Critical Thinking/Discussion Questions - Herman Kaplan

  1. One of the most frequently asked questions about the Holocaust is whether people could have done anything to prevent this devastation. Kaplan’s response to this question was to point out that an emotional response to political issues can give rise to irrational behavior. How did the Nazis promote emotional and irrational reactions toward the Jews?  What methods or systems did the Nazis use to cast the blame of Germany’s economic condition on the Jews? Are there tools in place today in our society that can give the population uneasiness toward a group of people who are “different” from the majority in a place?

Consider the power of the media in our lives: please view the USHMM website on propaganda: and follow the activity for the three posters shown below:


2. Working in pairs or small groups (3-4), use Herman Kaplan’s interview transcript and read his detailed reply to the question, “Where exactly were you born?” (This is at the very beginning of the interview transcript.) From the information Kaplan shares, develop a Sequence of Events Chain using a graphic organizer or timeline. Sequence events in order, and discuss cause and effect of each event. You may see and duplicate graphic organizers found at the links below:

Click Here To View A Sequence Chain Template