Archive for November, 2016

From my good friend Leslie, who plays a major role in my recent book. Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Hello Matt my dear friend. (I hope you allow me to call you that)

I have just finished reading A Train Near Magdeburg’s Kindle edition, all through your narratives and your humble self-description.

WOW what a book, what a very well deserved tribute to those liberating soldiers – whose simple task of just doing our job – nonetheless
became the ANGELS OF OUR LIVES, and it is also a tribute for us, the ones who were liberated on that train on that fateful day of April 13 1945.
For me, it is an honor that you have found quite a number of words of mine from the Hudson Falls meetings and segments of my memoirs to
be worthwhile to include in this remarkable book.

author and leslie meisels, Nov. 2015

author and leslie meisels, Nov. 2015

Without your work, without your inquisitive mind, without your beyond the call of duty and dedication to carry out the work what you are doing,
to which Frank Towers gave you his cooperation and support to the end of his life, this whole worldwide movement bringing us together
would have been lost in the annals of the horrors of the Holocaust and the chronicles of WWII.

Never in my dreams I thought that ever in my life I will meet those soldiers who gave me back my life with liberating the train. Through your work this
unimaginable new miracle happened to me. I have met seven of them developed warm friendship with Carrol and Frank and their families.
The sweet memory of their friendship will remain with me to the end of my life. I do not think that aside of a few coincidental happy occasions that
there are liberated survivors of the Holocaust who did ever met in person – or through our/your worldwide movement – the soldiers who liberated them.
And here we are hundreds of us thanks to you Matt.

You deserve all the accolade whatever is coming your way. I think George Gross  describes it most eloquently – through his own lifetime experiences –
what it takes for a teacher to do the work what you are doing and the way you are doing it.

I am groping, looking, searching to find words to describe the feeling and gratitude what makes to us survivors to our children, grand and great-grandchildren to
– through you – belonging to this worldwide movement created and keep going by you.

I would be amiss if I would not mention the tremendous impact what your ongoing blogs do. It is constantly keeps all of us abreast of what is going on.

I hope and pray that you would be able to continue it for decades to come.

Fondly yours truly

Leslie Meisels

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“The Holocaust is one of the most well-documented events in human history. And yet some people, driven by hate and antisemitism, try to deny it today.” -UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM



ONE STAR! “Another great work from the Holocaust Factory run by zionist [sic] media. Any truth finder should read Breaking the Spell: The Holocaust, Myth & Reality as the beginning step to enlighten themselves!”


The reviews for the new book are slowly coming in, and above is but one example. It was not unexpected. In fact, the first response I got after the book hit the market was an email at my school from a Holocaust denier, offering me a free book to ‘educate me’. That was very nice.

The fact that they call our American soldier–eyewitnesses liars just blows my mind. Below is the part of the chapter I wrote near the end on my experience with Holocaust deniers.

You can get A Train Near Magdeburg here and decide for yourself. If you read the book, please consider helping me promote the real story, and helping others, with your own review here.


It comes with the territory.

You’re an emotion [sic] and propaganda-susceptible gullible fool.

You’re ‘teaching history’ and not going into the fraudulently alleged homicidal gas chambers? Or do you subconsciously already know it’s bullshit?

There were NO fake shower rooms disguised as gas chambers. That’s a racist anti-German blood libel. Shame on you. The Bath and Disinfection 1 facility was just that!


There were no ‘gas chambers’ other than delousing facilities to keep the prisoners healthy. Allied bombing causes [sic] disease and starvation because the camps could no longer be supplied by Germany.


The ‘6 million’ number is a HUGE exaggeration. Jews use the holocaust [sic] to garner sympathy and provide cover for their war crimes against the Palestinians. We studied this in college.


It comes with the territory, I suppose, that if you are passionate about teaching the Holocaust and attract high profile attention, the trolls will begin their attempts to worm their way into the narrative. It began immediately after the very first reunion in 2007. I had received hundreds of emails from all over the world in support of my project, but I also got my first taste of this aberrant phenomenon known as Holocaust denial. Three emails, out of over three hundred, spewed forth their hate, with one containing in the subject line: ‘SIX MILLION LIVES=SIX MILLION LIES’.

