Holocaust Overload?

Should a French history teacher be suspended for “over-emphasizing” the Holocaust?

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Comments (23)

(23) Anonymous, September 19, 2010 7:31 PM

history teacher in Nancy suspended for Shoah teaching

I am French and my family survived in hiding, helped by many gentiles who risked their life to help Jews. I read the French press at the time of the incident. The fact is, budget for taking students to Nazi camps is being cut so fewer numbers will go next time. there was resentment about this, hostility soared against this teacher, petitions were signed to have her suspended. Inspectors came down in response to the petition. I suspect there was envy motivating hostile feelings leading to teacher's suspension. There was a sense that she should have used the word 'genocide' and not 'Shoah'!

(22) Odile, September 16, 2010 3:36 PM


Thank you rabbi, I'm sending my letter right now. My grandmothers family came from Nancy. If anyone wants me to translate, I will gladly do it. BTW I found the address. thanks.

(21) TMay, September 12, 2010 7:54 PM

French history WW II and the Jews and others

They started rounding up foreign Jews for shipment to Auschwitz and then included French Jews. They rounded up anyone who was Jewish including Americans. Since the American Embassy was closed there was no one to whom to appeal. These round ups were conducted in Paris in the North and in the South in plain sight and were aided by laws passed earlier called Statutes on Jews requiring registration of Jews and the notice on their papers that they were Jews, and requiring Jews to wear yellow Stars of David on their clothes, and demoting them to second class citizens, and then the stripping away of their French citizenship, and taking away their telephones and radios, and imposing a curfew, and the round ups were participated in by the French police and by French government officials. The French government complained to the Nazis that they did not have the manpower to do what they had to do. Less Jews were killed from France proportionately than in other countries like Holland. I mentioned "Jews" but they were also rounding up and killing others, such as Gypsies, Leftist activists, communists, immigrants, Freemasons, Homosexuals, Protestants, and undesirables, called internal foreigners. Premier Chirac apologized on behalf of the French government in 1995 for it. Considering that government has police powers that normal people do not have, I do not understand how people can believe in larger and larger government. Scratch a bureaucrat, in fact just ask a question because you want to be within the law, and within minutes they are threatening you with their police powers, over small insignificant matters. They make up for their lack of ability to communicate with threats. And not only do we have a. 50% of Americans believing in and voting for bigger government but that same party believes in taking away one's guns through circuitous means if they can't do it straight forwardly.

(20) Anonymous, September 12, 2010 7:53 PM

Start at home

I think Jews should start in their own back yard. Why Jews choose to sing "Lechai olamim" to the tune ot the French National Athem I cannot figure out.

(19) Emily, September 12, 2010 7:41 PM

Never enough

I am 80 years old and people of my generation were stunned and shocked over the information regarding the Holocaust. Keep talking about it because w hen my generation is finally gone there will be a revision of history and that can never be permitted.

(18) Anonymous, September 12, 2010 4:07 PM

The French Republic suffered tremendously from the Nazi occupation. Thousands of non Jewish FRench citizens were murdered. France was one of the German arch enemies during the war. It is France who should lead the world in holocaust studies and awareness more than most other European countries. This teacher should be awarded recognition for her part in preserving the freedom of France.

(17) , September 12, 2010 1:40 PM

Why are u shocked? French government anti-Semitic? "That is unheard of"-sarcasm. They only aided Germany in sending jews to death camps. PLEASE.

(16) Odile, September 11, 2010 7:57 PM

integrity and conscience

We should be sensitive to these signals of retracting conscience, that moves in the direction of denial. I protest that a teacher who taught for 15 years this way is suspended for no good reason. This reflects the past and my conscience doesn't accept this. I look for political leaders to hold integrity and conscience. The lessons from the Holocaust inoculate against retracting conscience.

(15) Anonymous, September 9, 2010 3:07 AM

Contact the French National Education Ministry

www.gouvernement.fr/gouvernement/luc-chatel Email Form to Contact PM: http://www.gouvernement.fr/premier-ministre/ecrire Copy URL into google to have Google offer translated page.

