“There are documentaries, text books and videos of survivors as well as rescuers, and even some of concentration camp liberators.”
I am a Child Survivor of the Holocaust who was hidden with a Lithuanian, Christian family for 2 years. Monday, April 24th, was Holocaust Remembrance Day. Israel designated this day, Yom HaShoah Ve’Hagvura (Holocaust and Heroism Day) in this period between Passover and Israel’s Independence Day. The international Holocaust Remembrance Day is in January.
However, educating about the Holocaust does not have to be limited to either one day commemoration. Teaching our children about what happened to 6 million Jews and millions of non-Jews during the Nazi reign of terror is important so that they have the obligation and the power to keep it from ever happening again.
There are only about 250,000 Holocaust survivors left in the world, they are known as “Child Survivors” or “Hidden Children”, the remnants of the 1.5 million children that were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators.
Parents should research this history and insist that it be taught in all schools. The resources are easily available. There are documentaries, text books and videos of survivors as well as rescuers, and even some of concentration camp liberators. With a little effort, a parent or teacher can get a survivor to come to your school to speak. This makes such an impact that students remember it for the rest of their lives. For information contact universities in your area to access their Holocaust studies or Judaic Studies departments, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., or Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. You can also search the internet for resources in your area.
If a survivor is not available get a 2nd generation speaker, they also belong to organized groups and one can obtain that information on the internet.
Don’t delay: Child Survivors are close to 80 years old now, and those born in the Displaced Persons camps after WWII are already 70!
Do not “spare” your children from hearing about the Shoah! I have spoken to thousands of kids and never heard of one being traumatized to need a shrink!
There are books geared to various age groups (even 6 year olds) and such classics as Maus that parent and child can read and later discuss.
I am a Child Survivor who was hidden with a Lithuanian Christian family for 2 years. I am now 77 years old! I continue speaking in various setting from small groups to assemblies of hundreds. I feel that it is my obligation to do this as long as I am still able. Most other survivors feel this way, not only out of guilt that we survived while other children perished, but because we feel lucky that we are alive and must honor those who didn’t survive by telling what happened to them.
The narrative of the Holocaust is related to bullying–this is how hateful behavior starts; even the child who does not bully must learn to not be a bystander. Saying:”this is not my problem” perpetuated the negative behavior. Teach your children to get involved, to speak up and bring about change. Everyone counts, every life is important. The Talmud teaches us that “whoever saves a life saves a world”.
At the Holocaust Commemoration event I organized yesterday 200 people attended. It included music, singing, narration and video clips. We concentrated on just one place in Europe, Holland, and what happened there. We also focused one rescuer there, Marion Pritchard. I invited (arranged before hand for) 6 teenagers to light the 6 memorial candles in memory of the 6 million who perished. Of course they came with their parents and friends. They were so moved by what they learned that evening that they emailed me their thanks before I even got home!
They are the future leaders of our communities and they must be encouraged and reminded of this a lot. I get lots of thank you notes from children after I visit their schools. One that I received 10 years ago from a 7th grader in Londonderry, NH, I’ll never forget; it said: “thank you so much for telling us how you survived the Holocaust. I’m so glad you’re still alive, because you soon won’t be.” I’m still trying to prove him wrong but I hear the clock ticking!