Author lectures on the importance of Holocaust education to school pupils

Saul Bellow

Pigeon
‘It happens to real people’: how to help children grasp the horror of the Holocaust

Remembering the questions of his own childhood has helped Michael Rosen to tell pupils difficult truths

Michael Rosen

Tue 21 Jan 2020 07.15 GMT


As a very young child, the only inkling I had of the Holocaust was that every now and then my father would say that he’d had two uncles in France who were “there before the war and weren’t there afterwards”. I’d wonder, how could they have just disappeared? How could there only be a nothing?

At weddings and wider family gatherings, we would meet his cousin Michael and later we would be told that Michael had been “put on a train in Poland” by his parents, been sent to a prison camp in the Soviet Union, fought with Polish forces in General Anders’ army, and had somehow arrived on our aunt’s doorstep in east London, but had never seen his parents again. Living in the London suburbs of the 1950s, I couldn’t figure out how any of this could have happened. How could you lose your parents?

When I am drawn into doing Holocaust education with children of the age I was then, I often think of how I heard these terrible things without understanding them or fully feeling them. To put it crudely, these things sounded to me, as a child under the age of 10, as sad but strange, with no connection to the safe kind of life I lived.

A bit later, on a trip to Germany in 1957, my parents said that they were being taken on a visit somewhere that was too awful for my brother and I to go with them. It was Buchenwald. When my mother came back, her face was grey. She tried to explain that thousands of people were tortured and killed there, people like us: Jews. I was 11. I thought of a place I had visited a few weeks earlier: the torture room at the Tower of London. Again, I think now of how my mind worked then: using a horror that I knew as a way of trying to understand the horror my mother was talking about.

All this was before the days of the internet, Wikipedia, documentaries about the Nazis on TV, or novels for children such as Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.

My childhood curiosity about the disappearances of my relatives turned into an adult quest, fuelled at first by irritation that nothing more was known other than my father saying he didn’t know. Later, I became infuriated that the Nazis had not only eliminated people from our family but that there were no traces. They had got away with it. When, in the late 80s there seemed to be concerted efforts to try to make Holocaust denial respectable, it felt more urgent to find out more.

Over the next 30 years, I pieced together the stories of how the two French uncles were seized and deported to Auschwitz, one as part of a Nazi roundup in Nice, the other as a result of ordinary French village gendarmes doing what they were asked to do: knocking on a door at 2.30 in the morning and arresting a Jew for being Jewish.

Because I started writing short pieces about these things, I found myself on several occasions in front of school students telling my family stories, thanks to teachers asking me in. At this point, let me acknowledge the years of work in Holocaust education by organisations such as the Holocaust Educational Trust, University College London’s Centre for Holocaust Education, the National Holocaust Centre and Museum, the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London, and others.

On other occasions I worked with the Anne Frank Foundation and later with children and survivors for a Radio 4 programme about memorialising the Holocaust.

Then, in one college, a young man raised his hand: “But none of this happened, did it?” It stopped me in my tracks. I had shown the students photos, lists, maps, diagrams, letters. Why hadn’t it convinced him? What should I have presented him with? More facts? More details? Eyewitness accounts? I still feel uneasy about this moment.

A couple of years later, Helen Weinstein, a public historian and the creative director of History Works, a media production company, asked me to take part in workshops across Cambridge schools – primary and secondary.

She had been asked by Cambridge city council to work with the schools in the lead-up to Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies.


Michael Rosen: ‘Stories hung in the air about great-aunts and uncles who’d gone’
Read more
She wanted me to mix several of the things I do: tell the story of what I had found out about my family, write poems, read them to the school students, write lyrics for songs that children, teenagers and adults would sing, help the children write poems, and offer ideas for teachers to carry on the work in their own ways. I’ve since taken part in Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies at which a survivor, Eva Clarke, has spoken alongside Eric Eugène Murangwa, a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi, and other witnesses of discrimination and persecution.

Each time I take part in these activities, I have to check with myself: why are we doing this? And are we going about it in the right way?

Adrian Kidd, the headteacher of Trumpington community college, Cambridge, where we’ve worked several times, says that Holocaust education has demonstrated to his students “the power of propaganda, extremist ideologies, hate, violence and the abuse of power”.

Tony Davies, the headteacher at St Matthew’s primary school, Cambridge, says that through hearing the stories from Clarke, Murangwa and me the children have come to understand that “genocide is not some abstract event that happens to ‘others’. It happens to real people, people like themselves, and it has happened in the past and in the present also.”

I’m glad of that. Clarke talks in a quiet, calm, determined way about the horrors faced primarily by her mother. Murangwa tells of his own survival in the teeth of what seemed like certain death.

Davies says children today are already very much aware of the terrible tragedies that occur across the world. “And of course, some of our children are refugees who themselves have fled genocide. So learning about these experiences, discussing them, expressing our feelings about them in a safe environment – this is essential.”

A year 6 girl at one of the Cambridge schools wrote:

Leaving my heart behind …
I will take the lullaby I knew when I was young.

This feels very different from my own childhood, and yet the way I tried to understand my parents’ visit to Buchenwald through making analogies must, I sense, work like that with children now. Sometimes we must be prepared for these children’s analogies and make space for them, in whatever shape they appear. A child in year 5 at St Matthew’s, wrote:

I sit on the warm spring grass
looking at an old, old bee dying on the leaf of a maple tree …
snatched away from its one and only home …
I sit on the warm spring grass …

Davies says: “The children have learned that when we remember the atrocities of the past we honour those who have been lost.”

A girl in year 7 wrote this:

Remember it
Remember it
the day they came
the day they asked my name
I packed a bag
and was never seen again.


