Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Teaching the Holocaust


  • Please log in to reply
74 replies to this topic

#1 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:27 AM

I attended a very good HA session last night with a session run by Nicholas Kinloch. There were several very interesting points raised and a few areas worthy of further discussion:

Nicholas outlined the way that study of the Holocaust had developed over the years. A brief explanation of this is:

1) D Goldhagen. Looked at the broader picture to try and establish why the Holocaust happened. Argued that the German people were infected by anti-semiticism.

2) Aly and Heim wrote an article in 1990 that offered a new theory. These scholars argue that there was rational and economical planning by middle management in the Third Reich, under the direction of Hans Franck, that led to the Holocaust being possible.

3) The University of Freiburg. In the book Nationalist Extermination Policies, edited by U. Herbert they argue that the Holocaust was a deliberate attempt at the biological re-ordering of Europe. This is quite distinct from a racial policy - asylums were often the first place to be cleared for example, and the victims of this process may be Aryan.

Nicholas' research into the SS in Vilnius was explained. He coined the term Bio-Utopia as a possible explanation of what was being attempted. He used a diagram to illustrate how the professions combined with ideology to create a situation in which this was attempted.

Bio- Utopia

Political Cleansing - Sterilisation
Historic Sciences - Euthanasia
Geneology - Eastern Conquest
Racial Science - Ethnic Resettlement
Racial Health Laws - Germanisation
Lebensborn - Extermination

(Ok, so the diagram is hard to do on the forum - items to the left are the things that result from the professionals, items on the right result from ideology)

Several questions were discussed at the session, which may be worth discussing here:

Teachers lack sufficient subject knowledge in this area. How can this be overcome? (Probably enough scope for this to be an entirely seperate thread in itself, given that the same judgement can be applied to just about any area of the history curriculum).

Is it a good idea to use videos and images of the victims of the Holocaust? Can this lead to 'unwanted' reactions and a trivialisation of the issues?

How can teachers link their teaching of the Holocaust with other examples of Genocide? Should they do this?

How do teachers avoid creating anti-German sentiment whilst teaching the Holocaust?

Are there inherent dangers in making frequent use of eyewitness testimonies when teaching the Holocaust, especially given that students studying the Holocaust will likely have been taught to question the reliability of sources and witnesses?

How do teachers deal with Holocaust denial?

Edited by Dan Moorhouse, 18 November 2003 - 09:31 AM.


#2 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 18 November 2003 - 12:31 PM

An interesting add on to my first post. The SS records in Vilnius showed that amongst the first experts sent to the region, were Gardeners. The reason?

Edited by Dan Moorhouse, 18 November 2003 - 12:34 PM.


#3 jo norton

jo norton

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 220 posts

Posted 18 November 2003 - 03:38 PM

Are there inherent dangers in making frequent use of eyewitness testimonies when teaching the Holocaust, especially given that students studying the Holocaust will likely have been taught to question the reliability of sources and witnesses?

How do teachers deal with Holocaust denial? 


Its a incredibly important topic that must be taught, and I think that your point is very valid Dan -having built up source skills repeatedly, and cross -referenced loads of sources on the Holocaust to help them build up a picture of what happened. They collect sources about the Holocaust and then I direct my pupils to a Holocaust denial site and we analyse it - they quickly establish that most of them (in Yahoo directories under revisionism) are aimed at children and are very simplistic. They print out a copy and glue at least 2 sources that contradict / argue / back up each point the site makes. I have found only 1 isolated source that backs up the denials, but it shows the class how you can twist facts.

The pupils deal very well with this, it shows the denial sites as weak and without base, and the best bit is David Irving's website asks you to email him with any comments, so the pupils do. I've done this for 2 years with 2 classes each year, he has yet to reply.

#4 D Letouzey

D Letouzey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 451 posts

Posted 18 November 2003 - 08:37 PM

Dan,

Thank you for this very interesting message.

In France, Holocaust denial has often been set as an argument against using internet at school.

