Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month is held each April to honor the victims of genocide. This toolkit has background information, case studies, documentaries and video testimonies of survivors, and other resources to help students and teachers learn about genocide and what can be done to stop it from happening again.
Genocide: Any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group:
- killing members of the group;
- causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Case Study Examples of Major 20th and 21st Century Genocides
1915 – 1923: Armenian Genocide
1933 – 1945: The Holocaust
1975 – 1980: Cambodia Genocide
1982 – 1983: Guatemala Genocide
April 1994 – July 1994: Genocide Against the Tutsi
1992 – 1995: Bosnian Civil War (Srebrenica Genocide)
1980 – Present: Possible Genocide during Darfur Conflict
August 2014: Possible Genocide Against the Yezidi
June 2012 – Present: Possible Genocide Against the Rohingya (ongoing updates)
General Resources and Lesson Plans
Article: There Are Just Ten Stages of Genocide. We Need to Start Paying Attention. (includes GIF visuals)
Article: How do you define genocide?
Lesson Plan: Confronting Genocide: Never Again? from the Choices Program at Brown University
Suggested books and films on genocide from Orange County for Darfur
Videos and Multimedia
Documentary: The Last Survivor
Runtime: 22 minutes 39 seconds (Educational Version)
View the Website & Trailer
View the Study Guide
Synopsis: Following the lives of survivors of four different genocides and mass atrocities – The Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, and Congo – The Last Survivor presents a unique opportunity to learn from the lessons and mistakes of our past in order to have a lasting social impact on how we act collectively in the face of similar issues today.
Runtime: 5 minutes 10 seconds
Synopsis: Four Chicago-area residents who have survived genocide in different parts of the world are subjects of the exhibit “Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory” at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie.
Documentary: Worse Than War
Runtime: 1 hour 54 mins
Synopsis: This PBS documentary follows Harvard University professor, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, as he speaks with victims, perpetrators, witnesses, politicians, diplomats, historians, humanitarian aid workers, and journalists, all with the purpose of explaining and understanding the critical features of genocide and how to finally stop it.
Video: Elie Wiesel Dies at 87
Runtime: 2 minutes 28 seconds
Synopsis: Elie, Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and human rights activists, passed away at 87 on July 3, 2016. Wiesel, through his books and lectures, bore witness for the millions of Holocaust victims, dedicating his life to the acknowledgement and prevention of genocide. His words serve as a reminder of everyone’s responsibility to protect human rights and dignity.
I believe firmly and profoundly that anyone who listens to a witness, becomes a witness. So, those who hear us, those who read us, and those who learn something from us, they will continue to bear witness for us. -Elie Wiesel
Past STF Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month Activities:
- Genocide Awareness Surveys
- Yellow ribbons – Talk to your STF intern about purchasing
- Screen “The Last Survivor” in classrooms/assembly/activities period/etc. (See above for additional resources. Talk to your STF intern for a list of additional films.)
- Use above genocide case studies to do classroom presentations/assembly/activities period/etc.
- Genocide Memorial Service
- Table at lunch
- PA/all-school announcements (including Monday Morning Meetings, Town Hall, etc.)
- Guest speakers – Talk to your STF intern for suggestions.