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June 07, 1974 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-06-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Scholar Urges Schools 'Accept Responsibility' for Lesson on Holocaust

By CHARLOTTE DUBIN
Thousands of childr en
across the nation are grow-
up with a vague impression
that what happened to the
Jews of Europe 35 years ago
was an example of "man's
inhumanity to man."
A leading authority on the
German church struggle and
the Holocaust calls that kind
of teaching "banal."
Dr. Franklin Littell, profes-
sor of religion and director
of graduate religious studies
at Temple Univerisity, told
75 Detroit educators at a
Mercy College conference
here that the Holocaust must
be treated as "a unique
event" and "as we begin to
incorporate this unique event
into common history, our

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
40—Friday, June 7, 1974

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whole person will be made
wiser and whole."
The Academic Conference
on the Holocaust, held last
Friday, was designed to pool
the thinking of public and
parochial school administra-
tors and curriculum planners
as to how the Holocaust can
be taught effectively. The De-
troit Round Table of the Na-
tional Conference of Chris-
tians and Jews joined in
sponsorship of the all-day
gathering with the Jewish
Community Council, Mercy
College, the Catholic Schools
of Detroit and the Council of
Churches of Metropolitan
Detroit.
Several educators present
said they have definite plans
to launch units on the Holo-
caust. One of them was Dr.
Clifford May, deputy super-
intendent of the Oak Park
Schools, who said that this
fall Oak Park High School
will introduce a course on
Israel, including a portion on
the Holocaust.
Fr. John Zwers, superin-
tendent of t h e Catholic
Schools, said he had taken an
active role in the conference
"because I want to do some-
thing in my schools."
The enthusiasm was gen-
erated, in part, by the pre-
sentation of John Spencer
and Roselle Chartock, of the
social studies department in
Monument Mountain Re-
gional . High . School,._ Great

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Barrington, Mass. Their 13-
week curriculum incorpo-
rated readings, particularly
from Elie Wiesel, films and
testing. Few of the students
were Jewish; but by the time
they h a d completed the
course, their perception of
Jews had been completely
altered, Mrs. Chartock said.
Dr. Littell contends that
the roots of anti-S'emitism go
far deeper than many rea-
lize. "The school has to ac-
cept the responsibility for
doing whatever it can," he
said.
"Six million Jews were
murdered 'by baptized Chris-
tians in the heart of Chris-
tendom," he said. "You are
here," he told his audience,
"because you don't intend to
avoid the facts."
As dismaying as it is, he
said, Christians must face
that "the guards in Ausch-
witz were in perfectly good
standing in their churches.
By what process did millions
of baptized Christians become
apostate Christians — mur-
derers — yet remain within
their churches?
"It wasn't just Hitler who
killed Jews. He did it with
the assistance and sometimes
sympathy of nice American,
French and British political
leaders.
"When the killers came in
1917 to pick up Nicholas, the
holy father of Russian Ortho-
doxy, they found two books
beside his bed: the Holy Bible
and the Protocols of the
Elders of Zion."
Dr. Littell listed three
levels of anti-Semitism:
1)Theological—"a uniform
teaching against the Jews
which laid the cornerstone of
genocide. Gentiles resented
that Christians were a graft
on the tree of salvation. They
taught that with the coming
of Jesus, God's use of the
Jewish people was finished
and Jews were assigned to
historical limbo. Now we're
coming to deal with the truth

JWV

BLOCH-ROSE AUXILIARY
elected the following dele-
gates to attend state depart-
ment convention to be held
today through Sunday at
Shiawassee Hot e 1: Carol
Burke, Lina Burnstein, Gerry
F e 1 d m a n, Irma Pasick,
Frances Bloom, Evelyn Skup-
sky, Rita Elkin, Miriam
Lawrence, Florence Leider,
Phyllis Chassin and Presi-
dent Dorothy Goldberg. The
auxiliary will have a meeting
8:15 p.m. June 25 at the
JWV headquarters.
* • *
LT. ELI LEVIN POST
elected Bob Perlis as com-
mander at the post's recent
brunch-meeting. Other of-
ficers are Steve Hershberg
and Jack Chaisan, vice com-
manders; Irwin Burdick,
judge advocate; Abe Tomp-
kins, quartermaster; Julius
Lipsha w, chaplain; Ben
Purple, trustee; Sam Jacoby,
adjutant; and Dr. Sam Goss,
memorial home association
representative.

