Where did Breslau go? The borders of countries in Europe have changed many times over the centuries. How many maps can you find Breslau on? What empires/nations has it belonged to? Remember to search for it by all its different names!

For Educators

The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe can serve as a resource for teachers and students at both the secondary school and college levels.

Individual articles in the encyclopedia can be assigned to students for reading or printed out and distributed as handouts. (See Survey Articles below for an easy-access list of introductory articles on general topics.)

If you are interested in helping us develop additional educational resources for this Web site or hearing about new educator's resources as we add them, please join our email list.

Lesson Plans

Two interdisciplinary lesson plans for middle- and high-school classrooms are provided here. Each one- or two-unit lesson includes a PowerPoint presentation, suggested learning and extension activities, handouts, and ideas for including content from the online YIVO encyclopedia in a classroom activity or homework assignment.

  • The "An-ski Expedition": Documenting an Endangered Culture

From 1912 to 1914, a team of researchers headed by Shloyme Zaynvl Rapoport (a writer, playwright and folklorist, better known by his pen name, S. An-ski) traveled to about 60 Jewish communities in the regions of Volhynia and Podolia in the Russian Empire. The scholars were interested in collecting anything and everything that related to the everyday life and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe, so they collected legends, folk songs, sayings, gravestone rubbings, documents, jokes, folk art, and more.

Lesson Plan

PowerPoint presentation: "It is necessary to give our children folktales and songs"

Handout: Potatoes and Bread

Handout: Endangered Languages

  • To Be a Jewish Teenager in Poland

What did it mean to be a Jewish teenager in Poland in the 1930s? Despite the stereotypical view that all Jews in Eastern Europe looked like characters out of "Fiddler on the Roof," there was a much wider variety of experience. Polish Jewish society included Hasidic Jews, non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews, Hebrew-speaking Zionists, Yiddish-speaking Jewish socialists, and Polish-speaking "acculturated" Jews, as well as many other shades of lifestyle and viewpoint. There were newspapers, schools, and youth groups associated with each of these sectors of society. What was it like to be a teenager growing up in that world?

Lesson plan

PowerPoint presentation: "To Be a Jewish Teenager in Poland"

Handout: Excerpts from Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust

Other Resources

Teachers who wish to devote extended class time to study of the history and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe are urged to explore YIVO's Educational Program on Yiddish Culture (EPYC), whose resources include teachers' manuals and a Web site, When These Streets Heard Yiddish, which features illustrated essays, maps, timelines, and other material written for middle- and high-school students. Content TBD. Classroom activities are appropriate for students in grades 9-12 and cover many of the topics outlined in the browse section of this site. Many activities also incorporate images, interactive maps as well as additional resources found on this site.

Survey Articles

The survey articles listed alphabetically below are longer, general essays that serve as points of entry into the encyclopedia’s contents. Links from these articles to more specific entries—biographies, political movements, organizations, and events—take you and your students more deeply into each subject. You may also wish to consult the Synoptic Outline of Contents, which lists all articles topically. Another subject-oriented point of entry into the encyclopedia is the Explore by Topic feature on the site’s home page.


Antisemitic Parties and Movements


Bohemia and Moravia

Ceremonial and Decorative Art

Children’s Literature



Economic Life


Folklore, Ethnography, and Anthropology

Food and Drink





Hebrew Literature




Life Cycle



Newspapers and Magazines


Painting and Sculpture

Parties and Ideologies


Population and Migration

Reform, Religious

Relations between Jews and Non-Jews

Religious Year







Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

World War I


Yiddish Literature

Youth Movements

Zionism and Zionist Parties