Lessons of the Holocaust: 
A Personal Reflection

And I Said Nothing
In Germany
They first came for the communists
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade-unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me––
and by that time
no one was left to speak up.

-- Pastor Martin Niemoller, 1945


TASK:  The year is 1945. You are 15 years old and a German citizen.  You have been witness to one of the greatest atrocities in human history.


 In your journal, write a one page reflection on the holocaust using the above quote as a guide as well as the guiding questions listed below. 
 Guiding Questions

  • Who is to blame for the Holocaust? 
  • Could the Holocaust have been stopped? 
  • How do the "Stages of Isolation" show the gradual persecution leading to the annihilation of the Jews?
  • What did you do in reaction to the stages of isolation as you lived in Germany during the Third Reich?   
  • How does the passage "And I Said Nothing" portray the actions of the people in Germany during Third Reich?  What is the danger in saying or doing "nothing"? 
  • What lessons must be learned from the Holocaust?
  • How do we, as responsible and aware human beings, ensure that an event such as the Holocaust or any type of racial genocide never occurs again?



  1. The essay should be typed, double spaced, using 12 point font.
  2. Be creative, try to put yourself in the time period described.
  3. Think critically


RUBRIC:  Personal Reflection of the Lessons of the Holocaust




Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Evidence of historical argument
(T/I and A)

- little evidence of analysis (e.g., cause-effect relationships) displayed

- some evidence of analysis of situation shown with a mix of personal and historical detail

- evidence of analysis shown and the reader/listener can distinguish between historical and personal details presented

- arguments presented in presentation balance personal and historical details and analysis clearly to the reader/listener

Understanding of historical context

- references are contemporary; role not clearly set in past

- some evidence that role is in an historical context

- role clearly viewed as being part of a particular time and place with considerable knowledge of topic

- role consistently viewed as being part of a particular time and place using rich detail to describe historical context

Assumption of role
(C and A)

- limited attempt to be in role

- attempt to be in role clearly seen, though the role-taking may not be consistent

- role-taking is consistent

- role-taking is consistent and personal so that the reader/listener feel “transported back in time”

Organization of presentation/

- limited effort to organize so that communication lacks coherence

- some organization shown with conventions of speech and writing are observed at least some of the time

- organization shown with conventions of speech and writing are observed most of the time

- organization is clear and conventions of oral and written communication consistently observed

(C and A)

- little sense of audience shown, little impact

- some sense of audience shown with some impact

- product has impact on audience

- product engages audience and is believable

Note: A student whose achievement is below level 1 (50%) has not met the expectations for this assignment or activity.