Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust’

Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Liberation of Auschwitz

Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27. It was established by the UN in 2005 on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945, but the date had been observed by many countries for years. Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps—more than a million people were killed there in Hitler’s plan to eliminate Europe’s eleven million Jews.

Knowing that the Allies were closing in, SS leader Heinrich Himmler had ordered the evacuation of concentration camps in hopes of keeping prisoners from falling into Allied hands and telling their stories, as well as to keep them as bargaining chips in possible negotiations at the end of World War II. At Auschwitz in the days before liberation, hundreds had been killed and around 60,000 had been forced to march to Polish cities 30 miles or more away. Those who could not keep up were shot and many died from the cold and starvation—maybe as many as 15,000 did not make it.

When the Soviets finally arrived at Auschwitz, they found more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, most of whom were sick or dying.

Initially, the camp was established to hold Polish political prisoners. It wasn’t until after the January 1942 Wannsee Conference that Auschwitz would become a destination for Jews and other people who were deemed undesirable to the Nazis. One of Himmler’s top deputies, Reinhard Heydrich, convened the meeting of many high-ranking German officials to come up with the implementation of “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” Heydrich, dubbed by Hitler as “the man with the iron heart,” was a chief architect of the Holocaust, having had a large part in justifying the invasion of Poland, the planning of Kristallnact and the formation of the Einsatzgruppen in addition to being largely responsible for carrying out the plans for the extermination camps.

As Allied forces made their way through German-held territory, other camps were liberated, ending the sickening Nazi effort at genocide.

Of course, the Holocaust has now become part of the history curriculum (and other curricula), as we continue to examine how the darkness in the heart of a man could lead to the deaths of six million people. It is a difficult subject. eLibrary is here to help educators tackle it with a rich variety of articles, photos, quality website links, maps and more, including the stories of survivors. Many of these assets are gathered together for easy access in our Research Topics, which provide everything from overviews to in-depth analysis to help your students get started on their research or to supplement your instruction.

Holocaust Memorials Research Topic

Holocaust Memorials Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Holocaust Remembrance Day is a good time to examine the lives lost and to reflect on how we can respect human dignity. Following is a partial list of Research Topics relevant to the subject. Other RTs and plenty of individual resources can be discovered by searching in the new eLibrary or by browsing through our Common Assignments and Subjects trees, which have an engaging graphical interface. (Quick tip: After you have done a search, click on “Other Sources” to get at Research Topics more easily.)

If you don’t have a subscription to eLibrary, get a free trial here.



Holocaust Memorials

Nazi Concentration Camps

Reinhard Heydrich


Many of our Holocaust-related RTs have been assembled in this jump page:

ProQuest Research Topic Guide: Holocaust

70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial

Nuremberg Trials (1945-1949)

Nuremberg Trials Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

It is almost Thanksgiving, so it’s a good time to be thankful that we don’t have to deal with Nazis. Seventy years ago this Friday (November 20, 1945) marked the beginning of “the greatest trial in history.” The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals held in Germany by the Allies (U.S., Soviet Union, England and France) after a hard-won World War II. The best-known of the Nuremberg trials was the Trial of Major War Criminals, held from November 20, 1945, to October 1, 1946. Conducted by the International Military Tribunal, Allied prosecutors sought indictments against 24 high-ranking political and military leaders of the Third Reich who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes. Missing the festivities were Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels, all of whom had committed suicide in the spring of 1945.

Holocaust Research Topic

Holocaust Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Hermann Goring Research Topic

Herman Goering Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary










By the end of the first and most famous trial, the Tribunal found all but three of the defendants guilty. Twelve were sentenced to death, and the rest were given prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison. The death sentences were carried out October 16, 1946, by hanging. Hermann Goering, Hitler’s designated successor, committed suicide the night before his execution with a cyanide capsule. The Nuremberg Trials are now regarded as a milestone toward the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court, and it set an important precedent for handling future instances of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

On a lighter note, you can enjoy, either on DVD or Blu-ray, the fine 1961 film “Judgment at Nuremberg,” starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Maximilian Schell and Montgomery Clift, among others. It was directed by Stanley Kramer and has been selected for preservation in the United States Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Educators and librarians can use eLibrary resources, as well as the 1961 film, to enhance classroom discussions about this important end-of-World War II topic.


Hitler and the Nazis: A History in Documents (Book)

ProQuest Research Topics

The Reader’s Companion to American History (Reference Book)

World War II (Magazine)

World War II: A Student Companion (Book)


Six ProQuest Resources for Holocaust Remembrance Day

We teach so that genocide on a mass scale, the specialty of the past century, can be circumvented in the future.”
― Bogdan Michalski, Why Should We Teach about the Holocaust?

