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Night WebQuest — English 9
NIGHT by Elie Wiesel
The novel Night is the heartbreaking and shocking autobiography of Elie Wiesel. Wiesel was in his teenage years during the Holocaust, and was witness to almost all of the major events of the time. For example, Wiesel was forced to abide by the Nazi regime’s rules upon Jews, relocated into a Jewish ghetto, taken by train to such concentration camps as Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and finally, liberated by SS soldiers towards the end of the war. Night forces the reader to re-evaluate what he or she considers evil. For Eastern European Jews, the experience of the Holocaust is one they will be tortured with for the rest of their lives. Wiesel, as well as many other survivors, have taken it upon themselves to “bear witness” for the dead and the living. This webquest will look at the question that anyone who reads this book wants to ask: How could this have happened?
During World War II, many Germans followed their leader, Adolf Hitler, in the running of concentration camps and in the murdering of millions of Jewish people as well as other groups such as the handicapped and others they considered “undesirable”. How could someone willingly imprison and murder innocent people? Were these German soldiers innately evil? Were they somehow different from you or me? Would you have stood up for the Jewish people or would you have followed Hitler and the rest of the citizens?
For this webquest, you are a German citizen during World War II. You will be looking at the different aspects of life that German citizens experienced. You will be subject to the same propaganda that the Germans were. You will be taking notes and reflecting on each step. Your final task is to write a paragraph as a German citizen explaining and defending either why you will follow Adolf Hitler’s orders to carry out a mass killing of Jewish prisoners at your assigned camp or why you would choose to refuse the order. (Note: Keep this final task in mind while you reflect on each step so you can use those reflections to guide your writing.)
Task 1: The Rise of the Nazi Party

As a German citizen, you have found yourself an unemployed soldier after World War I. The Nazi party wants your support. Research the following links to learn about how the Nazi party came to power.

Task 1 Reflection Question:  Would you join the Nazis?   **Use the information found in your reflection.**

Special Note:  Make sure you take specific notes to support your final answer.

Your grade includes:

Task 1 notes and reflection question answer (I want to see your detailed notes, labeled Task 1 Notes, and your answer should be labeled answer).

Task 2: Propaganda

Whether you chose to join the Nazi party or not is now no longer an issue. They have seized the government and they have begun to put their plans into motion. However, they still need the support of fellow Germans if they are to carry out something like the Holocaust while also fighting a World War. Hitler was known for his incredible use of propaganda during this time period. German propaganda during WWII is still one of the most common examples of propaganda. How affective was it? You decide. Use the following links to learn a bit about German propaganda and see some examples of it.

Task 2 Reflection Question: Would propaganda like this have had an effect on you? **Base your reflection on information and examples found in your search.**

Nazi Propaganda – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Nazi Propaganda — from Holocaust Education and Archive Teams
Nazi Propaganda — from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC)
10 Disturbing Pieces of Nazi Education Propaganda

In the link below, start at “The 1932 Elections” and example #9. Look at the examples and read the explanations.

German Propaganda Posters from the 20th Century
Nazi and East German Propaganda Guide Page from Calvin College

Special Note:  As you did for Task 1, take down some notes that will be helpful for your paragraph.

Your grade includes:

Task 2 notes and reflection question answer (I want to see your detailed notes, labeled Task 2 Notes, and your answer should be labeled answer).
Task 3: The Making of a Soldier

You have served as a German soldier in World War I. Your country needs your service yet again. You have been assigned to be a SS soldier (SS stands for Schutzstaffel in German). As an SS soldier you began as a unit of the army that served as Hitler’s bodyguards. Later, you are assigned as concentration camp guards. Use these links to find out about the German army. You might look at uniforms, copies of orders sent, and brief overviews of the different factions of the army.

Task 3 reflection question: What did it mean to be a German solider during WWII and The Holocaust? **Base your reflection on information and examples found in your search.**

Overview of the German Army:
The Nazi Party:  Military Organization of the Third Reich
Learn about the section of the army to which you have been assigned:
The German Military and the Holocaust
The Role of the German Army during the Holocaust
The SS
SS and the Concentration Camp System
SS and the Holocaust

Your grade includes:

Task 3 notes and reflection question answer (I want to see your detailed notes, labeled “Task 3 Notes,” and your answer should be labeled “answer”).
Task 4: Through the Eyes of a Soldier

WELCOME TO AUSCHWITZ…In the novel Night, a life at Auschwitz consisted of hard labor, constant physical and mental abuse, and an all encompassing fear of death. Elie Wiesel expressed the effects of Auschwitz on him. What, then, were the effects of Auschwitz on the SS soldiers who guarded the camp? SS soldiers like you for instance. Read the articles, look through these images of concentration camps, and watch the videos. Make sure to click on categories and images to explore these sites. These images would have been what you as a soldier saw everyday. How might this affect you?

Your reflection for Step Four is not a direct question. Simply view these images, take notes on the things that strike you or stand out to you, and then write a reflection as an SS officer about what it is you witness daily.

Gallery of Holocaust Images
Auschwitz (from the History.com) 
Auschwitz and Birkenau Museum Pictures and Documents

Your grade includes:

Task 4 notes and SS Officer Reflection (I want to see your detailed notes, labeled Task 4 Notes, and your reflection should be labeled SS Officer Reflection).
Final Task: The Final Decision

“Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourself of all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews, wherever we find them and wherever it is possible, in order to maintain there the structure of the Reich as a whole.”
- Hans Frank

Your journey has brought you to this: The end of the war is near. Camps are beginning to be liberated by Allied forces. The exact details are unclear but it is believed that Hitler and other high ranking officers of the German military called for a “final solution” for what they referred to as “the Jewish Problem.” Those soldiers at the concentration camps were asked to exterminate the remaining Jewish prisoners.

You, a German SS soldier are given the order to follow through with this extermination. You are asked to do whatever you can to kill all of the remaining Jews at Auschwitz (gassing, shooting, burning). If you do not follow orders you may be killed. If you do follow orders you may be plagued with guilt for the rest of your life. You are faced with an important decision: Will you follow orders to carry out a mass killing of Jewish prisoners or will you choose to disobey the order?

At this point, create a document and, using MLA format, begin typing your response.  Your typed final task will be a reflection on whether or not you would follow these orders. Make sure to offer specific details from your note sin the previous tasks that helped to share your answer. Your typed final task paragraph should be a minimum of ¾ of a page long.

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