My knee-jerk reaction was to delete them. But in the years that followed, as my blog built a following, more detailed attacks began; I began to archive them to create lessons for my students on Holocaust denial. One man, or woman—a hallmark of online Holocaust deniers is to hide behind false identities—even built a fictitious ‘news’ website attacking the first reunion, at a URL beginning with ‘blockyourid.com’:

‘Tank Commander Saves Fellow Jews From Gas Chambers’

Who Actually Believes This Garbage?

Izzie Gross, a tank commander, whose Sherman tank faced down a ‘Death Train’, shows up at a local high school with three survivors. Oddly the dates are off, the camps were liberated four months earlier, but who are we to doubt?

Maybe the Nazis were going to break through the Russia[sic] lines, crash in Auschwitz, and gas these poor survivors?

The denier posted false photographs of the liberators and me, claiming that we were all Jewish co-conspirators, when the opposite was true. My students were horrified, though they got a kick out of the photograph of me, which obviously was not me. The website was so bad that it did have a comical element; even commenters in a notorious white supremacist chatroom wondered if the author ‘JudicialInc’ was losing his touch.

Holocaust denial began with the perpetrators, their euphemisms, their secret orders, and their penchant for destroying and trying to hide evidence of their crimes. Even with the film footage of the liberators, or Eisenhower’s admonition to future generations, and the importance of the evidence and testimony presented at the postwar trials, Holocaust denial increases as time passes. And let’s not forget state sponsorship of Holocaust denial in certain quarters of the world.

I remember well one student’s incredulous question, after witnessing survivor testimony, directed at the survivor who had just described his experience. The survivor replied, ‘You see, it is easy for people to deny the Holocaust, because no one can truly grasp its magnitude and scope.’ ‘Unbelievable’ is a word used by liberator and survivor alike. And it will take effort to not allow the memory of the original eyewitnesses to vanish in the rearview mirror of history.


‘The Dangers of Denial’

If one can deny one of the most well-documented events in human history, what else can one get away with ignoring? Or supporting?

History has proven that when one group is targeted, all people become more vulnerable. In other words, a society that tolerates antisemitism becomes susceptible to other forms of racism, hatred, and oppression. And we are unfortunately facing a world of rising antisemitism.

The internet makes it easier than ever for all sorts of information — and misinformation — to spread freely. So it’s more important than ever to stand up to hate and spread the truth. -UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM

Below is a recent short educational video, produced by the USHMM. Note the photo at the 36 second mark. You know where you saw it first.

Even the Nazis Admitted to the Holocaust

[USHMM video]  [learn more]

‘Hate has power, but the TRUTH has more.’

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Today I received two timely comments on the last book I wrote. You can get it here.

I just finished A Train Near Magdeburg. Very powerful and well written, I thought. Couldn’t help but think about recent events. Hmmm. A good day to finish it.
Veterans Day.


I’ve read and read about the Holocaust the last few years. To the point that family and friends have questioned whether or not it’s”healthy” to do so. So much death and despair. I’ve questioned myself, as well. But as this book has made me see, I’ve barely touched on the history of the Holocaust or WW2. With the world we live in and political winds shifting so much, it is important to learn and to teach. I loved this book and learned so much more and I would recommend anyone with an interest in this history or someone just stumbling across it to read it cover to cover. Thank you!!

As you may be aware, we had an election here in the United States this week. You may or may not be satisfied with the outcome, but in the end, there are plenty of lessons to be gleaned through the prism of time, of historical experience, of detached analysis, of serious study, and yes, maybe of immediate emotion. Some of my profoundest insights spring from moments of intense personal emotion.

Today I’m offering up a chapter near the end of the book, the genesis of which was written on my blog this summer as I studied in Israel. I’d like to think that there is a lot of food for thought in the book, and a lot of ways at looking at ourselves, too.  Like a friend said when she paraphrased Churchill, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going. Otherwise you just stay in hell.’ A nod to the soldiers out there on Veterans Day. My guys in the book called themselves ‘fugitives from the laws of averages’ —’just keep going’ was their mantra. Their friends were being killed. They were killing. Their president had just died on them. And then they stumbled upon this mysterious train.

Maybe we need to remember that sense of purpose, even when we think we have none.


‘What do you want the world to be?’

