Here's the article....
It is indeed shocking that so many British schoolchildren don't know what Auschwitz was and still remains. A survey has just shown that some 20 children in 1,000 think it's a brand of beer, with another 10 opting for it being a type of bread. If these figures are grossed up, it means that around 90,000 of our 11-16-year-old schoolchildren would expect to order a pint of Auschwitz in a bar when they turn 18.
But I'm afraid it's not shocking in the way that many of those who rightly demand that we memorialise the Holocaust would wish it to be. I quite understand the motives of the "Never Forget" lobby. But the brutal truth is that as first-hand witnesses to the Holocaust disappear and as we move deeper into the 21st century, the Nazis' nearly successful attempt to exterminate European Jewry some 70 years ago is moving into the history books. That is understandable. But what is really shocking is how badly taught modern history is in our schools.
I must say that those who commissioned this survey may not be helping to improve matters. Miramax and the London Jewish Cultural Centre have published the survey's results to co-incide with the DVD release of the movie The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, which is admittedly an allegorical treatment of the subject but which is also a mawkish and entirely inaccurate portrayal of the Holocaust in historical terms.
I'm not saying this film isn't without value. But what I am saying is that we need to ensure that one of the most totemic events of the darkest history of the 20th century needs to be properly taught in schools. It is already on the National Curriculum as a subject that must be taught, but clearly not yet taught well enough. I might add that we are now moving into a generation where we can be less protective about the subject matter. Holocaust denial, its motives and its proponents, also need to be taught, not only because of the warnings from history that they offer, but also because our children's children are understandably going to demand that no part of our common history can be ring-fenced from scrutiny. The best way to knock down Holocaust denial is to study it and our children need to make their own minds up as to why the views of Holocaust deniers such as Bishop Richard Willamson don't stand up.
One has to be careful about saying anything comparative in relation to the Holocaust. But other subjects are also woefully taught. Another Jewish story, but one that has moved beyond the auspice of Judaism, is the one that we will commemorate at Easter in a few weeks' time. I make no case for it to be taught as history (though some Christians would), but it is nevertheless also worrying that surveys have shown that significant numbers of schoolchildren believe that the Easter bunny played a role on the crucifixion and that Jesus brought us Easter eggs.
The real worry is that epoch-making events are not being taught well, and in some cases not at all, in our schools. When we say that events such as the Holocaust are moving into history, that should not sound like a dismissal or a diminution of it, far less anything motivated by anti-semitism, but should be a confirmation that we are confident of locking it into our children's consciousness as one of those lessons that went before them that they must fully understand.
Source: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/george_pit ... me_history
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