Young Germans Resist 'Holocaust Education'

No country, with the possible exception of the United States, has been so massively subjected to "Holocaustomania" as Germany. The campaign includes mandatory "Holocaust education" in schools, extensive treatment on television and in newspapers and magazines, "Holocaust"-theme motion pictures, and formal government ceremonies and solemn pronouncements by public figures. But this costly, seemingly endless effort doesn't seem to be paying off, especially in shaping the attitudes of younger people.

Two-thirds of Germans aged 14 to 18 do not even know what the term "Holocaust" means, according to a new "Emnid" public opinion survey cited recently by a member of the Baden-Württemberg provincial legislature. Moreover, 20 percent of Germans youths are unfamiliar with the term "Auschwitz." ("Aufklärung über NS-Zeit verbessern," Stuttgarter Zeitung, No. 190, Aug. 18, 2000.)

A clear majority of young Germans surveyed -- 62 percent -- oppose punishing persons who "deny the Holocaust." (In Germany, as in several other European countries, "Holocaust denial" is a crime.)

As a result of all this, lamented SPD legislator Norbert Zeller, many teenagers don't regard the events of the Holocaust as objectionable. To counter this, he went on to declare, German schools should deal even more intensively with the "Holocaust."


From The Journal of Historical Review, September/October 2000 (Vol. 19, No. 52), page 24.