When Kids Know More About Gender Fluidity Than Auschwitz, Your Culture is Toast

Maybe it's time to start focus on teaching what happened in the past instead of Howard Zinn social activist history?

I had just finished showing my history students the short, moving documentary Auschwitz: If You Cried, You Died that chronicles the return of two survivors, David Mandel and Mike Vogel, to the land of the dead, when I saw this story from the Washington Post:

Two-thirds of American millennials surveyed in a recent poll cannot identify what Auschwitz is, according to a study released on Holocaust Remembrance Day that found that knowledge of the genocide that killed 6 million Jews during World War II is not robust among American adults.

Twenty-two percent of millennials in the poll said they haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure whether they’ve heard of it — twice the percentage of U.S. adults as a whole who said the same.

Asked to identify what Auschwitz is, 41 percent of respondents and 66 percent of millennials could not come up with a correct response identifying it as a concentration camp or extermination camp.

It makes me sick to my stomach to read that – not just because of my job as a history teacher, but more as a citizen who understands the truism that those who forget the injustices of the past are doomed to repeat them.

I’m certainly conscious of the fact that not everyone gets into history and loves to read about and study it. I recognize that there is so much in the era of iPads and YouTube and social media to distract even the most well-intentioned among us. And I know that there is a great deal of misinformation that abounds in these “lessons from history.”

For instance, responding to the claim by British singer and self-proclaimed “humasexual” (don’t ask) Morrissey that Hitler was “left-wing,” comedian-turned-progressive commentator John Fugelsang announced to his nearly 400,000 Twitter followers that,

“Hitler banned unions, collective bargaining, workers’ strikes & abortions.”

The source for Fugelsang’s claim regarding Hitler banning abortions is unclear, but what we do know from survivors of the concentration camps is that far from banning them, Heinrich Himmler conducted a forced abortion policy for countless Jewish and minority women thrown into Ravensbrück specifically:

The women suffered in different ways. They suffered not so much by the physical torture but by what happened to their children who were taken from them or brought to the gas chambers. As the camp evolved and more and more women were coming, many of them were pregnant and they had to undergo abortions, they had to undergo mass sterilization in the cruelest circumstances; they were used as guinea-pigs. They felt completely violated.

Whether Fugelsang was intentionally distorting the truth in order to originate another social media meme to increase his own notoriety on the left or not, these types of details about Nazi atrocities are certainly less prominent and understandably less known.

But Auschwitz? Not knowing what Auschwitz was? How can anyone look at that and say that there need not be an immediate re-emphasis on some of the actual facts of history as opposed to what we’re seeing in academia today: the Howard Zinn “history as a social struggle” approach, intentionally formulating bias to create social activism in students.

Because as others have noted, when a larger percentage of your country’s youth can expound upon the meaning of gender fluidity than they can what happened at Auschwitz, the future is imperiled.

Comments
Vandalii
Vandalii

Ahh, an angry Millennial reacting to criticism, what a shock ;-).

My sons finished high school about 6 years ago, one is finishing a Bachelors in Chemistry at a small private college this year. High School was a joke, so he graduated a year early, went to community college for a few years to finish an Associates degree while working full time. When he transferred to the University as a Junior, he signed up for "Intro to Criminal Justice". The school changed the class, for some reason, to "Social Justice 101" (just the same, don't you think?). Son was labeled "Mr. Grumpy" because he didn't fall into line with the liberal teacher's junk, challenged the artificial outrage of many "movements" they studied, mostly because he was homeschooled for the first 8 years of his education (as in, was taught actual subject matter rather than manufactured social drivel). He expected to find out about the law (paid dearly for the class) and got an A despite being the one thinking person in that class (we taught him he must be able to regurgitate the material, and if he had time, to provide the correct answer in contradistinction to the drivel).

I'd say @esotericwy hit it pretty squarely on the head. Sorry James. You were much more poorly educated than previous generations.

JackDRSM
JackDRSM

I would have no problem answering these and many more questions about history, no thanks to my history teachers. I'm 75 and can attest that although education has been replaced with indoctrination in our schools, teaching way back then wasn't much better. I have had discussions with many history majors who are functionally illiterate. Not only don't they know history, but also cannot read and write above a third grade level, even among graduate students. If we are to correct this problem, we must correct it at every level of education. History must be taught as a story, our story, instead of a mindless recitation of dates, names, and places. And, above all else, we must stop teachers from bullying students with their personal ideology.

RampageRojo
RampageRojo

History is absolutely necessary for everyone to learn and seek to understand. It must be established that history is based on perspective and it is critical for one to learn the credibility of those perspectives. First person perspective is ideal, but still not a guaranteed accurate account of events. The hardest part of recorded history is weeding the bias from the actual facts.
It's my opinion that historical perspective should not be filled with hypothetical or agenda-driven content. It skews historical facts and introduces unnecessary bias. The Holocaust happened. It should be taught in school without bias. That's the hardest part. There are too many "researchers" that want history to meet the needs of their present-day agendas so they introduce bias or remove factual elements so their agendas seem more supported.

Doglady
Doglady

I did not rely on school or a history teacher to impart knowledge of the world wars, global villains and politics or even American history. My family did this, often from first hand accounts. I knew of Hitler before I knew my alphabet and mourned the horrors of Auschwitz in Sunday School before I was old enough to read the Encyclopedia Britannica. My own children were likewise educated from family voices before encountering a history book. And now my grands are coming along. I find these statistics unfathomable. It is odd to me that so many citizens rely on the government to educate their children on matters that shape values and morals. Our families are remiss, in the extreme!