When 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?
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When I first heard about this I was horrified. I mentioned, “There’s plenty of time to learn about hatred and war. 5 is too young.” Then an Israeli woman replied, “Then what should we tell them about the bombs dropping on our cities.” Wow! I was thinking like an American and that wasn’t even the original question. In Israel, I think 5 is a good age for age-appropriate lessons on the Holocaust. In America, I still think 5 is too young. 7 at the youngest, but I’d prefer 8. And none of that, “We Jews have to re-populate the world for the 6 million”. I hate that guilt trip stuff.
Interesting point about the differences between Israel and the US. It’s important to remember there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to teaching kids about life. Thanks for the comment, Margit!