(14) Baruch Berger, September 8, 2010 6:45 AM

Knee-Jerk Irrationality

I am the child of survivors and the grandchild of a victim of Auschwitz, whose childhood was immersed in Holocaust education. I don't take the subject lightly. Notwithstanding, I agree with Rav Shlomo Carlebach's observation regarding all the Holocaust memorials and education that we pour into the non-Jewish world. When we focus the world on the Holocaust as a genocide, it is human nature for a non-Jew to ask themselves, "Well, what did the Jews do to make everyone on the continent so intensely, murderously mad at them?" Furthermore, 4 million were killed in Congo in the last 10 years. When a Jewish teacher focuses on a genocide that did not even occur in my lifetime and says little (or perhaps nothing) about things that are happening on our watch, it does indeed beg the question of neutrality and even honesty and true care for our fellow human beings. If the teacher had been teaching that the Nazis were trying to destroy "Love Your Neighbor as Yourself", that is a big message. But when the Holocaust is taught as a lesson in the horrors of genocide out of context of the reality that there are equally large genocides occurring under our noses that do not even appear on page 10 of any Jewish newspaper, then the French have what to gripe about. Something to think about.

(13) Anonymous, September 8, 2010 4:20 AM

Same thing keeps happening

My daughter have written an assay about a holocaust in her high school years in South Africa The teacher comment " We must look both sides" My parents where also holocaust survivors

(12) Suzanne, September 8, 2010 1:15 AM

Is there more to this?

Are they doing this to appease the large Muslim population that is living among them? Holocaust denial IS popular in the Muslim world. Also the changing of the word "holocaust "to "massacre" would play into this idea as the change would greatly diminish and and distort the concept of what really happened. The manipulation of language is an old Marxist trick which the Muslim world has learned.

(11) afsaneh, September 8, 2010 12:44 AM

This happened because of French fear of hateful and now very powerful muslims in France.

This is the working of the 5 million muslims in France who have taken the French hostages to their hatred and wims.

(10) ruth housman, September 7, 2010 10:31 PM

the Holocaust

I don't think children or anyone exposed to the terrible events of those years are harmed by learning about this and I think there is an ever present danger as time goes by, that these memories will fade. In fact, I think the real education in life has to do with issues of ethics and morality, and I would place these issues at the front of the line. Not on the back burner. How much can children learn from these studies? I would say they learn what it is to be human, about inhumanity, and also deep lessons about people and the incumbent need upon them, as they are the future, to live their lives with compassion and a knowledge this must never happen again, anywhere, and they are the messengers.

(9) Raymond Babcock, September 7, 2010 9:46 PM

so what

the french flag is white because they surrender they have great food they feed the enemy hoping they wont be killed call the americans bad people worthless and with the same breath ask america to save them losers

(8) Mike, September 7, 2010 8:34 PM

Why teach the Shoah

The critical point in teaching the Shoah is not only that it happened but how it happened. The barbarity of the Shoah was led by physicians, lawyers, professional people who turned from improving humanity to eliminating it. There is a very fine line between love and hate and we teach the Shoah in order to sensitize our students to that fact. Also, to make them aware where 'innocent' prejudice can lead and does lead and to be congnizant of that. The Shoah should be taught as part of our history but also taught in order to prevent its recurrence.

(7) Paul, September 7, 2010 5:51 PM

Shana Tova! Rabbi Salomon & everyone

Shana Tova! Rabbi Salomon & everyone. Thank you for taking the time for these videos Rabbi, they are something to think about. I think that online advocacy is a wonderful tool that can bring positive change. All the best Paul

(6) Anonymous, September 6, 2010 4:50 PM

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

That master mind of Iran is praising the French Ministry of Education. Mahmoud has been saying for years that there is no Holocaust and the French Education Ministry are helping him. I can just see Mahmoud's next speech including the French decision. It is more than semantics. The French are trying to get rid of the very fact that Holocaust took place. When someone says Holocaust what does everyone think of? It does not matter who one is or how the person reacts the fact is that Holocaust means something historically. Now, if we change the word to massacre, as the French want, then what comes to mind? It is not the same. Over decades the meaning will erode completely. We cannot allow them to do this. They are trying to change history. Read any number of the admonitions found on Aish website and note what a change in a word means to the psyche. It is no different here. I urge everyone to send this copy to friends, family and do something about this. Thank you Rabbi for sending out the warning.

