Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Teaching The Children of Willesden Lane
Resources to help you teach the book in middle schools and high schools

Historical Context

German Expansion and Antisemitism

By 1938, Hitler and his Nazi party had been in power for five years. During those years, they carried out their vision of a racial state, step by step. If a measure encountered little or no opposition, they went a little further next time. They advanced their plans for a new German empire in a similar way. On March 11, 1938, German troops entered Austria, the country of Hitler’s birth. When no one protested the invasion, the Nazis turned their attention to Czechoslovakia. That fall, they took over parts of the country. In their newly acquired territories, the Nazis quickly applied their racial laws.

Jews in Greater Germany tried desperately to emigrate, only to encounter stumbling blocks. The Nazis did not stand in their way. They were happy to let the Jews go, as long as they left behind their money and possessions. Few nations, however, were willing to admit penniless refugees.

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Nazi Storm Troopers stand guard outside a defaced Jewish-owned business in Vienna

In March of 1938, after the German annexation of Austria, Nazi Storm Troopers stand guard outside a Jewish-owned business in Vienna. Graffiti painted on the window says: "You Jewish pig may your hands rot off!"

 

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