I reached some of my final revelations in the summer of 2016 as the writing of this book drew to a close while I was studying in Jerusalem at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. My fellow educators and I heard from dozens of excellent scholars and presenters in the field of the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; of antisemitism through the ages, and learned from the nuanced dissections what we thought we knew about the Holocaust. One of our final lectures was from was Dr. Yehuda Bauer, who at age 90 I consider to be the godfather of Holocaust historians. Sitting six feet away from me was a man who narrowly escaped the Holocaust himself, coming with his family in 1939 to the Palestine Mandate before the window closed. He became active in the resistance to British rule, and later fought in Israel’s War for Independence. Early in his career he was challenged by Abba Kovner to study the Holocaust when few others were doing it. He mastered many languages and it was he, after years of research, who concluded that the Holocaust was a watershed event in human history.

Dr. Yehuda Bauer. Palmach fighter, 1944-1949. Cow milker on Kibbutz, 41 years. Historian and I dare say, philosopher. Honored today to be in his presence.

Dr. Yehuda Bauer. Palmach fighter, 1944-1949. Cow milker on Kibbutz, 41 years. Historian and I dare say, philosopher. Honored today to be in his presence.

Today, sitting in his presence, and listening to him, I got the feeling that I was listening to a philosopher, one who also had been milking cows on a kibbutz for the past 41 years.

So the question came, as it always does—

What is the overarching lesson that we should take away from the study of the Holocaust?

To paraphrase his answer, he simply said, ‘There is no lesson, except not to repeat it. The Shoah is used, all the time, for various agendas and causes…okay, fine. But there is no lesson.’

And I think I get it. When we talk about the Holocaust, its sheer magnitude and ‘unprecedentedness’ denies us the comfort of walking away with an overarching ‘lesson’. ‘Bullying gone wild’ it was not. Instead, he continued, ‘maybe the real question to ask yourself, and ask your students, is this—What do you want the world to be? And then, maybe it is time to introduce them to the study of the Holocaust, because maybe the Shoah is the exact opposite of what they envision for their world, unprecedented in scope and sequence—but it happened, which means it can happen again.’


When we got back to the hotel to pack our bags and have a final evening to ourselves, we found out that for a few hours, we could not even cross the street to go back out—our hotel was now right on the route of one of the largest ‘gay pride’ parades in the world, right through Jerusalem. Security was tight; last year, a religious maniac stabbed six, and one teenage girl died here. But standing on the second story hotel balcony, I could hear Dr. Bauer’s words echoing in my ears, reminding us that democracy is not only very fragile, it is hardly even out of the cradle in the backdrop of world history. But what sets democracy apart from every other experiment in history, in its pure form and in theory, is its defense of minorities. It doesn’t exist yet, but maybe this form of government needs to be protected, and nourished. And maybe this is what the soldiers were fighting for. The world does not have to be united, and in fact it never has been and never will be. We argue and we disagree all of the time. That is as it is, and as it should be. At the end of the day, we either kill each other, or we live, and let live.

We decide.

Jerusalem, July 21, 2016.

Jerusalem, July 21, 2016.

I had never seen a so-called ‘gay pride’ event before, so as I watched, there was another revelation. For over an hour, my fellow educators and I witnessed miles and miles of this parade of young and old, of men and women, smiling and cheering and singing; I’m quite sure that many participants, and maybe even most, were in fact heterosexual. And for me, this experience became a metaphor for our common experience here in Jerusalem—from that hotel balcony, we were witnessing what in fact simply boiled down to a massive celebration of life. In studying the Holocaust together, we have plumbed the depths of the abyss that humanity is capable of, but not because of a fascination with evil and death; rather, it is because of the opposite, because of our commitment to humanity. For me also there is this burgeoning sense of righteousness in promoting the men who made a difference with their sacrifices in slaying the Nazi beast. And these American soldiers who encountered the Holocaust were not some kind of super-action heroes who arrived on the scene to save the day, just in the nick of time. As you have read, there was no plan, and they had no idea. What matters more is what they did when they encountered this trauma deep in a war zone with people still shooting at them, and later committing themselves in their sunset years to reaching out to others, so that, in Dr. Bauer’s words, the formally ‘unprecedented’ watershed event is not repeated. And maybe it’s time for a good long look at the world we live in today.

I have been on a journey that has consumed half the career that I never even set out to have. I have been joined by many along the way, and I thank the reader for also sharing it with me; that afternoon in Jerusalem, I parted with my educator friends with a final word in our closing discussion:

We are the new witnesses. We bear an awesome responsibility when we become aware, when we teach, when we communicate with others; now, more than ever, what we do matters, especially in entering this world of the Holocaust—because there is no past, and it is never over.