(5) Anonymous, September 6, 2010 4:37 PM

An excuse

Pederzoli had been doing this for over 15 years, but in 2007, with the change in administration, Pederzoli started to have problems with the new school hierarchy. Her lawyer claims that if she were Christian this would not have taken place. Pederzoli is Jewish. When she was interviewed, the investigators noted that Pederzoli used the word Holocaust 14 times, but she used the word massacre only twice. The authorities stated that the word massacre is a much more neutral term and she should have used it instead of the word Holocaust. It is the word massacre that gets me. It means the slaughter of a large number of people. Now, there is something that infuriates me. That is not called education. That is called a lie. To put the Holocaust in the same category as "Columbine's High School Massacre" or other horror stories done by criminals around the world, is not in the same genus. We are talking about genocide and the murder of 6 million by "fire". This is all being done under the banner of separation of state and religion. I wonder how the French address the issue of those who died during the Inquisition or during the wars that followed the Reformation? Or, how do they teach any aspect of the Muslim conquests since it is all bloody and religious? I suppose we could then make the claim that because Napoleon was Christian we should be careful how we present that part of French history. Holocaust has nothing to do with the separation of religion and state. This is not about separation of church and religion. This is anti semitism.

(4) TMay, September 5, 2010 11:55 PM

write the French embassy

Luc Chatel the Minister of Education in the National Assembly of France made the decision. I don't think writing him would make much of a difference because his decision reflects his opinion. His boss is Sarkozy, or the French people since he was elected to the National Assembly and I presume that he was appointed to be the minister, by the PM. Sarkozy should understand the Holocaust because a good deal of his family was wiped out in the Holocaust since the roots of his family are Greek Jewish. You can write the French Embassy in Washington DC, using info@ambafrance-us.org I suggest that people be polite when they express their displeasure, and don't threaten boycotts. The teacher's name is Catherine Pederzoli in Nancy France. I got an email today: a Cardinal of France died in 2007, Jean Marie Cardinal Lustiger. He was born Jewish and placed with a Catholic family to survive the Holocaust, while his family did not survive. His mother died in Auschwitz. His parents were Polish and they had a shop in Paris. He called himself Jewish. He spoke Yiddish. He objected to anti-Semitism in France and fought bigotry and totalitarianism. He was friends with the pope. "In 1999 as Cardinal of Paris, Jean Marie Lustiger took part in reading of the names of France 's day of remembrance of Jews who had been deported and murdered. He came to the name of Gesele Lustiger, paused, teared and said, "my Mama!" They read Kaddish at his funeral in Notre Dame Cathedral. Perhaps the French embassy will hear the message more if they are reminded about this real live proof of the Holocaust in France. A good history teacher brings history alive. It sounds like she was doing just fine. She had the support of her students. It was the visiting minister of education who did not like her "overuse" of the word "Holocaust" because in his opinion she should have used the word "massacre". A history teacher is supposed to teach history! What a hypocrite this minister of education is!

(3) Amber, September 5, 2010 5:37 PM

Holocaust 101

I believe that the school should have formed a class specific to the topic of the Holocaust (Holocaust 101) and let her be the primary instructor due to her knowledge and dedication to teaching about the era. Many schools and colleges break down their history classes to specific time periods (Civil War, and History of the Ancient World for example). There is so much to be covered in the Holocaust and by forming an entire class dedicated to the topic will be very beneficial!

(2) Rosen, September 5, 2010 12:48 PM

It seems that there will always be anti-Semites out there "lecturing" us Jews to "stop merchandising the Holocaust", which was one comment I saw posted fairly recently on jpost.com. What really has my blood boiling is with anti-Semites mantra that "the Jews have no connection to Palestine or the Middle East" all the while never admitting that they are anti-Semitic trying to justify their arguments saying that "Jews aren't semites", despite the semantics involved in the particular choosings of words over time. I understand that while Holocaust denial is ridiculous, but it seems like there is a 2-fold between the teachings of Jewish and non-Jewish professors. There seems to be apparent speculation that certain college professors have been let go of for encouraging boycotts or having critical views of Israel. It's really a matter of magnitude, where it is more important to educate than inform that Israel's policies are really nowhere near that of Nazi Germany, despite the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish passion and rhetoric that goes around on college campuses and on the Internet, which lacks solid proof and thorough research. Don't these people understand that biblically speaking, the Holy Land is to be Israel, which was mentioned long before the Quran was written and Islam was formed? What should really be addressed is why Palestinians shouldn't merchandise Israel as an "occupation of Palestine" and "apartheid", given the vague subjectiveness, since they have more religious freedom in Israel than they would with their other neighboring Arab countries in the Middle East.

(1) Alan S., September 5, 2010 9:50 AM

There are so many things that happen in this world that makes my blood boil. Probably the best way to "register" a protest is to "vote with your feet", ie., take your business elsewhere. Don't visit France, don't purchase French products, etc. When a segment of the world boycott's Israel and its products, we can learn to do the same. I acknowledge that this is not the most direct solution (as the Rabbi suggests), and yes, 'innocent' people will be hurt, but often there is no powerful a way to send a message.


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