Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Pamela Blevins
Brink Junior High
8th Grade
War Crimes
1-2 days


This is a cumulative lesson on the Holocaust. This lesson will be used towards the end of the Holocaust Unit. Students will have a thorough knowledge of the Holocaust. This lesson may be used before or after the lesson on the Nuremberg trials.

Lesson objectives:

  • Students will use primary documents.
  • Students will use research skills.
  • Students will differentiate between fact and opinion.
  • Students will draw conclusions and make inferences.
  • Students will work with non fiction materials.

State Standards:

Materials needed:

  • Handout of Nuremberg charges - Handout 1(All three handouts are in pdf format.)
  • Handout of Nuremberg defendants - Handout 2: Outcome of International Military Tribunal
  • Handout of overview of other 12 trials - Handout 3: The Subsequent Nuremberg Trials: an Overview
  • Reference books about the Holocaust and Nuremberg from class library and library- will vary with room, school, and public library.
  • Chart of Nuremberg war crimes that students create
  • Paper for students to make their own charts
  • Sticky notes

    Technology needed

Lesson Plan

Students will brainstorm what war crimes are and as a class come to a consensus of which of the crimes could be prosecuted. They would make charts of their war crimes.

In groups of 2-3 students will use resource books and websites (specific ones) to decide which 2 people they have studied they would charge with war crimes, what charges, and why. They would put their person on a sticky note with the charges and rationale. They would put their person on the war crimes chart.

Using handouts or websites, students will discuss the Nuremberg charges and defendants. Students will be given a partially filled out chart on Nuremberg charges. Students will fill in the chart as we discuss topic.

Students will move their people to the correct charge on the Nuremberg list.
Students will discuss why their person was left off and why others were charged.

Students will look at the other trials lists of defendants to see if their person was ever charged or not and discuss why or why not.

Students will watch a film clip from Auschwitz, part 6 on why not everyone was tried.

Students will predict how each of the defendants was judged, the ultimate charge and sentence. They will fill in their chart of war crimes.


Students will be graded on a rubric for working as a group.
Student discussion will elicit whether or not students understand the concept of war crimes and their significance.
Teacher observation