The purpose of this project is the compilation of a handbook, with materials, designed to teach the Holocaust to Middle School students. To this end, this chapter of the project presents a review of the relevant literature. This review is presented in two parts: (1) research relevant to the project; and (2) research relevant to the learner. The discussion of these two areas of the research is preceded by a brief delineation of the history of Holocaust instruction and an examination of the reasons why it is important to study the Holocaust.
History of Instructional Efforts and Holocaust Curriculum
The Holocaust, as the term is commonly used, refers to the systematic genocide committed by the Nazis against the Jewish people during World War II (Holzman, 1983). According to Borth (19 ), middle-level and high school curriculum seldom focuses on this subject. Indeed, he states that most texts contain no more than one paragraph on the subject. Borth reports that it was not until 1977 that the first course on the Holocaust was even introduced in the educational system.
Currently, only one percent of most secondary schools utilize Holocaust-related curricula. Borth calls for an expansion of Holocaust curricula within the educational system, noting that as human beings we have an obligation to teach the Holocaust as part of the effort to make sure that nothing like it ever happens again.
Before any discussion of holocaust instruction and curricula can become meaningful, it is important to first examine why the holocaust should be studied. In this regard, Freedman (1978) has presented an in-depth discussion of why young students should be taught about the holocaust. First, he states that the holocaust stands as a compelling case for both good and evil in human nature, and that by studying it, its meaning and lessons can become part of the knowledge and belief system of our society. As part of our knowledge and belief sys...