Studying the Holocaust.
That terrible, terrible series of events – the rise of Hitler and his government, the proliferation of racist policies, the stirring of hateful feelings against ‘the Others’, the xenophobia rising to such a level that it resulted in Kristallnacht (Crystal Night/The Night of Broken Glass)… and finally, the concentration camps: torture and brutal death, ending in mass graves of rotting bodies, not a single honourable funeral performed.
I’d like to know how Muslim parents tell their children about the Holocaust, or if they do at all.
Mine never did… I found out about the Holocaust through independent reading of my own, and now, through school. The few times I’ve brought it up with my parents, they dismissed it… well, not dismissed it, exactly – rather, they said that the numbers were exaggerated, and while yes, it did happen, similar and perhaps even worse things are happening to Muslims around the world today and nobody pays as much attention to *them*.
(Please note that I’m not saying this to cast my parents in a negative light or anything; rather, I’m sharing my personal experience so that I may compare and contrast it to how others approach the issue.)
Now, I know that many readers here are Muslim parents, so I have a bunch of questions for you.
Depending on your children’s age, have you taught your children about the Holocaust yet? Do you consider the Holocaust a special issue deserving of special attention? Have your children asked questions about the Holocaust, or the Nazis; and if so, what were those questions and how did you answer them? When discussing the Holocaust, do you emphasize that the main targets were Jews (although the Roma, mentally and physically disabled, and homosexuals were also victims)? Do you draw parallels between the Holocaust and what is happening to Muslims around the world today?
For those of you who *aren’t* parents, what was your first knowledge/experience of the Holocaust, and how did you deal with it?
As I mentioned above, I’m now studying the Holocaust for school (grade 11). I also have to do an assignment – a project – related to this.
Three options are given: Create an original art exhibit (can be hand-drawn, two-dimensional art; collage; digital art; audio, video or Powerpoint file); Develop a tutorial or slide show that teaches students about the Holocaust; or Write a series of letters based on readings.
I’m leaning towards option #1 – creating a work of art that would be my personal response to the Holocaust. I’m just not sure what to make, though, and what to include. I was thinking of a poster, or collage… however, I don’t want to have the typical run-of-the-mill ‘the Holocaust was bad and we should remember the victims’ thing; I want something that’ll emphasize our duty to stand up and fight against the factors that resulted in the Holocaust – arrogance, fear, irrational hatred – so that no group of people would ever again suffer such a disgusting injustice. And in regards to this, I’m wondering whether or not to include Islam/Muslims in this project… after all, this is a *personal* response project, and I look at all of this through the eyes of a Muslim.
What do you think?
Comments, suggestions, answers to my questions will all be greatly appreciated; jazakAllahu khairan in advance!