Over the past years, the topic of teaching the Holocaust at schools has become a topic of heated discussion. While Holocaust is a proven hate crime that killed millions of Jewish people during the Second World War, disseminating information on the topic can be offensive to some people. For example, in a study by Özyürek (2018), one history teacher from Germany noted that many Muslim students are offended by the attention drawn to the Holocaust and the Jewish community while the genocide of their communities remains unnoticed. However, instead of removing the controversial topic from the curriculum, educators should tackle every issue and let students shape their perceptions of the Holocaust.
The Holocaust tragedy is an example of a historical precedent that can never happen again. Thus, to avoid past mistakes, people should carefully examine them and learn how not to fall into the same patterns. The ethical issue of withholding information from the students can result in a distorted image of the Holocaust and, as a result, fail to understand and prevent the events leading to genocide. According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA, 2019), avoiding ethical challenges is possible with thorough preparation and materials. Professionals suggest teaching about Holocaust with the help of open, specific, and critical discussion of the topic, accounting for the learners from different ethnic and social backgrounds (IHRA, 2019). On the other hand, if the issue is ignored by the curriculum, the students will draw conclusions based on myths perpetuated by media and their surroundings, undermining the scope of the tragedy.
Taking everything into consideration, it can be concluded that withholding information about Holocaust from the school curriculum is ethically wrong for the Jewish community that lost millions of friends and families because of cruel eradication. Distancing oneself from the topic does not make the tragedy less significant, yet it increases the chances of genocide happening again. For this reason, educators should develop a framework for addressing the Holocaust in diverse classrooms instead of avoiding any uncomfortable discussion whatsoever.
International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. (2019). Recommendations for teaching and learning about the Holocaust [PDF document]. Web.
Özyürek, E. (2018). Rethinking empathy: Emotions triggered by the Holocaust among the Muslim-minority in Germany. Anthropological Theory, 18(4), 456-477. Web.