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7th German-Israeli Symposium 6.10 – 13.10.2007 „Inclusion and Exclusion in Education and Society“ 9th of October 2007 The right to know about your history.

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Presentation on theme: "7th German-Israeli Symposium 6.10 – 13.10.2007 „Inclusion and Exclusion in Education and Society“ 9th of October 2007 The right to know about your history."— Presentation transcript:

1 7th German-Israeli Symposium 6.10 – „Inclusion and Exclusion in Education and Society“ 9th of October 2007 The right to know about your history Talking to children about the Holocaust and other genocides. Theory and Practice of Holocaust Education for the age under 10 in reference to inclusion and exclusion in education. Prof. Dr. Heike Deckert-Peaceman University Ludwigsburg/Germany

2 The right to know about your history Holocaust Education for children under the age of ten? Theory and practice of Holocaust Education in Germany, USA and other countries. Discourse about the ‚appropiate age‘ Images of childhood and the Holocaust Conclusions for the dialogue between children and adults about the history of their country

3 Theory and practice of Holocaust Education in Germany, USA and other countries. Introduction Overview Methods Case Study

4 Case study Ethnography of 7 years teaching the Holocaust in 3rd grade: participatory observation, video sequences, interviews New Jersey, USA: Mandate for Holocaust Education Cultural Memory (Assmann 1992; Young 1997) ‚Americanization of the Holocaust‘ (Berenbaum 1993; Novick 1999) Cross-national study, relevance of American experience for teaching the Holocaust to children under the age of 10 in Germany

5 Discourse about the ‚appropiate age‘ We must protect our children from the attrocities, because learning about the Holocaust will violate their emotional and mental well-being. Teaching children about the Holocaust will trivialize the genocide.

6 Images of childhood and the Holocaust Children learning about the Holocaust Children living during the Holocaust, especially victims of the Holocaust Representation of children living during the Holocaust (oral, written, visual)

7 Representation of children living during the Holocaust Most importantly, as both insider and outsider to the sphere of adult Jewish activity, the child is an intimate stranger. To the extent that the Jews form a minority culture and so an Other, this figure becomes the Other of the Other. In this capacity children serve as a useful instrument for observing, criticizing, or celebrating both their elders and the non-Jewish world in its treatment of the Jews. (Sokoloff 1992, 8)

8 Representation of children living during the Holocaust Adult literature with young victims as a topic Children‘s literature Children as authors about their experiences during the Holocaust

9 Representation of children living during the Holocaust While the children in adult texts are often uncomprehending, the children’s own poetry features attempts at explanation – by way of philosophical observations or generalizations that take on the quality of aphorism, and that demonstrate an unmistakable desire to comprehend… Adult fiction often turns to child characters to stress the incomprehensibility of the events. These young poets, in contrast, try to see some justice in the world that would help make sense of their own suffering. (Sokoloff 1994, 264f.)

10 The children of Bergen-Belsen Velrome, Hetty: The children‘s house of Belsen. Fremantle 2000 McCann, Michele, R.: Luba. The Angel of Bergen-Belsen. Toronto/Berkeley 2003

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14 … Luba sang al lullaby. One by one, the children closed their eyes, until every child was asleep. All except the oldest girl, Hetty. “Do you have any children?” Hetty asked Luba. “I have a young son,” she answered. “His name is Isaac.” “Where is he?” Luba hesitated. “I am not sure.” “What happened to him?” “So many questions for such a young girl,” Luba sighed, but she kept talking. (McCann 2003, o.S.)

15 Luba talks about his former life in Poland, her family, her deportation to Auschwitz.. She didn’t want to tell Hetty about the train ride. How everyone whispered that it was a death camp they were headed to. She didn’t want to tell Hetty that the moment the train pulled into Auschwitz, Herschel was taken to the men’s camp and guards tore Isaac from her arms. She didn’t want to tell Hetty that she could still hear him calling “Mama! Mama!” even though two years had passed. Instead she told Hetty, “I am lucky. The Nazis believe I am a nurse and sent me here to help take care of their wounded soldiers.” But the girl’s eyes were finally closed. “And now I have found someone else’s children.” (McCann 2003, o.S.)

16 Dialogue between children and adults about the history of their country Suggestion for a paradigmatic change: From “the appropiate age” (exclusion of children) To The right to know about your history (inclusion of children as agents)

17 Historical example for a dialogue „The children of the Yiddish school may be said to have lived through the happenings themselves. For them the gruesome tortues, the march through the crematories and the gas chambers did not remain a secret. The teachers never stopped telling the children what happened to their cousins in Europe. They recited poems by poets who perished or were saved by a miracle; they read accounts telling how persons were saved from certain death. It may be that we sinned thereby against child psychology; nevertheless we permitted ourselves to be influenced by the urge to take our children in as partners in our harsh fate.“ (Mark 1947, 34) Reflection by a teacher from a Yiddish School in NY; published in:Jewish Education 19/1947/1


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