In an age that marks an increase in anti-Semitism, racism and other prejudices, an education in the events of the Holocaust is more important than ever for younger generations. An awareness of this terrible part in our history will provide youngsters with a chance to learn from mistakes gone before through gaining a deeper understanding of the events. The Lessons from Auschwitz Project is creating the opportunity to bring the memory back to life among younger generations – ones with no first-hand experience of it.
Firstly, a thorough education on the events of the Holocaust is desperately needed for youngsters, to provide them with a true account and to dispel all misconceptions they may have. Many find it difficult to process or even believe that groups of people, in particular Jews and Homosexuals, would be punished for no valid reason as they were by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The extremities of the deaths seemingly lead people to form the idea that the targeted groups were in the wrong, which of course was not the case. It is not uncommon today for young people today to use the term, ‘Jew’ or ‘gay’ in a derogatory way. This is clear evidence that somewhere in the education of the Nazi rule, students are misinterpreting the information they are given or are being taught incorrectly. In most cases the student will recognise the wrong doing of the Nazis but still hold a disliking, similar to that of the Nazis yet less severe, towards the targeted groups, particularly Jews. The LfA Project enables students to see the reality of the Holocaust first hand and by viewing the piles of shoes, hair and personal belongings that remain at Auschwitz perhaps they will recognise that these victims were innocent human beings, not in the wrong any more or less than anyone else.
Secondly, it is of the utmost importance that younger generations recognise the relevance of the Holocaust to events happening today. The trauma faced by victims of the Nazis’ discrimination relates, on a smaller scale, to problems young people encounter now. That of racism and bullying. Youngsters are unaware of the dangers that being a bystander or even enforcer of racism and bullying can have. They do not connect it with the behaviour the Nazis first began with, nor see the possibility of it escalating to a greater problem. Another issue to be tackled is encouraging confidence in religious and moral beliefs.
Many Jews endured the Holocaust, a campaign which intended to extinguish their religion, but they never gave up their beliefs. It can be argued that many survived with a stronger belief. A lesson which could teach children of today not to shy away from what they believe in out of fear of being bullied or considered an outsider. In general there is a notion that the Holocaust is so far in the past and so extreme that it is irrelevant now. A lot of people have become desensitised and fail to see the connection between that historical past and genocides happening in other parts of the world today. This portrays that not all lessons were learnt from the disastrous events of the Holocaust that should have been and the bubble people are living in needs to be popped.
Therefore, it really is important that children of today gain an understanding and learn from the dark stain, which is the Holocaust, on the history of mankind. Otherwise, we may be doomed to repeat history and the next time it might not be 6million Gypsies, Jews or gays, it might be you or me or any of 6million other people.