Activity: Why did the Nazis target non-Jewish minorities?

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Roma roundup USHMM 16016.jpg

Nazi police round up Roma families from Vienna for deportation to Poland. (autumn 1939)

Image © 2011 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Learning outcomes

By the end of this activity:

  • All students will be able to explain which groups the Nazis targeted.


  • Most students should be able to what happened to each of these groups and suggest reasons for these actions.


  • Some students may be able to explain in detail how the Nazis actions against non-Jewish minorities reflected the Nazis’ racial policies.



In order to carry out this activity you will need to take information from the text and images contained within the following sections of The Holocaust Explained:

Implementing racial policies

Non-Jewish minorities

You might also wish to access paes from the Key Stage 4 section.

Why did the Nazis target non-Jewish minorities?

Soon after gaining power the Nazis began implementing racial policies against a number of minority groups. These people could not be part of the new ‘racially pure’ Germany. 

Which groups did the Nazis target? Why did they pick out these groups? How did they target these groups?

In this Reflective Learning Activity you will develop an understanding of how and why the Nazis targeted non-Jewish minorities.


Your task is to produce a report explaining why the Nazis targeted non-Jewish minorities.

Stage 1: Prepare for your research

Open a new Word or other word processor document and insert a table like the example above.

            Black Germans
            Jehovah’s Witnesses

Save your table giving the file a suitable name.

Stage 2: Research - collect your information

As you read the suggested pages of The Holocaust Explained record any information that you think will help you produce your report about the Nazi treatment of non-Jewish minorities (see the example above).

Stage 3: Draft your report

Open and save a new document.


Write a concise introduction explaining the Nazi racial policy. Then, outline the groups targeted.


Use the information in your table to draft five paragraphs - one for each of the minority groups targeted by the Nazis. Explain the Nazi attitude towards the group, how and why they targeted them.


Now write a concluding paragraph that reviews the evidence and answers the question: Why and how did the Nazis target non-Jewish minorities?

Once completed, spell check, save and print your report