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Post75th Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 01/27/20 2:06 pm)
Yesterday I read a news item that was astonishing, to say the least. A significant percentage of European and US young people do not know what the Holocaust and Auschwitz were. According to the survey results, 33% of European and 47% of Americans are unaware.
As many of you might remember, today (January 27th) is the 75th anniversary of the day that Soviet soldiers liberated the hellish Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. It is a place that should always be remembered to remind past, present and future generations of the atrocities human beings are capable of committing. Educators must be doing something wrong if young generations are forgetting or misinterpreting what happened in those places.
The history of those horrific events should be addressed more seriously by education professionals and we should all pay respect to the memory of the genocide victims.
JE comments: Americans, after Henry Ford, don't "do" history. It's "bunk." But I still would have thought that more than 53% would have heard of the Holocaust. For starters, Elie Wiesel's Night is assigned in many US high schools. Stepson Martin read it at about age 14. Granted, one cannot force the students to actually read.
What's the news/fallout of the Putin visit to Jerusalem?
Education and Holocaust Memory
(Carmen Negrin, -France
01/28/20 3:43 AM)
Surprising numbers from José Ignacio Soler (January 27th).
In the French public school (not in the English meaning of "public school") where my children attended, they were offered at age 13-14 a trip to Auschwitz. Whether they went or not was optional, but at least they had to hear about it. It was part of the school programme. I guess the same happens in Germany as well.
The anniversary commemorations are also well covered by the radio and TV news networks. It seems rather difficult to avoid knowing about it, unless one is only on Internet.
JE comments: The "blame" for Holocaust ignorance is probably not the fault of the educational system, but rather of the students who see no personal relevance in events of 75 years past. With even the youngest survivors getting too old to visit schools, the all-important human connection is lost.
I've visited Auschwitz twice, the first time in 1985. My college travel buddy Chris Brown and I had the whole place almost to ourselves. Nearly as much time has passed since then (35 years), as from the liberation until my first visit (40 years). I returned in the mid-2000s, and Auschwitz had been commercialized with interactive exhibits, a snack bar, and ample bus parking. Something had been lost, even desecrated, in the interim.
A far more chilling and "authentic" camp experience is the smaller but still intact Majdanek, outside Lublin.