Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

8th-Grade Students Deny the Holocaust

In April, the Rialto school system handed out exams questioning the Holocaust’s existence. Now, some of their (disturbing) answers have come to the surface

By: Peter Herriman & Daniel Koren

Published: July 16th, 2014 in News » World

If you’ll recall, a California school system posed a question to some 2,000 eight-graders attending Southern California’s Rialto Unified School District in April, asking if the Holocaust was real or fake.

District spokeswoman Syeda Jafri immediately called it “an error,” after the controversy and mayhem, naturally, ensued.

Apparently, students were given materials from About.com and the History Channel, reports California-based The Sun, as well as writings from leading Holocaust deniers, tasked with concluding whether or not “this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.”

The fact that this essay was assigned in the first place is somewhat absurd; doesn’t really seem like proper methods of enlightening developing young minds.

The Sun has now published the responses from the 8th-graders in question, ripe with spelling errors, but more importantly, rhetoric brimming with Holocaust denial.

“They would have had to have killed 187 people an hour in order to kill 6 million people. Therefor it is impossible,” wrote one.

“Based on the evidence from the source, it looks like the Holocaust was political propaganda,” was another.

“Holocaust is a propaganda tool so Israel can make money for Jews,” adds a third.

In a few scenarios, teachers even praised the students’ responses, regardless of if they thought the Holocaust was an actual event or not. “You did well using the evidence to support your claim,” wrote one teacher in response to a student who believed, after reading the materials presented to him, that the Holocaust was a “hoax.”

Jewish groups have since spoken out and condemned the assignment for its affect that it undoubtedly has had on young minds.

“Students got high praise and grades for writing that the Holocaust was a hoax. I’m sick about that, I’m sick about that,” said Rabbi Suzanne Singer of Riverside-based Temple Beth El. “It’s worse than I thought it was.”

Singer is correct. It’s rather insulting and unacceptable to give young minds articles written by Holocaust deniers and deem them as “scholarly.” Historians estimate 6 million Jews — about two of every three in Europe — were killed by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945.

In some European countries, including Germany, Holocaust denial is a crime punishable by incarceration.

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