In contrast, several teachers try to publish historical materials on the french web :

- Survivors from Auschwitz have created, with history teachers, a « Cercle d’étude de la déportation et de la Shoah ». Abstracts from their meetings can be read at http://cercleshoah.free.fr

For this Cercle, Georges Bensoussan (CDJC) has held 2 conferences on Teaching the Holocaust . In the last one, he studies how Middle East politics can affect this teaching.
http://aphgcaen.free.../bensoussan.htm
http://aphgcaen.free...bensoussan2.htm

Annette Wieviorka has published an important book on « L'Ère du témoin » (witness’ time)

I have numerised an long article from François Delpech on The Holocaust history, published in 1979 by Historiens & Géographes, a magazine for teachers :
http://aphgcaen.free...cle/delpech.htm
A selection of websites : http://dletouzey.fre...aq/ensshoah.htm

- Michel Fingerhut, Gilles Karmasyn, D Nantanson have created historical websites to show that internet is not restricted to Holocaust deniers :
http://www.anti-rev.org/
http://www.phdn.org
http://perso.wanadoo...anson/shoah.htm

- The role and effect of images have been debated about Alain Resnais « Nuit et Brouillard » (1955), a film which used Bergen-Belsen english images - , and Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (1985) : http://dletouzey.free.fr/resnais.htm
Questions are raised about recent fictions : Le pianiste, La vie est belle (Benigni)

- Teachers can have access to a huge bibliography.
Just 4 books, 2 translated :
Raul Hillberg, The Destruction of the European Jews
Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men...
2 from "thèses universitaires" :
Denis Peschanski La France des camps (1938-1946) : http://histoire-soci...s1.fr/Denis.htm
Michel Fabreguet, Mauthausen http://www.campmauth...re/Page2.1.html

- Primo Levi Si c'est un homme is often studied, either in history, in literature or in philosophy.

- Students can participate to a Concours national de la Résistance et de la déportation. In 2002, they had to study Art and the Holocaust
http://www.fondation...rochure9900.htm
http://www.fondation...ure01-02zip.zip

So several history teachers felt very angry about history at the baccalauréat, last june : some students copy, for instance, from a Primo Levi 's text, that Jews were tatooed before entering a train !! Forgetting what they may have learnt at school.

Daniel

#5 Richard Jones-Nerzic

Richard Jones-Nerzic

    Long-term Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 510 posts

Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:19 PM

Students can participate to a Concours national de la Résistance et de la déportation. In 2002, they had to study Art and the Holocaust
http://www.fondation...rochure9900.htm
http://www.fondation...ure01-02zip.zip

An interesting post Daniel with much of use to me personally. Could you recommend any websites or books (English/French language) on the deportation of French Jews, particularly in the south West? I have a International Bac student considering research on this at the moment.

Edited by Richard Jones-Nerzic, 18 November 2003 - 09:20 PM.

All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke


European School Brussels III
International School History

#6 D Letouzey

D Letouzey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 451 posts

Posted 19 November 2003 - 07:54 AM

Richard,
a few directions :

- Serge Klarsfeld La Shoah en France Fayard 2001 4674 pages
4 volumes :
Tome 1, Vichy, Auschwitz.
Tome 2 et 3, Le calendrier de la persécution des Juifs de France.
Tome 4, Le mémorial des enfants juifs déportés de France.

http://www.parutions...1-4-7-2329.html

- Vormeier Barbara
La déportation des Juifs allemands et autrichiens de France = The deportation of german and austrian jews from France S.l. : La Solidarité, 1980.

- You may ask to other history teachers, or to Archives départementales if they have recorded witnesses from local survivors. On the French Resistance side, in Toulouse, you may try to contact Serge Ravanel and his friends.

- Dominique Natanson 's website is a reference.
If you don't find his email, please tell me.

- The Papon trial, in Bordeaux, was an opportunity for national and local newspapers to study this deportation in Aquitaine.
You may have a look at their archives in the Toulouse library.

