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Lesson Plans

Life in the Ghetto

The complexity of life in the Lodz Ghetto can be seen through thousands of photographs taken by Henryk Ross that show the everyday existence of the ghetto’s Jewish population. This lesson encourages students to examine daily life in the ghetto. Most residents had no running water or sanitation and faced starvation and overcrowding. These images force us to confront issues of social class, leadership, gender, poverty, forced labour, destruction of religious institutions, starvation and death. How do Henryk Ross’s photographs represent the complexity of life in the Lodz Ghetto?

Related Images

See the photographs related to this lesson
Learning Strategies
Image Analysis

Using the Analyzing Visual Images strategy and the Critical Analysis Process for exploring an artwork, print off the Related Images with the captions on their reverse sides and arrange them into the specified groups. Place each group of images on tables or display them on a wall for students to see. Ensure there is an obvious separation between each set of images.

If your students have not used the Analyzing Visual Images strategy before, model it for the class using another image from the collection. After modelling the strategy, divide students into evenly numbered groups and assign each group a set of images. Each student should select an image from the group and apply the Analyzing Visual Images strategy. More than one student may select the same image.

After completing this process, students should read the captions from the backs of the photographs and share their observations and analyses with the group. When all of the students have shared their ideas, ask them to discuss the following questions: What do the images in this collection have in common? What differences do you see within this collection of images? What title would you give to this collection of images? After completing this discussion, the groups should rotate to the next set of images and repeat the process. Continue this process until each group has worked with all four image sets.


Once your students have seen all four collections of images, they should return to their seats and participate in a Think, Pair, Share discussion using a large piece of paper with two columns labelled "Collection Similarities" and "Collection Differences." Students should start writing individually in their notebooks, pair to fill in the large piece of paper, and then share their ideas with the whole group.

Exit Card

The last piece of this lesson is an Exit Card. On their exit card, ask your students to do two things. First, they should answer the question: How do the photographs of Henryk Ross represent the complexity of life in the Lodz Ghetto? Second, ask students to pose a question of their own about the images. Students should hand in these cards as they exit the room.

Additional Materials

Analyzing Visual Images and Stereotyping

This video shows Nazi footage of the Lodz Ghetto in the winter of 1940.

Testimony of Leo Schneiderman on life in the Lodz Ghetto.

Testimony of Blanka Rothschild on life in the Lodz Ghetto.