M u s e u m  C r e a t e d  L e s s o n

Lesson 2: Refugees Interned


Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia


In early 1940, the British Cabinet debated about whether to intern German “enemy aliens,” including refugees from Nazism.

Stage a debate in the classroom, as a “4 Corners Debate.” Students are to engage in the debate as if is the spring of 1940, when the threat of a German invasion of Britain seemed likely.

Present students with the statement: Britain should intern all German nationals, including refugees of Nazism.

Ask students if they agree or disagree, and to write a paragraph or list of points explaining their opinion. In the meantime, post four signs around the room: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree and Strongly Disagree.

Ask students to stand under the sign that describes their opinion. Allow for debate; encourage students to justify and explain their position; students are able to move between positions.

Debrief the process. Consider how the debate would be different if argued from the perspective of the present day. In the post-debate discussion, consider how shifting historical perspectives affects understanding of the issues.
Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

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