Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

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Why Teach Holocaust History?

The history of the Holocaust represents one of the most effective, and most extensively documented, subjects for a pedagogical examination of basic moral issues. A structured inquiry into Holocaust history yields critical lessons for an investigation of human behavior. A study of the Holocaust also addresses one of the central tenets of education in the United States which is to examine what it means to be a responsible citizen. Through a study of the Holocaust, students can come to realize that:

  • democratic institutions and values are not automatically sustained, but need to be appreciated, nurtured, and protected;
  • silence and indifference to the suffering of others, or to the infringement of civil rights in any society, can — however, unintentionally — serve to perpetuate the problems; and
  • the Holocaust was not an accident in history — it occurred because individuals, organizations, and governments made choices which not only legalized discrimination, but which allowed prejudice, hatred, and ultimately, mass murder to occur.