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WHAT WAS THE HOLOCAUST ?

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WHY TEACH AND LEARN ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST WHEN OTHER CRIMES ARE PERPETUATED   TODAY ?

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HOLOCAUST
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36
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MURDER
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WHY TEACH AND LEARN ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST WHEN OTHER CRIMES ARE PERPETUATED TODAY?
______________________________


IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LEARN OR TO UNDERSTAND THE HOLOCAUST
WITHOUT DISCUSSING ANTISEMITISM,
SINCE ANTISEMITISM WAS CENTRAL IN NAZI IDEOLOGY.
WITHOUT ANTISEMITISM, THE MURDER OF THE JEWS COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.

Go to ‘Antisemitism and the Nazis’















THE INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE ALLIANCE (IHRA)

(1)  OBJECTIVE

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is an intergovernmental body whose purpose is to place political and social leaders’ support behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research both nationally and internationally.

II was initiated in 1998 by former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson.  Persson decided to establish an international organization that would expand Holocaust education worldwide, and asked President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to join him in this effort.  

IHRA currently (March 2016) has 31 member countries , ten observer countries and seven Permanent International Partners.  Membership is open to all democratic countries, and members must be committed to the Stockholm Declaration and to the implementation of national policies and programs in support of Holocaust education, remembrance, and research.  Member countries are encouraged to develop multilateral partnerships and to share best practices.

(2)  EDUCATION

A central question raised by many educators and students is why teach and learn about the Holocaust when other crimes against humanity are perpetrated today? A clear and well-informed understanding of the Holocaust, the paradigmatic genocide, may help educators and students understand other genocides, mass atrocities, and human rights violations. The study of the Holocaust can aide in our obligation to develop a model that the warning signs and predisposing factors for human violence and genocide.

The purpose of these guidelines is to strengthen teaching about the Holocaust. The teaching will be different from country to country, from school to school, and from time to time. Therefore, it is understood that it is important to stress the need for self-evaluation of teaching efforts by all educators.

WHAT TO TEACH ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST
(See also Yad Vashem Video Toolbox, Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation - E-Learning)

In general, teaching about the Holocaust should:

  1. Advance knowledge about this unprecedented destruction
  2. Preserve the memory of those who suffered
  3. Encourage educators and students to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust and as they apply in today's world

These aims can be clearly seen in the following definitions of the Holocaust:

  1. Under the cover of the Second World War, for the sake of their "new order," the Nazis sought to destroy all the Jews of Europe. For the first time in history, industrial methods were used for the mass extermination of a whole people. Six million were murdered, including 1,500,000 children. This event is called the Holocaust.
  2. The Nazis enslaved and murdered millions of others as well. Gypsies, people with physical and mental disabilities, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, trade unionists, political opponents, prisoners of conscience, homosexuals, and others were killed in vast numbers.

Imperial War Museum, London, UK

The Holocaust refers to a specific genocidal event in twentieth-century history: the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims -6 million were murdered; Gypsies, the handicapped, and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents, also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., USA

The Holocaust was the murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. Between the German invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941 and the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, Nazi Germany and its accomplices strove to murder every Jew under their domination. Because Nazi discrimination against the Jews began with Hitler's accession to power in January 1933, many historians consider this the start of the Holocaust era. The Jews were not the only victims of Hitler's regime, but they were the only group that the Nazis sought to destroy entirely.

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel  (see also Antisemitism Videos)

Teaching about the Holocaust can and must be different in various contexts. In order to see the differences between the Holocaust and other genocides, comparisons should be carefully distinguished and similarities also should be articulated.

When teaching about the Holocaust, it is helpful to address three basic questions:

  1. Why shall I teach about the Holocaust?
  2. What shall I teach about the Holocaust?
  3. How shall I teach about the Holocaust?

QUESTIONS

The first question involves issues of rationale. The second question involves selection of information, while the third question deals with appropriate pedagogical approaches based on the student group. These guidelines do not address the first and third questions. These questions will be addressed in other guidelines.

APPROACHES

In addition to history, the Holocaust can also be approached through other disciplines, such as literature, psychology, religious studies, and others.

As national and local commemorative activities are seen to be of value, it is advised to provide educational support to such activities.

