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History, Remembrance and Religious Education


Edited By Stephen G. Parker, Rob Freathy and Leslie J. Francis

How should the Holocaust be taught in schools, and to what end? What role should religious education play in recounting and remembering this human catastrophe? How has the nature and purpose of religious education changed and developed over time? What contribution should religious education make to identity formation, particularly regarding the role of memory, heritage and tradition? The scholarly reflections in this volume, drawing upon historical, theoretical and empirical perspectives, provide insights into past, present and potential future developments in religious and values education in a range of national contexts, including Germany, Israel, Norway, Canada and South Africa. The chapters fall under three headings: fostering a culture of remembrance; historical perspectives on religious education; and history, tradition, memory and identity. Together they form a unique collection of international perspectives upon these interlocking themes.
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2 German Children and their Knowledge of Judaism and the Holocaust



The text at hand focuses on the question at what point in a person’s life one should be confronted with the annihilation of Jews in the Third Reich – or more precisely: Should such cruel truths be kept away from young children or is it, in contrast, even necessary to raise an awareness at an early stage of an individual biography? It is undoubted that the knowledge of persecution during the Third Reich is a core issue of education in order to develop a corresponding sense of responsibility and hence specific preventive models. But still it is also fact that in Germany there seems to be a lack of an obvious culture of remembrance among young people, which could be due to the rather late confrontation with the Third Reich in school. The text below documents projects in primary schools that confront nine- to ten-year-old children with the Holocaust in the context of general information about Judaism. It focuses on general pedagogical and didactic issues as well as on specific methodological ones. In addition a specific phase model is being developed.

The importance of a Holocaust remembrance culture

My thoughts below, concerning the Holocaust remembrance culture in Germany, centre on the following question: At what point in a person’s life should he or she start to become aware of, and reflect upon, the annihilation ← 45 | 46 → of Jewish life in the Third Reich? Ought we to protect children from these terrible truths...

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