History KS3 / GCSE: How did the use of gas chambers develop in the Holocaust?

Dan Snow introduces a report about the use of gas as a method of killing Jewish prisoners.

This started at Chelmno camp in Poland. Vans were used initially to kill mentally ill patients.

The vans were then used to murder Jewish prisoners, who were put in the back of the vans before being gassed by the exhaust fumes.

Bodies were then taken and buried in a forest clearing.

Between 200,000 - 300,000 Jews were murdered at Chelmno.

SS guards after the war continued to argue that what they had done was justified as they were motivated by anti-Semitic propaganda they had seen in Nazi Germany.

This short film is from the BBC series, World War Two with Dan Snow.

This short film contains scenes which viewers may find upsetting. The films are intended for classroom use but teacher review is recommended prior to watching with your pupils. You know best the limit of your pupils, and BBC Teach does not accept any responsibility for pupil distress.

Teacher Notes

Before watching this short film, students could be asked what they already know about the conditions Jews faced in Germany, ghettos and at camps like Auschwitz.

Students could then be questioned on what they already know about gas chambers.

After watching this short film, there could be discussions about why the gas vans might have been introduced by the Nazis.

The SS guard testimony could also be used to place concentration camps in context of the wider events of the Holocaust, about the impact of Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda and its effectiveness in convincing people that anti-Semitic laws and actions were justified.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching KS3 and KS4/GCSE history in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 history in Scotland.

More from World War Two with Dan Snow:

What does Rudolph Höss' evidence tell us about Auschwitz?
How did Auschwitz expand?
What were conditions like at Auschwitz?
What happened in the gas chambers at Auschwitz?
How did a pregnant woman survive the Holocaust?