Life belongs to the living,
and he who lives must be
prepared for changes. — Jo-
han Wolfgang Von Goethe.

that the Jewish communities
are going through a revival.
It's obviously false to say the
Jewish people are finished;
that's why Israel is resented
by so many like (Arnold)
Toynbee."
2) Cultural—"In language,
there are stereotypes and
images. In the Russian lan-
guage, there are two words
for 'to die' — one word for
the death of an animal and
the other for the death of a
human being. To this day,
when a Russian speaks of the
death of a Jew, he uses the
word for the death of an ani-
mal. This is the product of
hundreds of years of Eastern
Orthodox teaching.
"What about Shylock? Was
Shakespeare anti-Semitic? Of
course, he was. He used the
stereotype of the Jew. What
about 'Jesus Christ Super-
star?' Of course, it's anti-
Semitic. It uses stereotypes
that no scholar on earth
would accept.
"Are the Quakers anti-
Semitic? Certainly not. But
their study committee on the
Middle East missed that fact
that there are Jewish refu-
gees as well as Palestinian
refugees. It is the instinctive
response of people who don't
realize it, but bury the miser-
ies of the Jews because the
Jews are supposed to be
miserable."
3) Political—the "modern
anti-Semitism — not just the
apostasy of the church, but
the treason of the intellec-
tual. We assume the only
anti-Semitism is built on de-
liberate lying about the Jews.
That's too simple. The uni-
versity and school systems
helped . . . The death camps
were built by professors and
PhDs."
Dr. Littell suggested that
those who refuse to deal with
the Holocaust as a unique
event, those who see the Jew-
ish experience as equally
significant with those of Viet-
nam and the American In-
dian, are doing so as "-a cop-
out. Next week, I'll discuss
the Indians with you. Let's
deal with the Holocaust
now."
He added that, as a Chris-
tian, "the only way I can
think of the Jewish experi-
ence of the last 40 years is
in terms of death and resur-
rection. Why can't Christians
understand? They've forgot-
ten what death and resurrec-
tion is."
In keeping with the work-
shop nature of the conference,
kits containg bibliographical
material and program aids
were distributed. Am o n g
them was the announcement.
of a new book for children,
"The Holocaust: a History of
Courage and Resistance,"
written by Bea Stadtler of
Cleveland and scheduled for
publication this summer by
Behrman House.
Mrs. Stadtler, who attend-
ed the conference, said the
book, designed for children
in grades 5-7, tells the stories
of people who lived and died
under Nazism. "Parents are
afraid to approach the sub-
ject," she said, "but 10 is
not to early to start.
International Symposium .
on Holocaust in New York
NEW YORK — A four-day
international symposium on
the "full meaning" of the
Holocaust drew some 40

scholars and religious figures
to the Cathedral Church of
St. John the Divine.
"Auschwitz: Beginning of
a New Era" originated with
the Very Rev. James P. Mor-
ton, dean of the cathedral,
who said this constitutes the
first time the church had
faced up to Auschwitz.
"Our concern," he said, "is
to get Auschwitz into peo-
ples' minds as that water-
mark in the 20th Century in
which powers that could have
been marshaled for progress
were used for demonic pur-
poses. It will probably go
down as the single most im-
portant event in this cen-
tury."
He noted that "This is the
first time on a public level
that the churches in America
have acknowledged their own
responsibility for the Holo-
caust in terms of not stand-

ing up. The tendency has
been to say: That was in
Germany. We were no
there."
He said that Gentiles who
are under 30 "don't even
know what Auschwitz was."
Participants in the confer-
ence included author Elie
Wiesel, the Right Rev. Paul
Moore Jr., bishop of New
York; Dr. Irving Greenberg,
chairman of the department
of Jewish studies at City Col-
lege; Prof. Rosemary Rue-
ther, professor of theology at
Howard University; and Dr.
Lucius Walker Jr. of the Na-
tional Council of Churches.

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