Forgetting The Holocaust

auschwitz_lAccording 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.


12 Responses

  1. In my second book, I talk about the Pianist and here is an excerpt…

    Moving forward, I continued on my movie watching spree and watched the Pianist: A Story of Survival! Truth be told, an artist will endure any suffering to perfect his/her craft. Albeit, I don't want to overshadow the true life story, of brilliant pianist and composer Wladislaw Szpilman, who suffered through the Holocaust. As an African-America, I will never truly grasp the affect, realm and scope of this event. I will never fathom, the amount of suffering Mr. Spilman and countless others endured. In my mind and in my heart, I try to compare it to the slave trade of the slave industry in the America's and all over the world, but then I realize…that's comparing apples to oranges. In my heart of hearts, I realize a comparison of suffering between Blacks and Jews is irrelavant. How do you scale such matters? Time? # of deaths? Instead I look at the number of deaths, that have been committed, in times of WAR, deemed Holy or not. No matter the color, religion or decent…WHEN can we stop killing humans?

  2. Are we not smarter then the average beast? Yes, we are smart enough to start wars, but when are we going to evolve into a time of PEACE. Too many have suffered, from what I would call ignorance in a DARK AGE. Find the light inside, like the german officer who loved an enemy, as a friend. WE are not at war wtih eachother…we are at war with OURSELVES, if that makes sense?

    Long story short, as an african american, I notice how many blacks…have forgotten how much WE as a subset of a species have gone through. It's one thing to move forward, but it is yet another to never forget! I think, this is a disservice to those that endured the suffering to get us to this point. I would say, that the same holds true, in this case! I hope that you will forgive me, if you feel that I missed the point, but I believe…that I didn't!

  3. Interesting thoughts, but let me leave some comments:
    1. "British prents and grandparents who lived through the Nazi terror are sick and tired of talking about it."
    There are no parents of young people who experienced the Nazi terror firsthand. You had to be born at least around 1930-1935 in order to realize, what was going on. The parent of a 15 year old youngster would be 74-79 years old. Well, just leave it at grandparents, but even these grandparents become fewer and fewer.

    2. "Schools stop talking about it to students."
    I do not think that this will come soon. However, this raises an interesting question: How will you teach that subject in 10, 20 or 100 years in a way that it it does not become yet another historical subject like the 30yrs war? Thankfully, here in Germany it is still part of many courses, which you have to take. But again, I think Germany has a more urgent responsibility towards this subject. You can argue, in which way the subject matter is best tought, but we have visits at former KZ's like Auschwitz, which makes the statistics frightening vivid.

    Apart from remembering the holocaust, it is important to make sure, something like this never happens again. The next holocaust probably won't be in Germany, it won't have the same symbols, it will have other culprits and victims. But the mechanisms of mass influence and propaganda will stay the same. So it is important, to raise awareness for these matters in reference to the holocaust and other dreadful events that happened in history.

    1. You are of course correct in my misstating the time line in terms of who is still around to talk about the Holocaust. I was referring to the linear historical context of what is being handed down from generation to generation, I did not say it well.

  4. Great commentary Brian. It will fall to people like us to ensure that future generations learn the truth about the Holocaust. The Internet has great potential as a vehicle for keeping the Holocaust alive, but its overwhelming clutter also threatens to bury or obscure it and other topics of great historical importance. So let's keep writing about it. Here's a piece we've done:

  5. The bottom line is that we may be on the brink of WW3 and far worse
    Two English, England, British whatever best never forget if it wasn't for America they
    would be speaking German right now. They also have no right being in Ireland
    there is no Northern Ireland but that's another post 🙂
    Nice work
    Stumbled and sent around the world aka the super bookmark BOMB 🙂
    enjoy the weather cause tomorrow's another story.

  6. That statistic actually does surprise me.

    Let's look at it again; " 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. "

    That means that 90% actually DID KNOW.

    I challenge you to select virtually any subject and get a 90% accuracy rating from school students that are aged 11-16. You wouldn't even get a 90% positive result if you asked them who the Prime Minister is.

  7. Given that we have not learned some of the most important lessons of the Holocaust, I find it appalling that it is drifting out of the national, and international, consciousness. The Holocaust is not merely a subset of WW2. It is not simply one more event in a long chronological chain of discrete details that educated people should remember. It is an act of inhumanity that stands at, or near, the top of the list of the greatest injustices the world has ever known.

  8. Well, in the most un-scientific way possible, I will help support your claim that Brit's are tired of the Nazi terror topic via this link: .” target=”_blank”>

    It appears Valkyrie couldn't bump Slum Dog Millionaire on it's premier week in the UK, whereas it took the top spot in the US and several other European nations. Spurious correlation? Possibly. All in all a very weak support for your claim, I know, but it's all I got.

  9. In germany they have a saying about the holocaust, which in my opinion shows how ppl are trying to "forget" about it.

    "Geloden die melopanen klammoten. Gutenberger die klodenberg schluden plarkuden geloden"

    i leave the translation to you, i want the surprise to be original!



  10. Arise, O LORD, let Your enemies be scattered. Let all those who rise up against You be put down today in Baghdad. Let their plans be foiled, their actions useless, and their minds confused. Put deep deep darkness all around them so they can’t even walk straight. And give the people of Baghdad peace today. In Jesus’ name. Amen

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