Davies believes the children have learned “that it is possible to meet prejudice, hatred and division with fortitude and love, and that when we stand together to do so, as we do on Holocaust Memorial Day, we truly are better.”

I hope so.

Michael Rosen’s latest book is The Missing, about his search for information about his own family. It is suitable for children aged 10 and over
https://www.theguardian.com/educati...OOlKvWI0nymZENYynF__c84lvmInlb6of2V1SmVi8VrMw

The Diary of Anne Frank and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit were compulsory reading in our secondary school curriculum. In Berlin, school pupils are obliged to visit the Topography of Terror which was built on the site of the demolished SS headquarters. All German schoolchildren are made to visit a concentration camp as part of the their education. This has been exemplified by Angela Merkel's recent visit to Auschwitz as part of her gesture of acknowledging responsibility for her people's crimes.

Are we doing enough in making school kids in the West grapple with the reality of this episode in history as the premier example of genocide, especially against god's Chosen People? Rosen's contention is that this is the starkest way to make our youth realise that indifference is an underscore on the path from to hate, bullying, bigotry, resulting in oppression, rapine and mass murder. That while the Holocaust will remain known the the foremost and worst example of genocide, the mere belief of inherent differences between various groups of people, especially by the angry and disenfranchised, is a slippery slope towards crimes against humanity. He's contending that this standing up for the underdog, for good over evil, is as pertinent today as it was 70 years ago.
 

Rush87

Ostrich
Then, in one college, a young man raised his hand: “But none of this happened, did it?” It stopped me in my tracks. I had shown the students photos, lists, maps, diagrams, letters. Why hadn’t it convinced him? What should I have presented him with? More facts? More details? Eyewitness accounts? I still feel uneasy about this moment.
This reads like Mort from Family Goy. "Whaddya mean proof? Whaddya need proof for?"

[attachment=42973]
 

Attachments

Leonard D Neubache

Owl
Gold Member
Rosen's contention is that...
... while the Holocaust will remain known the the foremost and worst example of genocide, the mere belief of inherent differences between various groups of people, especially by the angry and disenfranchised, is a slippery slope towards crimes against humanity. He's contending that this standing up for the underdog, for good over evil, is as pertinent today as it was 70 years ago.
I couldn't agree more. Thankyou for the moral license to do what must be done, Mr Rosen.
 

scorpion

Ostrich
Gold Member
The Holocaust has become the de facto religion of secular Jews. It's actually perfect in that regard, because it allows them to worship themselves and play the victim at the same time. It's no exaggeration to say that you'd literally have an easier time convincing the average Jew that Jesus Christ is the Messiah than the Holocaust narrative as they know it is mostly bullshit. This is why they insist on endlessly brainwashing children with gruesome Holocaust stories and have passed blasphemy laws that criminalize even questioning parts of the official Holocaust narrative. It is their religion and sole source of Jewish identity, as well as the founding myth underlying the creation of the modern state of Israel. They can never let it go.

I liked that nameless kid's response to the overwrought Holocaust emotionalism that Jew foisted on him though. He has the right idea.

"Wow, that was a hell of a story. Could you imagine if something like that actually happened!?"
 

Dr. Howard

Peacock
Gold Member
scorpion said:
The Holocaust has become the de facto religion of secular Jews. It's actually perfect in that regard, because it allows them to worship themselves and play the victim at the same time. It's no exaggeration to say that you'd literally have an easier time convincing the average Jew that Jesus Christ is the Messiah than the Holocaust narrative as they know it is mostly bullshit. This is why they insist on endlessly brainwashing children with gruesome Holocaust stories and have passed blasphemy laws that criminalize even questioning parts of the official Holocaust narrative. It is their religion and sole source of Jewish identity, as well as the founding myth underlying the creation of the modern state of Israel. They can never let it go.

I liked that nameless kid's response to the overwrought Holocaust emotionalism that Jew foisted on him though. He has the right idea.

"Wow, that was a hell of a story. Could you imagine if something like that actually happened!?"
Its the bronze snake/golden calf of our age.
 

Number one bummer

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Saul Bellow said:
tanding up for the underdog, for good over evil, is as pertinent today as it was 70 years ago.


This line is the cause for the incoherent secular morality and degeneracy we see today. Self-hating whites look at centuries of moral supremacy and technological dominion as something that needs to be corrected through the support of moral "underdogs."

It's how the west ended up with "gay" marriage, pedophile story hour in public schools, "islamaphobia" and every degenerate idea enforced in that last several decades. Sometimes ideas, cultures and people are "underdogs" because their ideas suck or are evil.

It's the secular leftist version of a white man's burden, every idea God said not to do and every reprehensible culture needs to be lifted and accepted, or else.

Certain cherry-picked events like the holocaust also serve as a firewall to enforce cultural relativism against whites, while promoting and indemnifying inferior/marxist cultures.
 

JiggyLordJr

Woodpecker
There's resources out there that legitimately debunk the "Holocaust", but they're difficult to find nowadays. Most search engines have deleted the pages due to "antisemitism" or "discriminatory content." Regardless, a few tidbits that have stuck with me:

- The Amsterdam Convention of 1933. All of the most powerful jooz convened here to discuss how to orchestrate WWII.
- 500,000 jooz were registered in Germany at the time of WWII. It's not a huge number, because...
- 80% of all jooz worldwide at the time were located in Germany. Which means that there were...
- 600,000 total jooz. Give or take a few I suppose. But nowhere near the...
- 6 million that we keep hearing about. How can 6 million people be killed when only 600k exist?

We should start a megathread on this.
 
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