The study of the Holocaust must be examined within the context of European history as a whole. We encourage educators to also examine the local context for this history. Educators should provide context for the events of the Holocaust by including information about:

As for the historical themes or topics connected with teaching about the Holocaust, educators might examine the following, among others, when constructing lessons on the Holocaust. As they do so, they may consider this history from the perspectives of the:

1933-1939

1939-1945

Aftermath

(3)  HOW TO TEACH ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST IN SCHOOLS  

There can be no single "correct" way of teaching any subject, no ideal methodology that is appropriate for all teachers and students. What is offered here are guidelines and advice that might prove useful to schoolteachers in constructing their own schemes of work, taking into account the learning needs of individual students. These guidelines draw on current best practice from a number of institutions with expertise in teaching the Holocaust to address some of the concerns teachers have about how to approach this very difficult subject and to present possible ways forward.

Holocaust education stands upon advances in research and has changed significantly over the last three decades; this document seeks to reflect a continuing process of pedagogical development and improvement and, as such, is not intended as the final word on this subject.

Many teachers are reluctant to explore the history of the Holocaust with their students because of the perceived difficulties in teaching the subject. They are overwhelmed by how to convey the scale of the tragedy, the enormity of the numbers involved, and the depths to which humanity can sink. They wonder how to move their students without traumatising them; they worry about their students' possible reactions to this subject and how to deal with "inappropriate" behaviour in the classroom, such as giggling or expressing antisemitic and racist remarks.

Do not be afraid to approach this subject as, while it may appear daunting, experience has shown that the Holocaust can be successfully taught to students and may have very positive results.

(4)  SUMMARY  

(5)  UCL  

AN EDUCATIONAL IMPERATIVE - “You can’t interpret the world without                                                      understanding the Holocaust

Not long ago, and not far from where we live, ordinary people across Europe became complicit in the murder of their neighbours. What will young people’s education amount to if they do not confront this appalling truth?

For the Holocaust was a catastrophe not only for its millions of victims but also for our view of ourselves, of who we are, our faith in human nature, and a belief in western progress and ‘civilization’. If we are not prepared to consider what went wrong in modern society that allowed state persecution of political opponents; mass murder of the disabled; European genocide of the Roma (Gypsies); and ultimately led to an attempt to murder every last Jewish man, woman and child, then how can we consider ourselves to be educated people at all?

“You can’t interpret the world without understanding the Holocaust”

Learning about such events can be profoundly disturbing. Our programme helps teachers to support young people as they deal with powerful and sometimes disorientating feelings, helping them to express themselves and to develop their emotional literacy. It also explores how and why the Holocaust happened through detailed historical study of the most extensively documented, intensively researched, and best understood genocide in human history.

This combination of the affective and the cognitive realms is essential if we are to both strengthen a commitment to genocide prevention and, through careful comparison with other examples of mass violence, to better identify the warning signs of future atrocities and to understand what sort of interventions might be available in order to prevent them.

(6)    A TEACHERS GUIDE TO THE HOLOCAUST

Approximately 11 million people were killed because of Nazi genocidal policy. It was the explicit aim of Hitler's regime to create a European world both dominated and populated by the "Aryan" race. The Nazi machinery was dedicated to eradicating millions of people it deemed undesirable. Some people were undesirable by Nazi standards because of who they were,their genetic or cultural origins, or health conditions. These included Jews, Gypsies, Poles and other Slavs, and people with physical or mental disabilities. Others were Nazi victims because of what they did. These victims of the Nazi regime included Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, the dissenting clergy, Communists, Socialists, asocials, and other political enemies.

Those believed by Hitler and the Nazis to be enemies of the state were banished to camps. Inside the concentration camps, prisoners were forced to wear various colored triangles, each color denoting a different group. The letters on the triangular badges below designate the prisoners' countries of origin.

JEWS

Antisemitism  was a familiar part of European political life in the 1800s. Political antisemitism was preceded by centuries of religious persecution of Europe's Jews. There is evidence as early as 1919 that Hitler had a strong hatred of Jews. As Chancellor and later Reichsf�hrer, Hitler translated these intense feelings into a series of policies and statutes which progressively eroded the rights of German Jews from 1933-1939.

At first, the Nazis boycotted Jewish businesses for one day in April 1933. Then legislation excluded Jews from certain professions. The Nuremberg Laws created very detailed Nazi definitions of who was Jewish. Many people who never considered themselves Jewish suddenly became targets of Nazi persecution.

