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Dec
18
2009

Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust

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By Wilfried Heink-

On October 6, 2009, Lady Renouf took part in a conference on “Denial and Democracy in Europe” called by the European Parliament in Brussels. During her address, she held up a handbook, titled “Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust”, and quoting from the section “Avoid legitimizing the denial of the past”.

To that day, I had never heard of those “Guidelines”, so I decided to look them up. As it turns out, they are available online:
http://www.herinneringseducatie.be/Portals/portal01/docs/Londen/Holocaust_Ex_TeachHbook.pdf

The first question that needs to be asked is: Why are special guidelines needed to teach any topic? We are told that “The Holocaust” has been thoroughly researched, so, why not read up on it, collect the data provided and simply teach? Why are special guidelines needed to teach “The Holocaust”? Or: What other topic needs special teaching guidelines? I am not aware of any, and indeed, the authors of the “Guidelines” start out by asking:
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Written by Wilfried Heink in: Holocaust | Tags:
Dec
13
2009

Finland in the eye of the storm

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In 2005, as near as I can tell, a Finish author, Erkki Hautamäki, published a book titled “Finland i stormens öga” (Finland in the eye of the storm). The book was published first in Swedish, a second volume is pending and a German edition is being prepared. Here is a little write-up about the book:
http://www.prokarelia.net/en/?x=artikkeli&article_id=667&author=10

Chapter 10 deals with a pact between Churchill and Stalin, the French are also part of the plan. I was able to obtain a German translation of this chapter and translated it into English. I would like to thank Veronica Clark for her assistance.

Some of what Hautamäki writes I do not agree with, but my opinion is not the issue here. Hopefully the German edition will be available soon, allowing for a more contextual approach. The second volume should also help, but until that happens, here then Chapter 10.
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Written by admin in: World War II | Tags:
Dec
13
2009

Review: Israel Cymlich & Oskar Strawczynski, Escaping Hell in Treblinka, Yad Vashem, New York/Jerusalem 2007

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By Thomas Kues-

In this volume of the series “The Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project”, historian David Silberklang presents the memoirs of the two Polish Jews Israel Cymlich and Oskar Strawczynski, dated respectively to June 1943 and the summer of 1944. Both memoirs are reproduced together with full facsimiles of the extant manuscripts (in Polish and Yiddish respectively). While Strawczynski escaped from the “extermination camp” Treblinka II on August 2, 1943, Cymlich is one of the few former detainees of the Treblinka I labor camp to have published his memoirs (at least three other exists: a brief account written by Saul Kuperhand, published in Miriam & Saul Kuperhand, Shadows of Treblinka, University of Illinois Press 1998; Ryszard Czarkowski, Cieniom Treblinki, Warsaw 1989; and an unpublished account by a certain Jan Sulkowski).
Regarding Treblinka I, editor Silberklang has the following to say:

“The penal labor camp of Treblinka I was established in the fall of 1941. It was located two kilometers away from the extermination camp, Treblinka II, which was opened on July 22, 1942. Initially, most of the prisoners in the labor camp were Poles from the Warsaw area. Later, Jews from the same area joined them. The average number of the prisoners ranged from as few as 100 to as many as 2,000. Approximately 20,000 people passed through the Treblinka I penal labor camp; it is believed that nearly half of them were murdered during the camp’s three-year existence. The camp was dismantled in July 1944, as the Red Army approached the area.” (pp. 31-32, note 8).

No source is given for this information. We should note here initially that, accepting the presented figures, half of the detainees were released either during the operation of the camp or at its liquidation.

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