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February 20, 2012

Does Holocaust education inadvertently fuel anti-Semitism?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 6:08 am

An article by Dan Fleshler in The Jewish Daily Forward with the headline “Does Education Fuel Anti-Semitism?” informs us that “a German study says Holocaust studies may increase hatred (of Jews).”  The photo below of the Jewish memorial in Berlin accompanies the article.

Jewish Memorial in the heart of Berlin, the capitol of Germany  Photo Credit: Getty Images

Imagine having a 4.7-acre field of huge concrete blocks a few yards from the Capitol building in Washington, DC.  The photo below shows a view of the German Reichstag behind the Jewish memorial in Berlin.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe with German Reichstag in background Photo Credit: Deutsche Welle

This quote is from the article in The Jewish Daily Forward:

Focusing on the Nazi era in Germany can make different ingredients in a pre-existing stew of anti-Semitism even more toxic. Exaggerated notions of Jewish power can prompt Germans to blame Jews for unwelcome messages about the Shoah. So says Anetta Kahane, founder of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which funds and operates programs against neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism. “Some teachers think if they just describe the Holocaust it will help change the minds of students who have neo-Nazi and racist feelings. The opposite can happen. Students will say the Jews are preventing them from questioning the Holocaust in class; Jews who control the world media are not letting them talk about it.” What’s more, Kahane told me, “some teachers hold the same views. Teachers are ordinary Germans.”

Is the same thing happening in America?  Are students in American schools hearing too much about the Holocaust in the classroom?  Is the whole world suffering from Holocaust fatigue?  Enough already!

Eva Olsson, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who now lives in Canada, gives many lectures to students in which she tells them about the gas chamber in Bergen-Belsen and that children were burned alive at Bergen-Belsen.

In November 2008, Eva Olsson, who was born into a family of Hasidic Jews in Satu Mare, Hungary, told an audience of 550 delegates to the Upper Canada District School Board’s ACT Now! Symposium in Cornwall that she was sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on May 19, 1944; she was later transferred to Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Eva Olsson and her younger sister Fradel were the only members of her extended family of 89 people who survived the Holocaust, according to her story, published in a news article in the Seaway News on November 6, 2008.

Eva Olsson

The following quote is from the article about Eva Olsson in the Seaway News:

Olsson told the story of her experiences as a slave labourer at a German munitions factory, and as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen in 1944 and 1945.


As people sat at the Nav Canada Training and Conference Centre trying to hold back tears, she spoke of how she witnessed her mother and three young nieces being led away to the gas chambers on their arrival to Auschwitz, never to be seen again.


The room fell silent as Olsson told of witnessing firsthand the horror of the “death factories” created by the Nazis. She told stories of German soldiers being ordered to shoot babies in their mother’s arms-killing both mother and child-to not waste two bullets. She spoke of seeing the Angel of Death-Dr. Josef Mengele-and the hospital where he experimented on young Jewish children by infecting them with diseases such as tuberculosis.


Perhaps the most gruesome aspect of the tale was her recollection of her imprisonment in Bergen-Belsen when the camp ran out of pellets to fuel the gas chambers.

“On that day, five children at a time were put into the (crematorium) ovens alive, five children at a time, to be burned alive,” said Olsson, who contracted typhus in the death camp.

There should be a law against telling stories about children being burned alive at Bergen-Belsen.

The one and only cremation oven at Bergen-Belsen

The photo above shows the one and only cremation oven at Bergen-Belsen.  Sorry, I don’t have a photo of the Bergen-Belsen gas chamber because, contrary to the Holocaust education given by Eva Olsson, there was no gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen.