Teach the story of Jewish prisoners of the Nazis who used music to defy their oppressors, find courage and sustain hope.

How and why did a group of Jews in Terezín Ghetto learn to sing Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem in the original Latin? What did it mean to them and what does it mean for us?

This is the story of Defiant Requiem.

The 45-minute documentary film is designed for classroom use and accompanying curriculum modules provide lessons adapted to a variety of disciplines. The modules have been developed through a rigorous process of conceptualization, critical review and evaluation, and revision based on feedback from ten highly experienced teachers from public, private, charter, and parochial schools in the DC and MD areas.

Features include:

  • Flexible modules that provide multiple points of entry and allow teachers to adapt lessons, combine subjects, and work collaboratively across disciplines with other teachers.
  • Alignment with Common Core State Standards
  • Clear objectives, lesson materials, background for teachers and resources, step-by-step lessons, and objective-based assessments.
  • “Essential Questions” with the aim of helping students apply what they have learned in the lesson to larger historical and literary topics and themes.
  • Resources for learning more about the Holocaust, World War II, the Verdi Requiem, and creative resistance.
  • Lessons that incorporate knowledge acquisition (e.g., studying a new aspect of history) and skills development (e.g., strengthening critical thinking, analysis, reasoning, etc.)
  • Teaching strategies that use interdisciplinary approaches, primary sources, and elements of hands-on learning.

The four modules are designed for teachers of Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Music or Art but can be adapted to additional disciplines such as World History, Religion, Ethics, and Geography, among others.

  • Social Studies I
    The Story of Defiant Requiem: The Holocaust and Creative Resistance
  • Social Studies II
    Propaganda and Deception: Terezín as a “Model Ghetto” and the Red Cross Visit  
  • English Language Arts
    The Rhetoric of Verdi’s Requiem: Reading the Libretto in Three Contexts
  • Music and Art
    Resisting Oppression: Music, Art, and Creativity in Terezín

Visit the Defiant Requiem Curriculum at education.defiantrequiem.org