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October 21, 1977 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-10-21

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Conference Explores Need in U.S. to Teach
About Genocide and the Holocaust Era

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NEW YORK (JTA )—
"Morally deranged histo
rians are trying to prove
that the Holocaust never
happned," a survivor of the
concentration camps
charged in a poignant
address to some 200 educa-
tors from the U.S. and
abroad attending the three-
day conference on teaching
about genocide and the
Holocaust.
Elie Wiesel, noted author
and professor of humanities
at Boston University, won-
dered why American sol-
diers who liberated the
camps have not spoken up
to refute those who claim
"that the camps never
existed, that six million
were never killed, that the
ovens were bakeries."
Teachers, he declared,
"must teach how society
could lose its mind." Under-
standing the Nazi years "is

a matter of survival, not
just for Jews, but . for all
people," he declared. "No
subject is more linked with
injustice or has more .les-
sons for today. Anyone who
doesn't engage actively
today in keeping the truth of
the Holocaust alive is an
accomplice of the killers."
Wiesel told the confer-
ence, sponsored by the Anti-
Defamation League of Bnai
Brith and the National
Council for Social Studies
held at the Sheraton Hotel
at La Guardia Airport, that
"never has the teaching of
any subject been more
urgent...With so few survi-
vors in our midst—and their
number is decreasing
daily—this is the last
chance for our generation to
study and communicate, to
explore and analyze an
event that will forever
remain a challenge in his-

tit

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tory and perhaps to
history."
At the opening session
Sunday, Burton M. Joseph,
ADL's national chairman,
said that the goal of the con-
ference is to make study of
the Holocaust an integral
part of secondary school
curricula in this country
and abroad. The workshop
sessions and addresses dealt
with resource units avail-
able and methods of
extracting and teaching the
full meaning of genocide
and the Holocaust.
Other speakers included
Dr. Anna Ochoa, president-
elect, National Council for
Social Studies; Min W. Kob-
litz, New York director of
the National Education
Association; Benjamin R.
Epstein, ADL's national
director, and Theodore
Freedman, director of the
agency's program division.
Ms. Ochoa said that stu-
dents must be made aware
of the tragedy of the
Holocaust and the capacity
of human beings to be vio-
lent and destructive. "If
they explore and take eth-
ical positions on this issue,"
she declared, "they will be
more mindful of their moral
obligations to all people
everywhere whose destiny
and lives are jeopardized."
Ms. Koblitz, noting that
the NEA is deeply com-
mitted to the, elimination of
racial and religious discrim-
ination in all its forms, said
that she and other NEA
observers at the conference
would bring back recom-
mendations for "updating
our vigilance."
Epstein, who was an
American student in Ger-
many in the 1930s and saw
what he called "the ugliest
side of man's nature dim
the lights of liberty and civ-
ilization," said "the lessons
to be learned from the Nazi
era are a challenge to
humanity."
Freedman said that if
young people are to become
effective adults, "it must be
through an understanding of
human nature, including an

Zero Population
Growth Predicted
for S.F. Jewry

FRANCISCO
SAN
population
(JTA)—Zero
growth among San Fran-
cisco Jews means that the
Jewish population in the
years ahead will be an
aging one, a Jewish Welfare
Federation official noted in
evaluating a federal grant
of $5,268,500 to the feder-
ation for the construction of
150 housing units for the
well elderly.
Peter Haas, federation
president, in making the
announcement, said the
development will be near
the Jewish Community Cen-
ter, which has a Montefiore
senior citizens program,
and a kosher nutrition
kitchen.

honest, if sometimes pain-
ful, examination of motives
and behavior as reflected in
political and social
events...the Holocaust is a
compelling case—it reveals
the human potential for
extremes of both good and
evil."
Nat
to
According
Kameny, chairman of
ADL's national program
committee, an ADL study of
45 of the most widely used
American junior high and
high school textbooks on
social studies and world his-
tory has revealed that
nearly one-third make no
reference to the Holocaust
and only four texts give ade-
quate treatment of the sub-
ject. He said studies of
European textbooks show a
strikingly similar picture.
The conference show-
cased special films, graph-
ics, publications and
resource units on the
Holocaust which can be
integrated into courses in
history, literature, social
studies, humanities and the
arts.
Among the foreign educa-
tors attending were Dr.
Siegfried Bachmann, man-
aging director of the Georg
Eckert Institute for Inter-
national Textbook Research
in Brunswick, Federal
Republic of Germany, who
represented his govern-
ment; Dr. Giuliamme Lim-
ite of the Italian Ministry of
Education in Rome ; Dr.
Zbrigriew Bako, first secre-
tary of the Embassy of the
Polish People's Republic,
Washington, D.C.; Sister
Frederick Mary Rice of the
Society of the Holy Child,
Nigeria; and Dr. Arye Car-
mon, associate professor of
education, Ben-Gurion Uni-
versity, Beersheba. Israel.
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