January 26, 2023
Teaching the Holocaust by Inquiry, Elizabeth Krasemann, Foreword by Michael Berenbaum. LIT Verlag GmbH & Co., Zurich, 2022.
These are fascinating times to teach students about the Holocaust. Some would argue that it is an ideal time since many schools are focused on DEI+, and this tragedy during World War II certainly qualifies as one of the more serious violations of social justice and ethnic equity in modern history. Alternatively, we live in a world of increasing antisemitism and an identity culture in which each disadvantaged group feels it deserves the designation, “most mistreated.” From that perspective, the Holocaust shares the stage with numerous other genocides including Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Nanking, Ukraine, Armenia, Native Americans, and Black African slaves. Thus, there are more tragedies than we would like to admit. So why study the Holocaust?
Perhaps the answer is very simple: because it happened. One has to answer the question of how the Holocaust could possibly happen in the modern world. What is the tipping point at which strong prejudices push ordinary citizens into participating in the extermination of an entire ethnic group? What type of human depravity and evil motivates us to become accomplices…