According to Fox News, a survey of around 1,000 Britain high school students aged 11 to 16 found 10 percent of youngsters were unsure of what Auschwitz was and 2 percent thought it was a brand of beer. For those of us actually in the know Auschwitz was a Nazi concentration/extermination camp in which over 1 million Jews and other undesirables were worked and gassed to death.
I do not find this survey suprising. It makes perfect sense to me. It is not because Brits are any less intelligent, their teachers any less educated or the schools are any less educationally efficient in world history. IMHO none of these are the reason. The reason is simple. British parents and grandparents who lived through the Nazi terror are sick and tired of talking about it. They lived and breathed the wrath of Hitler when it mattered most. They feel they have been beaten over the head with Hitler and the Holocaust for over 60 years. They want to move on. They are therefore diminishing it in the schools and to their children. How do I know this? They have told me. I have written quite few blogs on the Holocaust and Hitler. Without exception, after each one is written I will get emails from people in the U.K asking me why I find the material intersting and telling me they find it tiresome. While they acknowledge the importance of the events, they feel like they are being held “historically hostage” Whats the logical follow? Schools stop talking about it to students. Grandprents and parents stop talking about it to their children. Is that the right way to go? That is not for me to say. I find the subject of the Holocaust fascinating and believe it should be a historical imperative in secondary education. I will never forget and hope no one else does. I however did not live through the bombing of London.