We are shaping human beings. We are cultivating humanity. There are always the children, the young; there is hope amidst all the darkness in the world. The tunnel can lead to the light.

You decide.


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From the Author’s collection.

Warning. This is kind of a long post.

I did my 5th ‘Meet and Greet’ book signing last weekend for my just released, ten-years-in-the-making book, A Train Near Magdeburg: A Teacher’s Journey into the Holocaust, and the reuniting of the survivors and liberators, 70 years on.

At my first event a couple of months back, a customer mentioned that a young relative was learning about the Holocaust in middle school in conjunction with the book/film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  I told her I had been thinking about writing a blog post about the use of this story in the classroom, but not because I thought it was a good idea. She was intrigued and wanted to know more, and while I had put together draft after draft of this post, I had not published it, because I feared coming off like a ‘know-it-all’.

Since then, three more times a person at a book signing has cited TBITSP as a major basis for their understanding of the Holocaust. One person went so far as to describe scene after scene for me, so I nodded in recognition before gently directing the conversation to the fact that it was a work of fiction.  She seemed surprised to know this, but grateful I had informed her. So yesterday, when a person picked up my book from the table and also mentioned a ‘wonderfully moving book’ about the Holocaust, I knew that the next words out of her mouth were going to be “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”. As soon as she said it I blurted out, ‘but you know it is not true, right?’ Mildly flustered, she acknowledged that she did not.

In the ten years since its release, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the 2006 novel by Irish writer John Boyne, has seemingly become a bellwether of sorts, some middle school rite of passage in “learning about the Holocaust”. It reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list and it is the book that has ‘introduced’ millions to the subject, and apparently not just children, though it is used in tandem with the horrific 2008 film based on it in literally thousands of classrooms across the country. So, I’ll get right to it—

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is NOT a book about the Holocaust and to deploy it in the classroom to ‘introduce children to the subject of the Holocaust’ is pedagogically unsound on several levels.

If you are not familiar with the story, here are a couple ‘blurbs’ found online….

For the book:

 “Powerful and unsettling. . . . As memorable an introduction to the subject as The Diary of Anne Frank.” —USA Today

Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

And the film:

Through the lens of an eight-year-old boy largely shielded from the reality of World War II, we witness a forbidden friendship that forms between Bruno, the son of Nazi commandant, and Shmuel, a Jewish boy held captive in a concentration camp. Though the two are separated physically by a barbed wire fence, their lives become inescapably intertwined. The imagined story of Bruno and Shmuel sheds light on the brutality, senselessness and devastating consequences of war from an unusual point of view. Together, their tragic journey helps recall the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.

[Spoiler alert: the ‘devastating consequences’ in the final scene we have the protagonist, the innocent German boy Bruno, being led into the gas chamber at Auschwitz by his new-found friend, the Jewish boy Shmuel, as his agitated parents (the new commandant of Auschwitz) and German staff search frantically for little Bruno.]

‘Unsettling’, it is indeed. It’s even more unsettling to think that people think it is true. The author conceived and executed the first draft of his novel in less than three days, and labels it plainly as a ‘fable’ (though why one would use that word in writing about the Holocaust, which many attack as ‘exaggerated’ or an outright untruth already, is beyond me).

Most of the teachers I know work very hard—but I find it unsettling to learn that so many are using TBITSP in the classroom. Part of the confusion among instructors comes from an inadequate grounding in their own knowledge of the scope and uniqueness of the Holocaust, the watershed event in the history of mankind. This is an observation, not an indictment. Teachers can’t be experts in all fields, and are constantly being pulled in several directions. Even people who have studied the Holocaust for years have their own assumptions challenged as they delve deeper into the topic, me included.

It’s safe to say that the story is a home run on the affective level of raw emotion. Unfortunately it has little to do with understanding the Holocaust on the cognitive level, and the last scene is frankly cheap and downright exploitative. I had found a five minute clip online [“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas gas chamber scene”] where the two boys walk terrified into the gas chamber to be killed, and I think it was perhaps posted by a kid, judging by the kids’ comments  afterwards, many of whom had apparently recently watched this in class.


