience as a teenager in a Nazi concentration camp.
While both Eliezer and Anne’s stories speak to all readers, they are particularly evocative for young adults. Anne was thirteen when she entered the Secret Annex, and Wiesel was just sixteen when he and his family were transported to Auschwitz. Both texts center the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of a young person living through unimaginable circumstances. Through their stories, students will begin to make connections between individual lives, historical events, and larger truths about what it means to be human.
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Video: “The Path to Nazi Genocide” by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Video: “The Short Life of Anne Frank” (YouTube)
Book: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Bantam Dell, 1994)
Speech: “The Perils of Indifference” by Elie Wiesel (American Rhetoric)
This assessment accompanies Unit 2 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
annihilate anguish conflagration cynical delusion dehumanize indifference peril poignant surreal systematic untenable
Voiceover (VO) act author's purpose central idea connotation direct address dialogue figurative language ironic mood motif monologue scene set stage directions symbol tone
To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 8th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
“The Path to Nazi Genocide”
Explain the events, ideas, and individuals that created the conditions that led to the Holocaust.
The Diary of Anne Frank pp. 9 – 15 — end after “ANNE. Look. It left a mark.”
“The Short Life of Anne Frank” — 1:48-13:15
Explain who Anne Frank was as an historical figure, and how the playwrights develop the reader’s understanding of Anne as a character in The Diary of Anne Frank.
The Diary of Anne Frank pp. 15 – 26 — (from “ANNE: Do you know Hanneli Goslar?”) to (end at “ANNE:... and, by all accounts, an excellent dentist”)
Identify specific incidents and lines of text that reveal aspects of character dynamics in The Diary of Anne Frank.
The Diary of Anne Frank pp. 26 – 39 — (Start at “A delighted low laugh”)
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl — 19 & 20 November, 1942
Explain how text features and structures specific to dramatic works develop the reader’s understanding of characters and plot in The Diary of Anne Frank.
The Diary of Anne Frank pp. 40 – 53
Explain how specific events and lines of text reveal aspects of characters and character relationships in The Diary of Anne Frank.
The Diary of Anne Frank pp. 53 – 61
Explain how the playwrights use specific words and phrases to develop mood, tone, and meaning in The Diary of Anne Frank.
Night pp. 3 – 11 — end after “Then came the ghettos”
Explain how events in Night reveal aspects of characters and suggest larger truths about human nature.
Night pp. 11 – 22
Explain why Wiesel uses specific words, phrases, and punctuation in his writing, and the impact of these choices on the reader.
Identify and explain the meaning of symbols and other motifs in Night.
Night pp. 23 – 34 — end at “Do you remember Mrs. Schäcter, in the train?”
Draw conclusions about the passengers in the cattle car—and human nature more generally—based on the incident with Mrs. Schäcter.
Night pp. 34 – 47
Explain how the prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau were systematically dehumanized and stripped of their identities, and the impact on Eliezer.
Night pp. 47 – 58 — from page break to page break
Explain how being in Auschwitz impacts characters, and what characters’ behavior reveals about human nature.
Night pp. 58 – 65
Explain how specific words and phrases develop meaning in Night, and how they affect the reader.
Write a strong analytical paragraph describing Wiesel's changing relationship with God.
Night pp. 85 – 97
Explain how Wiesel uses figurative language and specific word choice to develop mood and meaning in Night.
Night pp. 98 – 115
Explain how specific incidents in Night reveal aspects of characters, as well as larger truths about human nature.
Night — pp. vii-x (end at “it is still not right”); xiv-xv
Analyze the preface to Night to determine Wiesel’s purpose for writing.
“The Perils...” — (Focus on paragraphs 6-18)
Explain how Wiesel develops central ideas in his speech, “The Perils of Indifference.”
The Diary of Anne Frank
Engage in a Socratic Seminar with peers, demonstrating a deep understanding of the text and topic by posing and responding to questions, and providing evidence to support ideas.
Outline the stages of genocide in preparation for creating a presentation.
Compile and evaluate research information into a digital presentation.
Logically organize the information in their presentations and include all required components.
Present digital presentations using appropriate volume, eye contact, emphasis, and pronunciation.