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Teaching the Holocaust using Art

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In the video, "Teaching the Holocaust using Art", ISHS staff member Liz Elsby discusses various approaches to utilizing Holocaust art in teaching the Holocaust to your students. As she stresses, a teacher does not have to be an expert in the field to broach this topic. Focusing on three individual artworks, Elsby demonstrates how exploring the artistic aspects of each painting, together with the context in which they were created and the questions they raise, combine to deepen our understanding of the Holocaust as a human event.

Liz Elsby is an artist, graphic designer, and guide at Yad Vashem.

  • Part 1: Teaching the Holocaust Using Art - Introduction
  • Part 2: Felix Nussbaum - Le Réfugié (The Refugee)
  • Part 3: Halina Olomucki - The Armband Peddler
  • Part 4: Carol Deutsch – “In Her Mouth Was an Olive Leaf”
  • Part 5: Artwork & Credits
  • More

    Archival footage and photographs:
    - Yad Vashem Photo Archive.
    - Yad Vashem Film Archive.
    - Agentur Karl Höffkes
    - Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
    - Yad Vashem Art Museum Collection
    - Felix-Nussbaum-Haus Osnabrück, loan from the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung


    Felix Nussbaum (1904-1944)
    The Refugee (European Vision), 1939
    Oil on canvas
    61x76 cm.
    Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem

    Halina Olomucki (1921-2007)
    Pencil and crayon on paper
    Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem

    Carol Deutsch (1894-1944)
    “In her mouth was an olive leaf” (Genesis 8:11), 1941-1942
    Gouache, India ink and crayon on paper
    Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem
    Bequest of the artist’s daughter, Ingrid Hendrickx Abrams, Chicago

    This video features many artworks related to the Holocaust. Artwork credits can be found here.

    Illustrations - Liz Elsby.

    Material from:
    Petr Ginz quote from Petr Ginz, The Diary of Petr Ginz, 1941-1942, ed. Chava Pressburger, trans. Elena Lappin (New York: Grove Press, 2007), p. 133.

    Every effort has been made to locate the copyright holders to obtain the appropriate permissions and apply the correct attributions. If you have any information that would help us in relation to copyright, please contact us at

    Film produced by Mikooka Productions -

Further Pedagogical Considerations

  • Artworks should be chosen in keeping with our educational philosophy, in an age-appropriate manner.

  • Art occupies a space where words don’t suffice; it is often a form of expression compelled by a combination of circumstances and of the artist him- or herself.

  • The idea in a painting is often layered and multifaceted. Consider it from various angles.

  • Consider the artwork also as a historical source. As it is inevitably impacted by circumstance at least to some degree, consider what it says about the reality in which it was made.

Teaching aids