High School – Repression, Holocaust, and Forced Labor: Two Regimes

Print Me

Two Regimes: Witness to War


Students should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the Holocaust and Forced labor by accurately responding to the writing prompt using the documents as Reader’s Script and the website documents as supporting evidence.

Support Materials 

All support materials for this lesson can be found at this Google Link:


Support Materials which are included in the above link are listed below.
NOTE:  Be sure to preview all materials before using with your students

    1. Copy of the readers’ script Two Regimes for each student
    2. Mini lecture Soviet Union 1917-1939 – Background lecture – Word document
    3. Mimi lecture 1 a Power Point presentation
    4. Mini lecture 2 – Background lecture – Word document
    5. Mini lecture 2 a Power Point presentation
    6. Holocaust Hyperlinked Resource Materials

    Printouts of:

    1. Teodora background sheet
    2. Map Exercise
    3. Passages Worksheet
    4. Two Regimes writing assignment

Online Resources

  1. http://www.yadvashem.org/untoldstories/database/murderSite.asp?site_id=593
  2. http://collectinghistory.net/ostarbeiter/index.html
  3. http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/pages/O/S/OstarbeiterIT.htm

Florida: Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

  • SS.912.W.7.5 Benchmark: Describe the rise of authoritarian governments in the Soviet Union, Italy, Germany, and Spain, and analyze the policies and main ideas of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Francisco Franco.
  • SS.912.W.7.8 Benchmark: Explain the causes, events, and effects of the Holocaust (1933-1945) including its roots in the long tradition of anti- Semitism, 19th century ideas about race and nation, and Nazi dehumanization of the Jews and other victims.
  • FS 1003.42 Required Holocaust Education Mandate Public School Instruction


Dr. Jonathan Grant

Formative Assessment

Assess student knowledge about the Soviet Union. Teacher may ask such questions as: What do you remember about the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union, or Bolsheviks/Communists?  What can you recall about Vladimir Lenin or Josef Stalin? If necessary, teacher can provide background from the background sheet. This should take about 5 minutes. 

NOTE:  Be sure to preview all materials before using with your students

Feedback to Students

The teacher will give feedback in class during Day Two as students are relaying their answers to the passages worksheet.  In addition the teacher will provide verbal feedback in class as students are discussing the questions during the guided practice on day Two to ensure that students are working in the right direction in preparation for completing the response paper.

Summative Assessment

Summative Assessment Task:

Students should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the Holocaust and Forced labor by accurately responding to the writing prompt using the documents as Reader’s Script and the website documents as supporting evidence.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Students will be able to explain how the Stalinist system affected the subject populations of the Soviet Union economically and socially.
  • Students will be able to describe the living conditions for the civilian population in the Soviet Union and under the occupation of Nazi Germany during World War II.
  • Students will be able to compare repressive conditions under Stalin and Hitler.

Guiding Questions

How did repression in the Soviet Union under Stalin differ from the repression of Nazi Germany?

Were there any similarities in the repression of the two systems?

Prior Knowledge

Students should be familiar with the following vocabulary words/concepts/key figures: Bolshevik/Communist, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, Soviet Union, Gulag, NKVD, Reds vs. Whites, Russian Civil War

Prior to completing this assignment, students should understand the causes and factors leading to the Russian Revolution.  Assess student knowledge about the Soviet Union. Teacher may ask such questions as: Who has heard of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union, or Bolsheviks/Communists? What do you know about Vladimir Lenin or Josef Stalin?

Teaching Phase

Day One:

  1. DAY ONE: Provide a background lecture about the Soviet Union from 1917-1941 (See attached lecture) 15-20 minutes.

Guided Practice

Handout out the Teodora background sheet to each student. Put the students into groups of four and have them take turns reading the script aloud in class.  As students read, have them stop and answer questions based on the specific pages as indicated on the passages worksheet.

Independent Practice

For homework, have students explain the significance of specific quotes from the script in understanding life in the Soviet Union for any passages not yet covered in class. Also, have them complete the map exercise.


Teaching Phase:  The teacher should go over the map exercise and have students review their answers to the passages worksheet from the previous day. Then the teacher should provide mini lecture on the political and military developments leading to the German invasion of the Soviet Union. 5-10 minutes

Guided Practice

30-40 minutes   1) Choose three students to read the parts for the script pp. 18-22 aloud to the class. Stop after the line on page 22:

MALE NARRATOR – Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Ask the class:  How did the Soviet government mobilize for war against the German invasion?  What happened to the Red Army?  How is the war going for the Russians?

  2) Choose a different three students to continue reading pp. 22-23 aloud to the class.  Stop at the end of page 23.

Ask the class: What happened to the Jewish population of Mariupol?   Why did the Jews not leave earlier?  What was Teodora’s reaction to this event?

   3) Choose another three students to read the rest of the script aloud to the class pp. 24-26.

Ask the class:  Why did Teodora have to leave Mariupol? What was her life like in Germany?  What happened to her?


Give the students the writing assignment and have students begin to plan out how they will use the examples as evidence to support their arguments in the paper.

The writing assignment asks the students to look up the following websites:





Successful completion of the passages worksheet will help students focus on specific events/details that should be used as supporting evidence in writing the paper.

Some students may need more time completing the writing assignment and may need more time at home.

Some students may have trouble keeping straight when and where events in the memoir happen.  The teacher should review the timeline and geography as needed.


The teacher may ask students to search for other primary or secondary sources concerning World War II and the Soviet Union.These new items could be used to refute or buttress the interpretation from the readers’ script.

Online Resources



Further Recommendations

Provide recommendations concerning the preparation or implementation of your resource.

Make sure that students refer to the Teodora background sheet so that they have a clear understanding of her life story.  Also, have students think about her possible biases and how that might affect her view of the Soviet system in particular.


Short Summary

Through the use of a readers’ script, this lesson will expose students to the perspective of a Russian woman who lived under the Stalinist Soviet Union, experienced the invasion and occupation of Ukraine by Nazi Germany, and then was deported with her daughters to work as a slave laborer in Nazi Germany.  Students will use the outside secondary sources to assess the reliability of her story and whether her experiences should be considered historicallytypical orunusual.  As a culminating assignment, students will write a 2-3pp response to the writing prompt using examples from the script and the websites as evidence.

Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the Foundation for Leon County Schools.