The Letter to Hitler: Communicating for Change

 USC Shoah Foundation
Grade Level:
  10 -  12
Estimated completion time:
 1.5 hour(s)
Standards Addressed:
Subject Area:
 Civics & Government, Contemporary World Issues, Ethics, Genocide Studies

This activity, authored by USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen D. Smith, traces the peace advocacy of Armin T. Wegner, a German medic and activist who was among the very first to speak out against both the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. For his efforts, he was rebuked, arrested, and after writing a personal open letter to Hitler advocating on behalf of German Jews, he was sent to several concentration camps.

Students will reflect on Wegner's unflinching sense of moral imperative. Then, they will write a "letter to the community," inspired by Wegner's "letter to Hitler," that advocates for action to help a contemporary marginalized group.

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