Teaching the Holocaust

This history lesson stirs controversy in many educational settings.

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Ms. Weiss sees the contradiction in her own life. She makes a distinction between teaching other people's children and her own. "I'm certainly not uncomfortable with the subject matter, but teaching other people's kids is different from teaching your own." Although she herself was not spared the details of the Holocaust as a child, she worries for her own children. "I guess I just want to protect them as long as I can."

"Protecting our children" is a watchword of our lives. We live in the suburbs where there are "good" school districts. We make sure that our children will not be penalized for missing school on the Jewish holidays. We bring our little ones to story hour at the library, and we read all the parenting books. We are room parents, scoutmasters, and PTA presidents, to ensure that we are involved in our children's lives. But when we finally begin to talk about this horrible chapter of our recent collective history, we are acknowledging that we can no longer completely shield them from the evils of the wider world outside.

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Ann Moline

Ann Moline is a freelance writer and journalist living in Alexandria, Virginia. She and her husband, Jack, are the parents of three children.