Anti-Semitism and The Holocaust, what it means for us as Social Studies Educators

There are many reasons why teaching anti-Semitism is an essential component for teaching the Holocaust. One being that anti-Semitism, or the racist belief that Jewish people were an inferior species, was what gave rise and reason to the Holocaust. This racist belief is what fueled the fires of hate, bigotry, and genocide. So in order to understand what could lead people to the slaughtering of millions of Jews, than the belief of anti-Semitism must be studied. A quote that greatly sums this idea up is, “Teaching the history of anti-Semitism—is a necessary prerequisite for fully understanding the Holocaust as history; and yet, simultaneously, teaching these elements delineates difference, which in turn can be seen as an impediment to empathy.” Fostering empathy for their students is perhaps one of the greatest things that social studies educators can accomplish.

Teaching anti-Semitism, however, has another side. It can hard to teach, controversial, and it can get people all “riled up.” With people, mainly parents, are the ones complaining to teachers. As the article noted, one parent complained about not even talking about anti-Semtism. The teacher replied she wanted “tread lightly” lightly on the topic. This is especially controversial when Christians are the ones being accused of being anti-Semites and the dominant religion in the United States is Christianity. As well as justifying the killing the Jews because they killed Christ, according to some. However, not teaching about anti-Semitism can actually do more harm than good with allowing “preconceived notions to flourish”

Some historical examples of anti-Semitism include Persian Tyrants, The Holocaust, current Islamic suicide bombers, and current Trump advisor Steve Bannon and his comments about not wanting his kids to grow up with Jews.


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