Activity 5: The Legal Effect: How Laws can Persecute or Protect

Warning: This lesson includes video testimony referring to violent abuse in a pre-war concentration camp.

Age group:

Years 7-11 (ages 11-16)

Progression Steps 3 and 4

In this activity, students will learn about the Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany before World War 2 and reflect on the concept of universal human rights.


Students will learn about the chronology of Nazi persecution of German Jews during the period 1933-1939. The lesson integrates the video testimony of Irene Kirstein Watts, a Kindertransport refugee, with resources relating to key historical events and Nazi laws in the lead up to World War 2. This aims to provide a foundation to examine how prejudice and human rights violations can contribute to violence, mass atrocity, and genocide.


At the same time, the activity encourages students to consider the human impact that this persecution had on individual families, emphasising the humanity of the victims of the Holocaust.


Finally, students will examine the values that underpin human rights and the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, allowing students to reflect on the importance of such rights and how they may be protected.


The activity can be split easily into two sessions where necessary – Tasks 1-3 can be covered in the first session and Tasks 4 and 5 can be completed in a second session.

Activity 5: The Legal Effect - Teachers' Notes

Activity 5: The Legal Effect - Handout - Anti-Jewish Laws

Activity 5: The Legal Effect - Handout - Historical Events 1933-39

Activity 5: The Legal Effect - Handout - Photographs

Activity 5: The Legal Effect - Irene Watts Transcript

Activity 5: The Legal Effect - Student Worksheet

Activity 5: The Legal Effect - Video clip