  • my heart felt like it was getting slugged by a bowling ball when the mother was crying
  • the sad part to me was when bruno says “dont worry we are just in here to get out of the rain” poor boy
  • I think he wanted to save him or was it just me i cried my head off
  • Sad movie. Does anyone else think that Schmall knew his father was gone but wanted to have a friend (Bruno) with him? That maybe he was given false hope even though he knew? I do not think he knew they would die though. They were hidden in the crowd of old/mental men and could have possibly survived had they not been in that barrack. Gas chambers were used for mass killings of mental or sick jews
  • Me before video Hey, I’m reading this, there’s a gas chamber scene….Me after video … Well uhm that was… Unexpected. Well I’m going to cry myself to sleep tonight
  • ….a kid broke down in tears 😔😔😔 Yeah they also killed the commanders kid
  • I watched this in my school today every body cried
  • in the book Burno’s body was already burned his parents never found out what happened to him.
  • watched this movie in class today and it f*cked me up big time.

Frankly, I think that if we are using this story in the classroom to introduce young minds to the Holocaust, we are doing our students a disservice. Are they to assume that every eight year old growing up in Nazi Germany was as naïve and as dumb as poor Bruno? More importantly, it is incumbent on us to challenge with our students the remarks featured in the glowing reviews and the harmful inferences perpetrated by this work.

  1. “Powerful and unsettling. . . . As memorable an introduction to the subject as The Diary of Anne Frank.” —USA Today Really? The book is a work of fiction, and presents a narrative with a backdrop of serious historical fallacies. There is no way that fiction should replace the compelling narrative of the real survivors who lived through this era, when fiction like this that paints a misleading, emotionally manipulative, self-serving portrait. There were not a heck of a lot of children sitting by the wire undisturbed in a place called Auschwitz, bored and waiting for a new friend to pop out of the woods, one who can burrow under off-limits barbed wire boundaries with ease.
  2. If I was a young student, I would certainly ask, why didn’t those Jews just dig under and escape? No guards are around—were they all stupid? Maybe it’s their own fault for going to their deaths….And maybe the Jewish boy, encouraging Bruno to come into the camp and handing him a striped uniform, has something to do with the death of our main character? “the real question is would u go with the Jew and go to the gas chamber or stay home and not get in the gas chamber I would chose the last one because I wouldn’t want to go to the gas chamber and I would love to stay healthy …..”
  3. The imagined story of Bruno and Shmuel sheds light on the brutality, senselessness and devastating consequences of war from an unusual point of view. Together, their tragic journey helps recall the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.”  The point of view is ‘unusual’ because it is preposterous, and some Holocaust education professionals I know refer to it quite strongly as ‘reprehensible’ in its pandering manipulation of the emotions of its young readers. Having read the book and seen the movie more than once,  it doesn’t do anything to ‘recall the millions’. The ‘imagined story shedding light on the devastating consequences of war’? Unfortunately it misdirects our sympathies. “the sad part to me was when bruno says ‘dont worry we are just in here to get out of the rain’ poor boy”/’my heart felt like it was getting slugged by a bowling ball when the mother [of the German boy]  was crying’ Does the student feel bad about the Jews or the perpetrators, as Bruno wanders into the gas chamber with his new friend? Where is the backstory of the little Jewish boy inside of the camp? Who were the real victims? What were their lives like?  
  4. Why would you teach something ‘about the Holocaust’ if it were not true? Aren’t there enough out there who say that it never happened?

Ironically and unfortunately, the use of this story in the classroom has been encouraged by the very agents of critical thinking in the classroom, the Common Core standard bearers. I well remember sitting through a faculty meeting where the following exemplar was literally held aloft like sacred text and then distributed to every faculty member present as ‘The Way’ to engage students in critical analysis and writing.

From the Common Core State Standards for English language arts & literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects
Student Sample: Grade 9, Argument [PDF here]
This argument was written in response to a classroom assignment. The students were asked to compare a book they read on their own to a movie about the same story and to prove which was better. Students had six weeks to read and one and a half weeks to write, both in and out of class.

The True Meaning of Friendship

John Boyne’s story, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, tells the tale of an incredible friendship between two eight-year old boys during the Holocaust. One of the boys is Bruno, the son of an important German commander who is put in charge of Auschwitz Camp, and the other is Shmuel, a Jewish boy inside the camp. Throughout the story their forbidden friendship grows, and the two boys unknowingly break the incredible racial boundaries of the time. They remain best friends until Bruno goes under the fence to help Shmuel find his father when they are both killed in the gas showers of the camp.

