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The Holocaust

The history of the modern world and Australia from 1918 to the present, with an emphasis on Australia in its global context.
Key inquiry question #1: 
What were the consequences of World War II? How did these consequences shape the modern world?
Key inquiry question #2: 
How was Australian society affected by other significant global events and changes in this period?

Content summary

Students investigate in depth ONE school-developed topic drawn from the context presented in the Stage 5 overviews, 'The Making of the Modern World' or 'The Modern World and Australia':

  • The Holocaust

Background Notes for Teachers

Ask students to:

  1. Analyse Muriel Doherty's letter, paying particular attention to detail.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. Conduct additional research using links provided to online articles.

Addtional Resources

  • Biography of Muriel Knox Doherty, ‘Australia’s War 1939-1945’.
  • Russell, R. Lynette, 'Doherty, Muriel Knox (1896–1988)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  • Muriel Knox Doherty, Letters from Belsen 1945: an Australian nurse's experiences with the survivors of war, edited by Judith Cornell & R. Lynette Russell. Doherty, M. K. (Muriel Knox), 1896-1988, St. Leonards, N.S.W: Allen &​ Unwin, 2000.
  • ‘Off the record - the life and times of Muriel Knox Doherty 1896-1988: an autobiography’, edited by R. Lynette Russell. Doherty, M. K. (Muriel Knox), Glebe, NSW: New South Wales College of Nursing, 1996.

Student Activities

The Holocaust

Students learn about Muriel Knox Doherty and her experiences at the liberated Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.

Number of set tasks: 2

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum History K - 10

A student:

  • HT5-1 explains and assesses the historical forces and factors that shaped the modern world and Australia
  • HT5-3 explains and analyses the motives and actions of past individuals and groups in the historical contexts that shaped the modern world and Australia
  • HT5-4 explains and analyses the causes and effects of events and developments in the modern world and Australia
  • HT5-5 identifies and evaluates the usefulness of sources in the historical inquiry process
  • HT5-7 explains different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the modern world and Australia
  • HT5-9 applies a range of relevant historical terms and concepts when communicating an understanding of the past


Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts

  • read and understand historical texts
  • use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts (ACHHS165, ACHHS183)

Analysis and use of sources

  • identify the origin, content, context and purpose of primary and secondary sources (ACHHS169, ACHHS187)
  • process and synthesise information from a range of sources as evidence in an historical argument (ACHHS170, ACHHS188)
  • evaluate the reliability and usefulness of primary and secondary sources for a specific historical inquiry (ACHHS171, ACHHS189)

Perspectives and interpretations

  • identify and analyse the reasons for different perspectives in a particular historical context (ACHHS172, ACHHS173, ACHHS190, ACHHS191)
  • recognise that historians may interpret events and developments differently (ACHHS173, ACHHS191)

Empathetic understanding

  • interpret history within the context of the actions, values, attitudes and motives of people in the context of the past (ACHHS172, ACHHS173, ACHHS190, ACHHS191)


  • ask and evaluate different kinds of questions about the past to inform an historical inquiry (ACHHS166, ACHHS167, ACHHS184, ACHHS185)
  • identify, locate, select and organise information from a variety of sources, including ICT and other methods (ACHHS168, ACHHS186)
  • Perspectives: people from the past may have had different views and experiences
  • Significance: the importance of an event, development, group or individual and their impact on their times and/or later periods

Learning across the curriculum:

  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Information and communication technology capability
  • Literacy
  • Personal and social capability