West German secondary school education on the Holocaust / by Martin E. Vann.
After World War II, Germany lay in ruins, both physically and morally. The Allies attempted denazification, but were unable to completely reform the educational system. Cold War exigencies dictated that lessons on the Nazi era, particularly the cruelties of the Holocaust, be soft-pedaled. While some German politicians urged greater openness, collective amnesia reigned for over a decade. Early texts showed Germans as mesmerized by Hitler, who, together with a few henchmen, was responsible for the mass murders. Gradually, as democracy took root in West Germany, educators responded to the changing political culture by teaching more of the true nature of Nazism. Each decade brought significant improvements in textual coverage as an ethos developed about the need to transmit Germany's recent ugly history. Teaching methods expanded to include field trips to a growing number of memorial centers and special projects which involved students on a personal and emotional level. Today, Germany's commitment to teaching youth about antisemitism and the Holocaust is to be commended for its thoroughness.
Record last modified: 2018-04-24 16:01:00
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