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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Skol! Auschwitz brand beer

This is one reason why there is almost no such thing as "too much" information about the Holocaust. The other reason, of course is active disinformation provided by Holocaust denial Web sites, books and articles. But the study should have done some controls. The extent of ignorance about any subject is always surprising. A poll in 2006 found that 2% of US voters could not identify George Bush as President of the United States and 25% could not identify the Hamas.  
By Caroline Grant
Last updated at 8:04 AM on 09th March 2009
Some schoolchildren believe the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was a brand of beer, a religious festival or a kind of bread.
Research released today shows that a shocking number of pupils aged between 11 and 16 have a poor understanding of the Holocaust.

Around 1.3million people perished in Auschwitz during the Second World War and six million Jews were killed in total. But a survey of 1,200 youngsters revealed that 23 per cent have no idea what the camp was.

The Holocaust is specified on the National Curriculum as a subject that secondary school pupils must be taught.
Yet of those questioned, as part of research by the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC), 8 per cent thought Auschwitz was a country bordering Germany, 2 per cent thought it was a beer and the same proportion said it was a religious festival.
Bizarrely, a further 1 per cent believed the concentration camp was a type of bread.

About 10 per cent said they were not sure what Auschwitz was.

The LJCC explained that as there are around 4.5million 11- to 16-year-olds in Britain, this is the equivalent of 90,000 youngsters wrongly identifying Auschwitz as a drink and 45,000 mistaking it for bread.

This picture taken at Auschwitz in May 1944 shows the arrival and processing of Jews from Hungary

The poll also found that six out of ten of the pupils did not know that the Final Solution was the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish population. A fifth thought it was the name of peace talks held to end the war.

Only just over a third (37 per cent) knew that the Holocaust claimed the lives of six million Jews, with many drastically underestimating the death toll.

However, most of the children were able to identify Adolf Hitler from a photograph. The 3 per cent who could not mistook famous figures such as Winston Churchill, Salvador Dali and Albert Einstein for the dictator.

The LJCC and film producers Miramax commissioned the survey to mark the DVD release of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. The film tells the story of a German boy's friendship with a Jewish child held in a concentration camp.

Some of the shoes taken from prisoners shortly before they died at the hands of the Nazis in Auschwitz

Miramax is working with the charity Film Education to encourage the film to be used as a way of improving children's knowledge about the Holocaust.

Karen Pollock, of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: 'Last year alone, the trust enabled 30,000 students to hear the powerful testimony of a Holocaust survivor, took 3,000 students and teachers to visit Auschwitz, and provided resources and support to thousands of schools in the UK.

'Whilst having not seen the survey, these findings suggest that our work is succeeding but clearly there is more to be done.

'That is why we are proud to support a groundbreaking research initiative by the Institute of Education, which will assess how the Holocaust is being taught in schools across the country. This will be instrumental in our work in years to come to educate students about the Holocaust.'
Auschwitz is 50 miles west of Krakow in Poland. Around 90 per cent of its victims were Jews, many killed in the camp's gas chambers.
Others died because of starvation and forced labour. Among those who died at Auschwitz was the teenage diarist Anne Frank.

Recently Richard Williamson, a British Roman Catholic bishop who caused uproar by denying the scale of the Holocaust, apologised for his comments.

But his apology, after claiming that no more than 300,000 Jews died in the Nazi camps, failed to appease the Vatican which said he had not met a demand for a 'full
and public recanting'.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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