- All concentration camps survivors have their association.
The Amicale d'Auschwitz address : http://aphgcaen.free.fr/cercle.htm
I have listed many other websites : http://dletouzey.fre...aq/ensshoah.htm
and particularly the Foundations :
. Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah : http://www.fondationshoah.org
. Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation : http://www.fmd.asso.fr
. Mémoire de la déportation, cédérom de la FMD,
dossier pédagogique (40 pages) : http://crdp.ac-besan...actu/CD-ROM.pdf

. Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine : http://www.memorial-cdjc.org
. You may also email to Yad-Vashem, and to the USHM in Washington

a last address, about Children in the Creuse departement, by Yves Guiet, an other history teacher :
http://www.educreuse...ts/sommaire.htm

Daniel

#7 Richard Jones-Nerzic

Richard Jones-Nerzic

    Long-term Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 510 posts

Posted 19 November 2003 - 12:58 PM

Richard,
a few directions :

Fantastic.

On behalf of my student merci beaucoup
All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke


European School Brussels III
International School History

#8 D Letouzey

D Letouzey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 451 posts

Posted 19 November 2003 - 04:07 PM

a few more addresses from Nicole Mullier :

Papon affair :
http://www.matisson-...pon/index02.php

Papon 's trial in SUD OUEST
http://www.sudouest....rect/Index.html

Mérignac camp (Juifs du Sud ouest) :
http://www.humanite....98-03-18-350227

Fort du Hâ :
http://perso.wanadoo...on/eleves8.html

German Jews (expulsés du Pays de Bade et du Palatinat) were sent to Gurs camp
http://gurs.free.fr/
This address shows a map of the French camps : http://gurs.free.fr/liens.html#

Another website on Gurs :
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/campg

Le Vernet camp :
http://www.ariege.co...toire/levernet/

reverse POV : 18 german soldiers buried in Saintonge
http://www.liberatio...?Article=158811

Schoolhistory, a european structure for History teaching ?

Daniel

#9 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 19 November 2003 - 06:24 PM

Thanks for the links Daniel, my ignorance of the french language is being overcome thanks to a bit of help from our Foreign linguists.

With regards the use of eyewitness accounts:

Is it best to stick to the basics with studies like this? Who, What, Where, Why and When? This removes the possibility of students questioning the validity of individual accounts and still enables the teacher to provide a range of evidence showing that it did happen.

I must say that I find dealing with Holocaust denial extremely difficult myself, I've certainly shied away from it with Year 9 students. has anyone got any useful methods of dealing with this aspect?

Do other forum members make use of videos such as the liberation of Belsen, or any other Primary source material of this type? How do your students react to it? My own students tend to take it quite seriously, though several have made fun of the plight of the Jews as a result of seeing images - some find it hard to distinguish between the 'real' images shown on screen here and the deaths they see in fictional movies. Any ideas?

#10 Saints

Saints

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 89 posts

Posted 20 November 2003 - 08:24 AM

Dan - Thanks for starting this seminar. The HA event looked very interesting but distance prevented me from attending. A large part of my degree was on Holocaust studies yet since coming into teaching I have at times been dismayed at how poorly it can be taught.

One of my biggest fears is that at times the topic is thrown in at the end of a unit on the Second world war and an attempt is made to cover the subject in 2 lessons. Obviously I appreciate the demands of the curriculum, but in such places I feel the topic would have to be taught exceptionally to really cover in sufficient detail. From my experience, which I admit is not extensive, departments in this position tend to rely completely on images and primary source material. This I feel is difficult for the reasons that you point out. It also dehumanises the whole experience and it becomes very easy for pupils to resort to basic stereotypical explanations for the holocaust. Whilst considerations have to be made about the pupils being taught, trying to introduce this complex issue as 'simple' can present real interpretational problems. This has on occasions made teaching the Holocaust to lower ability sets a real problem for myself and something that I have had to work really hard at.

