By Thomas D. Fallace (auth.)
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Extra info for The Emergence of Holocaust Education in American Schools
But the relevance of the Holocaust for non-Jews did not lie in its Jewish particularities. Instead the relevance lay in its connection to the term genocide—a general term used to describe the systematic, planned annihilation of a racial, political, or cultural group. The Relevance of Genocide The term genocide had reentered the public discourse in the late 1960s in reference to a number of group atrocities, which literally brought the term to the front page of many newspapers. Since, according to the 1948 Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention), the United Nations (UN) was legally bound to intervene in genocides, political leaders from around the world used the term to draw attention and support for their particular situation.
This debate was simply a continuation of an ongoing argument about the role of history in secondary schools. Roskies sided with the curricular conservatives and expressed her endorsement of the traditional curricular approach to the Holocaust. ”56 Like Ben-Horin, Roskies felt that the focus of Holocaust education should be based on transmitting a thorough description of the event. Other Jewish educators questioned the Telling the War 25 benefits of bombarding Jewish youth with a depressing narrative.
Author William Styron, who would later go on to pen the Holocaust novel Sophie’s Choice, wrote a piece for the New York Times in June 1974 reflecting on his trip to Auschwitz. Styron challenged the “oddly self-lacerating assertion . . ”14 It was the ecumenical nature of evil, encompassed in the term genocide, upon which Albert Post based his unit. The question of whether the Holocaust was a result of a specific form of anti-Semitism or a more ecumenical evil would be at the center of the controversy over the NYC curriculum.