The world accessible to German Jews narrowed. Jews were no longer allowed to enter cinemas, theaters, swimming pools, and resorts. The publishing of Jewish newspapers was suspended. Jews were required to carry identification cards and to wear Star of David badges. On one night, Nazis burned synagogues and vandalized Jewish businesses. The arrests and murders that followed intensified the fear Jews felt. Next, Jewish children were barred from schools. Curfews restricted Jews' time of travel and Jews were banned from public places. Germany began to expel Jews from within its borders.

Germany's invasion of Poland in late 1939 radicalized the Nazi regime's policy toward Jews. Hitler turned to wholesale death of the European Jewish population. He swept Jewish populations into ghettos in eastern Europe. Simultaneously, mobile squads killed millions. The next step was to send Jews to squalid concentration and death camps. Approximately six million died for one reason: they were Jewish.

ROMA (GYPSIES)

The Roma, a nomadic people believed to have come originally from northwest India, consisted of several tribes or nations. Most of the Roma who had settled in Germany belonged to the Sinti nation. The Sinti and Roma had been persecuted for centuries. The Nazi regime continued the persecution, viewing the Roma both as asocial and as racially inferior to Germans.

Although the Nuremberg Laws did not specifically mention them, Roma were included in the implementation of the statutes. Like Jews, they were deprived of their civil rights. In June 1936, a Central Office to "Combat the Gypsy Nuisance" opened in Munich. By 1938, Sinti and Roma were being deported to concentration camps.

The fate of the Romani peoples paralleled that of the Jews after the beginning of World War II: systematic deportation and murder. First, western European Roma were resettled in ghettos. Then they were sent to concentration and extermination camps. Many Roma in the east--Russia, Poland, and the Balkans--were shot by the Einsatzgruppen.  In total, hundreds of thousands of Sinti and Roma were killed during the Holocaust.

  Further information about the Sinti and Roma, a photo, and links to other Web sites.

POLES AND OTHER SLAVS

It is often forgotten that Christian Poles and other Slavs, notably Ukrainians and Byelorussians, were also primary targets of Nazi Germany hatred during World War II. To the Nazis, the Slavs were considered Untermenschen,or subhumans, and nothing more than obstacles to gaining territory necessary for the superior German race. This philosophy is apparent in Hitler's statement, "The destruction of Poland is our primary task. The aim is not the arrival at a certain line but the annihilation of living forces...."

The combination of a Nazi genocidal policy and the Nazis' thirst for more living space resulted in disaster for Polish, Ukrainian, and Byelorussian populations. Millions of Slavs were deported to Germany for forced labor. Intelligentsia, consisting of teachers, physicians, clergy, business owners, attorneys, engineers, landowners, and writers, were imprisoned in concentration camps or publicly executed. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians were executed by mobile killing squads, or Einsatzgruppen.

Those who were sent to camps had to wear badges, of course. There was not one badge designation for Poles and other Slavs. Rather, a Polish or Slavic person was categorized as a criminal, asocial, political prisoner, and so on.

Millions upon millions of non-Jews were slaughtered in the Slavic countries.

POLITICAL DISSIDENTS AND DISSENTING CLERGY

The remnants of the Communist and Socialist parties and members of the trade unions resisted the Nazi regime. Especially in the early years of the Third Reich, political prisoners were a significant portion of the concentration camp inmates. At the end of July 1933, about 27,000 political prisoners were being held in concentration camps in "protective custody." During its twelve year existence, Dachau was always a camp for political prisoners.

In 1933, the Roman Catholic Church signed a concordat or agreement with the new Nazi government, recognizing the legitimacy of the Third Reich. The Protestant Church was united into a single Reich Church under one bishop. In September 1933, Martin Niemöller, a pastor of a fashionable church in Berlin, set up a Pastors' Emergency League which led to the formation of the anti-Nazi Confessional Church. This church wrote a memorandum to Hitler attacking the government's anti-Christian campaign, policies of antisemitism, and terrorizing tactics. Hitler responded with a crackdown on members of the Confessional Church. Hundreds of dissenting clergy were arrested, many were imprisoned, and also executed.

