Primo Levi’s World and War: How can we trust what others tell us about the past? A Lesson for International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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This lesson addresses an Essential Question that is common within secondary history courses:

  • How can we know what really happened in the past?

It was written to mark two occasions: the centennial of Primo Levi’s birth and International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This lesson is academic in nature, including some historical contextualization, exercises in corroborating sources and constructing timelines, and a consideration of the inherent merits and shortcomings of primary source materials. It is aligned to both the Common Core and Pennsylvania Core standards. It also aligns with the Pennsylvania Public School Code Act 70 requirements of Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Violations Instruction.

It is a complete lesson plan, including prompts for student reflection and discussion, student academic practice and answer key, and an aligned slide show. Teachers are encouraged to adapt and edit these materials as useful for their own classrooms.


  • Ateret Cope
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