In some ways the book and the movie have similar aspects, and one of these aspects is how irony is used to emphasize Bruno’s innocence and to greatly emphasize the tragic mood of the story. In the final climactic scene of the movie—just after Bruno has gone under the fence to help Shmuel find his father— the two boys are led to the gas showers to be killed. Unaware of what is about to happen to them, Bruno tells Shmuel that his father must have ordered this so it must be for a good reason, and that they are going into the air-tight rooms to stay out of the rain and avoid getting sick. This statement is incredibly ironic because, unbeknownst to Bruno, his father has unknowingly commenced his own son’s death sentence. In addition to this, the soldiers have no intention of keeping their prisoners healthy. It never occurs to Bruno that anyone would want to destroy another human being or treat them badly, and his innocence makes his premature death all the more tragic.

The movie ends with a race against time as Bruno’s family searches for him in the camp, trying to find him before he is killed. They are too late, and Bruno and Shmuel die together like so many other anonymous children during the Holocaust. The theme of the movie is how so many children died at the ruthless hands of their captors; but the book’s theme has a deeper meaning. As Bruno and Shmuel die together in the chamber, “ . . . the room went very dark, and in the chaos that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel’s hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let it go” (242). Bruno loves Schmuel, and he is willing to stay with him no matter what the consequences, even if it means dying with him in the camp that his father controls. They have conquered all boundaries, and this makes the two boys more than just two more individuals who died in Auschwitz. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is not the story of two children who died in a concentration camp; this story is about an incredible friendship that triumphed over racism and lasted until the very end. It is the story of what should have been between Jews and Germans, a friendship between two groups of people in one nation who used their strengths to help each other.


Nowhere in this Common Core standard exemplar is it acknowledged that TBITSP is a work of fiction, and therefore nowhere has the true critical analysis taken place. This has led me to actually use it in the classroom for the REAL analysis with my own high school students—empowering them to uncover the fictional, untrue aspects of this work in the larger study of the Holocaust, to discuss the points made earlier, so as to be properly equipped with the skills to be able to debunk untruths everywhere.

So, what can we take away from all of this?

The teacher needs to ask the ultimate question for every single unit of study, and not just the Holocaust—why am I teaching this? Is it just to practice a supposed skill set for the requirements of a high stakes examination?  The Holocaust as a topic is very well suited to practicing these critical thinking skills— however, if we lose sight of the reasons for studying the topic in the first place—then we risk losing the big picture. From the USHMM, here are some of the questions that should guide a teacher’s decision.

  1. Why should students learn this history?
  2. What are the most significant lessons students should learn from studying the Holocaust?
  3. Why is a particular reading, image, document, or film an appropriate medium for conveying the topics that you wish to teach?  For help with the reasons, go to here.  Be sure to review the “Guidelines”.

And if you are a serious teacher of the Holocaust, consider obtaining a copy of Essentials of Holocaust Education: Fundamental Issues and Approaches (Totten and Feinberg, 2016). For reading alternatives for classroom use to TBITSP, see Shawn, Karen, What Books Shall We Choose for Our Children? A Selective, Annotated Guide to 30 Years of Holocaust Narratives for Students in Grades Four Through Eight. [Opens as PDF; I also have an article published here starting on page 94 if you are interested.]

The nice lady who had been leafing through my book set it down and moved on to another book table. So I guess I lost the sale, but I’m thankful to her for the push to let people know that as a highly trained Holocaust educator, in conversation with literally hundreds of Holocaust survivor and Second Generation friends, I can no longer stand silently by with “PJs” being unquestioned as the legitimate vehicle for Holocaust education in so many classrooms nationwide. I have laid out why I think it is wrong on so many levels, and if you are a teacher, administrator, or parent, I hope you have found this post helpful.


[PS: I don’t speak for ANY of the institutions or authors in my post. If you are interested in more of my considered opinions on these topics, you are free to pick up my book (and really, a decent  vehicle for learning about the Holocaust from true survivor narratives).] The high school version is also available here.

And since you are here, maybe you want to see the trailer for the new documentary on my book. Look for it Fall 2024:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMatthewRozell

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