HIST 1000: Global Themes - Ghettos (Duncan)
Primary Source Analysis
"Primary sources are the raw materials of history... Close contact with these unique, often profoundly personal documents and objects can give [you] a sense of what it was like to be alive during a long-past era."
- Library of Congress, Teaching with Primary Sources
Select 2-3 more primary sources focused on a particular Jewish ghetto from the Holocaust era.
Use the Primary Source Analysis Tool from the Library of Congress to make notes. Create a unique notes/annotations for each primary source selected.
Primary sources help you relate to events of the past and promote a deeper understanding of history. Use the questions below to guide your observations and make notes.
What do you see? Describe it.
Where does your eye go first?
What surprised you?
What words or ideas are expressed?
What other details do you notice?
What tools were used to create this primary source?
What feelings and thoughts does the primary source trigger in you?
What questions does the primary source raise?
Why do you think this primary source was saved/preserved?
What else might help you interpret or understand this source?
Consider the provenance of each source, its creator, and its context. Wrestle with contradictions and compare multiple sources that represent differing points of view, confronting the complexity of the past.
What was happening during this time period?
What was the creator’s purpose in making this primary source?
What does the creator do to get his or her point across?
What was this primary source’s audience?
What biases or stereotypes do you see?
Primary sources are often incomplete. Use prior knowledge or explore the context or era surrounding the primary source(s) selected to identify patterns and construct knowledge.
Questions of creator bias, purpose, and point of view may challenge your assumptions.
Reflect on if/how a particular primary source source relates to other primary sources, secondary sources, or what you already know.
How does this primary source and/or further research test your assumptions about the past?
Do other primary or secondary sources offer support the source analyzed? Are there sources that contradict it?
Support your conclusions with specific examples/evidence.
How do multiple primary sources foster deepen your understanding?
How might you investigate further?
Content Adapted from Library of Congress: Teaching with Primary Sources, Facing History & Ourselves, and EIU Teaching with Primary Sources
Primary Source Best Bets
- Facing History and OurselvesTo search for primary sources, click on "Resource Library" in the upper right corner of the website's home page. In the search bar on the left of the page, type in your search terms to search for primary sources (example: Lodz ghetto, Warsaw ghetto).
- Jewish Virtual LibraryFrom the list of ghettos, choose either "Lodz" or "Warsaw" and explore the list of sources available. There are many photographs and documents available from each ghetto.
- United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumIn the search box, type "Lodz Ghetto" or "Warsaw Ghetto" to explore resources from either ghetto. There are many photographs, objects, and documents from each ghetto.
- "Give Me Your Children": Voices From the Lodz GhettoThe U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum curated diary entries of Jewish children in Lodz who suffered unfolding harsh realities after the German invasion.
- Lodz: YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern EuropeArticle includes several primary source images embedded within text about Lodz.
- Henryk Ross: Photographs of the Lodz GhettoHenryk Ross (1910–1991) worked as a photographer for the Polish press before World War II began. Born in Warsaw, he was living in Lodz in 1940 when the Nazis confined all Jews to the ghetto.
- Henryk Ross - Photograph NegativesThis article from the Washington Post features high quality images of Henryk Ross' negatives captured in Lodz ghetto.
- Documents Pertaining to the Łódź Ghetto GhettoA collection from the Center for Jewish History that contains documents and ephemera items that pertain to the Lodz Ghetto.
- The Lodz Ghetto (Video)Curated by Yad Vashem, this video provides a short overview of life in the Lodz Ghetto.
- Voices from the Lodz Ghetto (Video)In this video from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Judith Cohen, the Chief Photo Archivist for the museum discusses two contemporary photographers of the Lodz ghetto.
- The Lodz Ghetto (Video)U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's brief documentary featuring primary source images of Lodz Ghetto.
- Łódź Ghetto: BibllographyBibliography of resources compiled by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, including books featuring primary sources and documentation.
- Anonymous Diary from the Warsaw GhettoCurated by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, this diary gives insight to the experience of a resident in the Warsaw ghetto.
- The Warsaw Ghetto: Diary of Avraham LevinCurrated by the Jewish Virtual Library, this diary entry provides the observation of Avraham Levin, a Warsaw ghetto resident.
- Poetry in HellYiddish Holocaust poetry with translations from the Warsaw Ghetto.
- Warsaw: YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern EuropeArticle includes several primary source images embedded within text about Warsaw.
- Warsaw: Holocaust EncyclopediaCurated by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, this article includes primary source images and quotes.
- Warsaw Ghetto (Video)The U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum's brief docuemntary featuring primary source images of Warsaw Ghetto.
- Rachel Auerbach and the Public Kitchen in the Warsaw Ghetto (Video)Curated by Yad Vashem, this video provides insight into the conditions within the Warsaw ghetto.