Some of the best materials I have and sessions I have seen were provided by the IWM Holocaust exhibition education unit. Has anyone else visited the exhibit with pupils and had one of the introductory sessions ? I would also be interested if anyone uses any of the material in the resource pack ? I do and whilst I have picked and discarded certain parts, overall their are some exceptional lessons in there.

#11 Gidz

Gidz

    Long-term Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 730 posts

Posted 21 November 2003 - 08:19 AM

The holocaust has gained a little extra-exposure recently with the creation / formulation of a National Holocaust Memorial Day in January. Last year in Manchester there was an event at the Bridgewater Hall attened by the great and good, titled and monied in a show of solidarity, unity, commemoration and celebration. This is quite apart from the State of Israel which has a memorial day the day before Independence Day.

Even so, I would like to survey your opinions on whether you feel that a National Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain, which remembers and focuses on the Armenians, Asian experiences as well as the plight of the Jews and others in World War II, has enhanced Holocaust education? It is taught as a coursework module for AQA GCSE and there is even talk of some A-level units becoming holocaust units.........

I am of the mind that the Holoacust in education has come along way since I was taught in the 1990s and the bias (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, revisioinist or otherwise) is at least being addressed.

Still, it is other opinions I wish to survey.

Thanks - Gidz :)

#12 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 22 November 2003 - 04:40 PM

The Holocaust memorial day seems to have raised awareness of the Holocaust and has led to some interesting resources and events being developed. As with most annual events of this kind, it has a positive impact if a department / school puts a bit of time and effort into making sure that it is taken seriously. This year we've got a day of workshops and activities based on tolerance booked for Year 7 which is conveniently close to the Memorial Day and at the time of year when we teach Year 7 (We run a Carosel for KS3 year groups in the foundation subjects). This should result in us doing something a little more worthwhile than in previous years.

#13 Jacko

Jacko

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 167 posts

Posted 24 November 2003 - 10:19 PM

A key part of my teaching of the Holocaust is our link with Paul Oppenheimer, a Belsen survivor. Paul has visited our school in each of the last 5 years to speak to our Year 9 pupils. He is a remarkable man. He has a totally matter-of-fact mode of delivery which makes his story immediately accessible to the pupils. In the last couple of years we have extended the session because they always have so much to ask him.

He always addresses the issue of Holocaust denial at the end of his talk. He simply says - "I know this happened. I was there".

I have a task which I set for the pupils which simply starts with two quotations, one from David Irving and one from Ernst Zundel. Their task is to investigate the evidence to see if it supports these statements. I direct them to the Simon Wiesenthal site as a starting point but then leave it very much up to them how they continue the investigation. It is important to ensure that the pupils don't just present sources/images without first evaluating them. The good students make an excellent job.

#14 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 25 November 2003 - 02:12 PM

I'm sure that works very well Jacko.

There are an ever lower number of survivors who are willing or able to talk to large numbers of students - it did happen 60 years ago, afterall.

Do archived interviews do the job as well? I'm not so sure myself - so in the medium to longer term we'll need to work out ways of covering this without having the benefit of survivors to speak to the group.

#15 Gidz

Gidz

    Long-term Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 730 posts

Posted 26 November 2003 - 08:10 AM

There are a number of archived interviews athat hve been taken by the great historian "Bill Williams" at manchester University on behalf of the Spielbery Survivors Trust and also some are logged at the Jewish Museum in Manchester.

In the past Bill has been on a virtual one man quest to catalogue and record the detail of History of Manchester Jewry and has also been heavily involved in the recording of survivor testimony and the study of first and second generation children of survivors.

Having a survivor in a school is an amazing experience for both professionals and pupil. And yes, their matter-of-factness is truly inspiring when you ocnsider the depth of experience and trauma they have been through. At our school we have also taken to video recording testimonies when they do come in (with permission, of course). The pupils are not always advised to take notes. It is better for them to listen and observe.

Any thoughts.

Gidz




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users