 PERSONS WITH PHYSICAL OR MENTAL DISABILITIES

These people never were assigned a badge because they were rarely sent to concentration camps. Persons with physical or mental disabilities threatened the Nazi plan for human "perfection."

In 1934, forced sterilization programs sterilized 300,000 - 400,000 people, mainly those in mental hospitals and other institutions. Propaganda was distributed which helped build public support for these government policies. Persons who were mentally ill or physically disabled were stigmatized, while the costs of care were emphasized in propaganda campaigns.

In 1939, a Nazi "euthanasia  program" began. This term is used as a euphemism for the Nazi plan to murder those with physical or mental defects. Unlike the sterilization program, the "euthanasia" program was conducted in secrecy. "Operation T4" was the code term used to designate this killing project.

As word leaked out about the "euthanasia" program, some church leaders, parents of victims, physicians, and judges protested the killings. Hitler ordered the end of Operation T4 in August 1941. However, the murders continued in a decentralized manner. Doctors were encouraged to kill patients with disabilities by starvation, poisoning, or injection.

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

In 1933, the Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany totaled about twenty thousand. Although their religious meetings were outlawed after the Nazi rise to power, many continued to practice their religion. In 1934, Jehovah's Witnesses attempted to fend off Nazi attacks by having congregations send letters to the government explaining their beliefs and political neutrality.

The Nazis did not tolerate the Jehovah's Witnesses' refusal, which was based on religious principles, to salute flags, to raise their arms to "Heil Hitler,"or to serve in the German army. The group was banned by national law in April 1935. Those Witnesses who defied the ban on their activities were arrested and sent to prisons and concentration camps.

Marked with purple triangular badges, the Witnesses were a relatively small group of prisoners in the concentration camps, numbering several hundred per camp. If Jehovah's Witnesses within the camps signed documents renouncing their religious beliefs, they would be freed. Very few, even in the face of torture, signed the declarations. In all, about 10,000 Jehovah's Witnesses were imprisoned in concentration camps. Of these, approximately 2,500 to 5,000 died in Dachau, Belsen, Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and other camps.

HOMOSEXUALS

A state policy of persecution of homosexuals began in Germany in 1933. Publications by and about homosexuals were prohibited and burned. In 1934, a special Gestapo  division on homosexuals was set up. A criminal code relating to homosexuality was amended and made harsher. German police raided gay clubs and bars and made arrests.

Some homosexuals spent time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000-15,000 were sent to concentration camps. Even within the confines of the camps, homosexuals were mistreated and tormented by other inmates.

The Nazi regime claimed its concern about homosexuality related to keeping the Aryan birthrate high. German and Austrian gays were subject to arrest and imprisonment, but in German-occupied countries, Nazis did not deport homosexuals and send them to camps.

Memorial photographs, Web links, and a bibliography related to homosexual victims of the Third Reich.

OTHER VICTIMS

When the Nazis came to power there were hundreds of African-German children living in the Rhineland. They were the offspring of German mothers and African soldiers brought in during the French occupation. In Mein Kampf,Hitler claimed these children were part of a Jewish plot to begin "bastardizing the European continent at its core." Under the Nazi regime, African-German children were labeled "Rhineland Bastards" and forcibly sterilized.

Asocials were another category of people that Nazis deemed undesirable, and necessary for eradication. Nazis targeted numerous vagrants, prostitutes, alcoholics, and others who were considered unfit for society.

Interactive quiz on victims.

Lesson plans, discussion questions, term paper topics, reproducible handouts, and other resources for teaching about victims are available here.


HOLOCAUST TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER

This Holocaust Teacher Resource Center (TRC) web site, is dedicated to the memory of the six million Jewish people slaughtered during the Holocaust and the millions other people slaughtered during the Nazi era. It strives to combat prejudice and bigotry by transforming the horrors of the Holocaust into positive lessons to help make this a better and safer world for everybody. This site is sponsored by the Holocaust Education Foundation, Inc.


REFERENCES

(1) IHRA

(2)  IHRA

(3) IHRA

(4)  IHRA  

(5)  UCL Centre for Holocaust Education   By Paul Salmons March 2014

(6)  A Teachers Guide to the Holocaust  Florida Center for Instructional Technology


THE

INCREDIBLE

STORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE


TEACHING THE HOLOCAUST
 IN TODAY'S WORLD
Yad Vashem  2017 (11.10)