The Montreal Holocaust Museum invites you to discover powerful letters preserved in its collection. The 17 Letters – For the Last Time and Forever educational activity focuses on 17 letters written during the Holocaust between 1941 and 1944.

These letters provide accounts of terrible living conditions, despair, and resignation in the face of events. They also highlight the complex history of the Holocaust and the diversity of shattered fates. They were written by people caught in the storm of Nazism and the genocide of European Jews during the Second World War. The letters cover the 5 following themes: the Warsaw Ghetto and resistance, camps, deportation (letters from parents to their children), despair and liberation.

Students analyze the letters according to a five-step critical process and learn what they can offer as primary sources. They determine the context, content and historical value of the letters.

Curriculum Links

  • Reflect on ethical questions
  • Examine social phenomena from a historical perspective
  • Construct his/her consciousness of global citizenship

Download the 17 Letters – For the Last Time and Forever pedagogical activity

The pedagogical activity 17 Letters – For the Last Time and Forever is available online free of charge. Click on the download links at the bottom of this page to get the activity corresponding to the school curricula of your province.

The activity includes the letters, their English translations and a student questionnaire. The original letters are written in Polish, German, Russian, Yiddish, Hungarian and English.

Letter from Rosette, Warsaw, May 18, 1942.
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Letter from Rosette, Warsaw, May 18, 1942.

Letter from Billich, Sept. 19, 1941.
2

Letter from Billich, Sept. 19, 1941.

Letter from Otto - Prisoner in the Malines Transit Camp, 1943.
3

Letter from Otto - Prisoner in the Malines Transit Camp, 1943.

We invite you to use our Teaching with Primary Sources in History Classroom Analysis Sheet which will help your students with studying the letters.

Download the Educational Program

Secondary 1st Cycle – Ethics and Religious Culture, Social Sciences, English Language Arts; Secondary 3 to 5 – History of the 20th Century, Contemporary World, English Language Arts

Grade 10 – Canadian History since World War I

Grade 11 – History of Canada; Grade 12 – Global Issues: Citizenship and Sustainability; Grade 11 and Grade 12 – English Language Arts

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