Thursday, February 28, 2008

Holocaust Education in the News: Sarkozy's Approach in France, Another in Germany, and Reflections on the UK Rumor

The New York Jewish Week covers the reaction to Sarkosy's proposal, which has been tweaked by his educational advisers.

The New York Times has run a number of stories related to Holocaust education in the past few days.

The lead story in yesterday's Arts section covers a "comic book" used in German schools. [Those who might be skeptical about the use of comic books for this subject should take a look at Maus one of the most powerful books on the topic.]

Susan Dominus, prompted by the Sarkozy proposal, focuses on her own recollections about learning about the topic. It is a reminder of how much Holocaust education has changed. I was excoriated by many people years ago for my article, "Invoking the Holocaust: the Use and Abuse of the Holocaust," which made the same point. "Invoking the Holocaust," Judaism, Vol. 30, No. 119 [1981]

New York Times Education writer, Sam Freeman, writes about the UK rumor about giving up teaching on the Holocaust. The BBC covered this topic on its web page a few weeks ago. Given the persistence of this rumor, it is worth noting that while the notion of a country dropping the topic is absurd, there probably are teachers in the UK, France, and other places who avoid the topic for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the students in their classes come from homes where Holocaust denial is accepted.


Ludovic said...

By saying "even if uncooked, the president’s original notion about personalizing and revivifying a moral turning point in modern history reflected a broad change afoot", Sam Freeman puts himself in dissensus with the French education minister’s advisory group which concluded yesterday that history lessons on the Holocaust had better not be personalized, and that the Holocaust history programs introduced in French primary schools in 2002 needed no major change. "Nothing specific has been decided but we all want to improve on what is already being well done by teachers", Simone Veil said, according to

Ludovic said...

In the comment I sent yesterday, I interverted two New York Times articles and writers. I should have mentioned Michael Kimmelman instead of Sam Freeman as the author of the quote. I am sorry for this mistake.