As the quote above states, learning about genocide is more than a history lesson–it is an essential life lesson. Never forget. For this reason, the United Nations General Assembly designates each January 27–the anniversary of the liberation of concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau–as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day, the United Nations encourages member states to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to develop educational programs to prevent future acts of genocide.

As many countries, including Germany, Austria and France, and several U.S. states have mandatory Holocaust education in the schools, I highlight six ProQuest products where you can find a wealth of resources designed to meet the needs of students learning about the Holocaust and genocide.

1. ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher contains a Human Rights Leading Issue, which includes sub issues on Holocaust Denial and Genocide. Here, students can find timelines with links, overviews and articles on multiple perspectives to support their research. Perfect for debates or papers analyzing more than one side to an issue, each sub issue contains an essential question with supporting pro con articles. The Holocaust Denial essential question asks students the following question:

Should Holocaust denial be a crime punishable by law?

human rights

Visual Browse of the Human Rights Leading Issue, ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher


2. eLibrary offers more than fifty well-crafted Research Topic pages on the Holocaust, genocide and related issues. These pages are powerful visual testimonies with links to carefully selected articles, websites as well as a trove of primary source documents, videos and images.  Students can find these pages via keyword search or by clicking on the following link on the search page:

eLibrary link to list of Research Topics

Screenshot of eLibrary link to list of Research Topics

Rescue of the Danish Jews (see below) is one such Research Topic page:

Rescue of the Danish Jews

Example Research Topic Page, ProQuest eLibrary


3. Access CultureGrams to get concise historical overviews and maps of the countries in which the Holocaust occurred. CultureGrams is a fantastic resource full of reliable, up-to-date cultural content, including primary source interviews, videos and more. Students researching the Holocaust can use it to compare contemporary society with the ideologies, policies and governing methods of the totalitarian regimes during the time of the Holocaust.

CultureGrams: Germany

Screenshot of Germany in CultureGrams


4. History Study Center has in-depth study units with historical reference material on the Holocaust, Genocide in the Twentieth Century and more. Each unit includes both primary and secondary sources, including biographies, maps and video clips.

history study center

The Holocaust Study Unit, ProQuest History Study Center


5. Historical Newspapers (Graphical) offers a unique collection on the Holocaust with full-text newspaper articles from that time period. Students can access the collection via the timeline or the Topics tab.

historic newspaper article

Nov. 12, 1938, New York Times article via ProQuest Historical News Graphical


6. ProQuest Research Companion is a terrific resource that supports information literacy, writing and research skills to help students to effectively find, verify and use information. One of the valuable tools in this resource is the Source Evaluation Aid, which provides website information, such as top level domain, site owner and site description. This tool also indicates whether or not a particular site a student accesses online is a possible hate site, which is useful because sometimes it is not readily apparent whether or not a site might belong to a hate group.

Screenshot of the Source Evaluation Aid tool in ProQuest Research Companion

Screenshot of the Source Evaluation Aid tool in ProQuest Research Companion. The red flag alerts users that the website accessed is a possible hate site. The URL entered in this example belongs to the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), which is listed in the Southern Poverty Law Center as an active Holocaust Denial group.

We are constantly adding new material to our products. If you have suggestions for new Holocaust topics for consideration for our products, feel free to let us know in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.

This Day in History: Anne Frank Receives a Diary, 1942

"Anne Frank." Photo credit: TEDxNJLibraries / Foter / CC BY

“Anne Frank.” Photo credit: TEDxNJLibraries / Foter / CC BY

Anne Frank was born June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. She died in the German concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen in 1945. Through her diary that she kept from age 13 until August 1, 1944 (age 15), Anne expressed her innermost feelings and her perceptions of the world around her during the Nazi regime. This diary, which was later published by her father Otto Frank after World War II ended, is known by the title, “The Diary of a Young Girl.” SIRS Discoverer brings Anne Frank’s life and the lives of those who knew her to the forefront through historical photographs, websites (including Anne Frank the Writer), newspaper articles, magazine features and reference books, making her story accessible to children and teens. Otto Frank was the only member of his immediate family who survived the Holocaust. Anne and her sister Margot died from Typhus, and their mother Edith died from starvation in the Auschwitz concentration camp. While Anne’s life was short-lived, her father’s perseverance in getting her diary published has given people around the world the ability to see the Holocaust, and life before it, through the eyes of a young girl.