History KS3 / GCSE: How did Auschwitz expand?

Dan Snow introduces this short film about the expansion of Auschwitz to deal with the number of Jewish people being transported to concentration camps.

The number of Jews being deported to camps meant there was not enough room, so a new camp was to be built at Birkenau.

The plans of the new camp showed how barracks were made with such cramped and poor conditions that disease would quickly spread.

The new camp was to cram three times more prisoners into barracks compared to earlier camps built in 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

Key Stage 3

Students could place the events of this short film into the wider context of the Holocaust.

The expansion of Auschwitz was being planned in 1941. They could explain what had happened up to this point (anti-Semitic laws in Germany, Kristallnacht, the invasion of Poland and Eastern Europe), and what happened afterwards (the Wannsee Conference and Final Solution).

Key Stage 4

This short film could be used as part of a lesson looking at responsibility for the Holocaust.

How responsible were the architects Karl Bischoff and Fritz Ertl?

Should they be held as responsible as leading Nazis who gave the orders for the Final Solution?

This type of debate requires students to understand different historical perspectives and the evidence in this short film can contribute to their analysis of different interpretations.

Other groups could be considered, such as German civilians, SS soldiers at Auschwitz and key individuals.

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?
What were conditions like at Auschwitz?
How did the use of gas chambers develop in the Holocaust?
What happened in the gas chambers at Auschwitz?
How did a pregnant woman survive the Holocaust?