Too Young To Learn About The Holocaust?

C10-ND-CA-holocaust-08When I was growing up, the Holocaust wasn’t ancient history, but rather an atrocity perpetrated by the Nazis on 6 million Jews.  As a child I knew many families who had suffered first hand and were immigrants making their way in this country.  When I asked my parents about the Holocaust, they answered my questions as completely as they could.  They did not sugar coat the facts and when they spoke about Hitler, their eyes blazed with anger and disbelief.  In Hebrew School, we also learned about the Holocaust.  In fact some of my teachers were themselves survivors.

Recently in Israel a new law was enacted that means children as young as Kindergarten will begin learning about the Holocaust.  The law has sparked outrage among some parents, and for others it merely adds a formal element to the learning being done at home.  I’m sharing this post from the BBC News which talks about the new law and parent reactions.  Take a look and let us know your thoughts.  Is Kindergarten too young to teach about the horrors of the Holocaust?  If you think so, what age seems more appropriate?  Should the teaching be done at school or is it the parents’ responsibility to teach about it?

BBChttp://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-27191263

 

Are you or someone you know the child of Holocaust survivors?  If you would like to participate in The Peretz Project head to our “Contact” page or email theperetzproject@gmail.com.  

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Who Is The Next Generation?

Am I part of the next generation of Holocaust survivors?  Both my parents were born in America, and my mother’s parents were born in America.  But there is more to my immigrant story.DSC03062

My father’s parents were born in the town of Gomel, in what is today the country of Belarus.  Joe Rimerman, my grandfather, emigrated to this country in the early 1900s, followed by my grandmother Ida.  They made their home first in New York, then traveled by car with four children and the youngest on the way (that would be my father) to Los Angeles.  Contact with family back in Gomel eventually dwindled and it was assumed most of them perished during the Holocaust.  In fact, there are very few people in this country with the name “Rimerman” and until recently, I wasn’t sure how many of us there ever were.

DSC02991Last summer, my husband and I traveled to Poland as part of a Heritage trip with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The mission was to trace the steps of my father-in-law, Peretz Dab, and to learn the fate of those we were certain were lost during the Shoah.  We visited the Warsaw Ghetto, Treblinka, the Jewish Cemetery and many other sites.  Among them, Auschwitz, one of the most notorious of the concentration camps.

Auschwitz stands today as a museum and a memorial to those who died there.  Towards the end of the tour we visited Cell Block 10, currently the Museum of the Jews Who Died in Auschwitz.  Inside are displays of what Jewish life was like before the Shoah, vibrant and thriving.  There are displays of shoes, clothes, suitcases and human hair that illustrates the devastating loss of life.  The final room is filled front to back with a book perhaps four to five feet high, with pages and pages of the names of those who died in Auschwitz.  As expected, we found the page with the names of the Dab family members from the town of Gleiwicz among others.  On a whim, I wandered over to the “R” listings to see if by chance there were any Rimermans listed.  I leafed through the massive pages and there it was!  A page filled top to bottom with Rimermans!  I was overcome with emotion as I hadn’t really expected to see my family name associated with the Holocaust, and certainly never in Auschwitz.  But there it was!  DSC03045

So, am I the child of survivors?  Well, I guess not directly as is my husband.  But I believe that as Jews, we are all survivors together.  We all bear witness to our collective history.  We all carry the responsibility to ensure the world never forgets.  We are all the next generation.

Are you, or someone you know, the child of survivors of the Shoah?  If you would like to tell your story, comment here, or email theperetzproject@gmail.com.  And sign up to receive updates to this site.