History KS3 / GCSE: What happened in the gas chambers at Auschwitz?

Dan Snow introduces a report about the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

It explains how the first gas chambers were adapted houses where Zyklon B was thrown in through a hole in the wall.

The testimony of survivors from Auschwitz tells of the selection process at Auschwitz.

Rudolph Höss’ written testimony, from when he was awaiting trial after the war, gives an account of his view on the use of the gas chambers.

After the prisoners had been murdered, their bodies were moved by other prisoners to large pits to be buried in mass graves.

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

Students could watch this short film and then be asked to discuss whether or not they think Rudolph Höss’ autobiography should have been available for people to read.

Is it an important historical document? Or does it’s account of the events at Auschwitz mean it should be banned?

This clip could be used in a lesson about how we should remember the Holocaust.

Students could be asked why they think it is important to remember the events of the Holocaust, then consider what are appropriate ways of remembering the Holocaust.

This could lead to a discussion about what should happen to Auschwitz.

There are people who say Auschwitz should be left to decay, whereas other people argue it is important it is preserved as a monument to the horrors of the Holocaust to warn future generations of what people are capable of.

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