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Monday, April 28, 2014 

Children need to learn about the Holocaust too

Anat Livne spoke about the new plans to educate younger children about the Holocaust:
The educational challenge is explaining to the children that we, the adults, also cannot truly comprehend what happened. How do we do this without bruising the child's spirit? How can we use this subject to empower the children instead of depressing and exasperating them?

The way to do it is to speak to them in accordance with their emotional and mental developmental stage. They can learn about children similar to them, but who had to face dramatic hardships. This is how it has been done for 20 years already at "Yad Layeled" at the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum on Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot. The language employed is geared towards children: There is an interactive exhibit to stimulate the senses; the personal story from children's point of view is at the center of the experience; motifs of resourcefulness, coping and rescue are highlighted; children who without preparation were forced to assume adult roles -- becoming responsible for their brothers and sisters or for providing a living for their family. They are introduced to children who were alone but discovered within themselves the strength to persevere. There is a circular room, in the middle of which is a colorful and well-lit exhibit dedicated to the teacher Janusz Korczak -- an island of light in a sea of darkness. Not all of the adults shunned their duties.
While it's a terrifying subject, of course it is vital the younger generations learn about it as much as older ones, and there are ways to work on and run the learning programs. Here's another article on the issue, and one about the memorial service yesterday.

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