To Teach and How to Teach the Holocaust: That Is the Question

By Ute Haring, Reesa Sorin and Nerina J. Caltabiano.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 28, 2017 $US5.00

Although facts about the Holocaust are generally known, many adults find it difficult to convey this information to children, as it is often considered too disturbing for them. Teachers, in particular, need alternate ways to introduce students to the Holocaust and other disasters. Based on a document study of children’s drawings from the Terezin concentration camp and research about the Holocaust and pedagogy for presenting difficult issues to children, this article presents a strategy for teachers to introduce the Holocaust to students in grades 6–10. We begin with a discussion about how to introduce sensitive historical material, such as the Holocaust, to young children. Current teaching models about the Holocaust are based on factual texts or fictional writings. This is followed by a poem, developed from Haring’s research, introducing the Holocaust while conferring facts about the life of a fictitious child in the Terezin concentration camp. Teacher notes elaborate on how to implement this poem in class. We found that art, such as poetry, can be utilized to teach children about sensitive issues like the disaster of the Holocaust. Furthermore, this poem is written from the perspective of a child interned in Terezin, who may or may not have survived.

Keywords: Teaching the Holocaust, Terezin Concentration Camp, Sensitive Historic Issues

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2017, pp.19-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 28, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 516.229KB)).

Ute Haring

PhD Candidate, College of Arts, Society, and Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Reesa Sorin

Associate Professor and Coordinator of Early Childhood Education, College of Arts, Society, and Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Nerina J. Caltabiano

Associate Professor, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia