Holocaust education, Survivor testimony leads to ’empathy, tolerance’
THE QUESTIONNAIRE, SAMPLED 1,500 COLLEGE STUDENTS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18 AND 24. SOME OF THE STUDENTS IN THE SAMPLE UNDERWENT HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN HIGH SCHOOL, OTHERS DID NOT.
By ZACHARY KEYSER, Jerusalem Post, September 8, 2020. Click for full report.
PEOPLE VISIT the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in May. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS) Advertisement Holocaust education in high school leads to empathy, tolerance and open mindedness, according to a survey sponsored in partnership between the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), USC Shoah Foundation and Yad Vashem.While Holocaust education on its own brings about the above discussed qualities of empathy, tolerance and open mindedness, the inclusion of survivor testimony within the curriculum “is strongly associated” with “higher critical thinking skills, a greater sense of social responsibility and civic efficacy” in early adulthood.
“This survey only confirms what we have heard anecdotally from teachers and parents for years—that Holocaust education is effective not just as an important history lesson, but also in equipping students with the tools to identify bias and confront it when necessary,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.The questionnaire, conducted by Lucid Collaborative LLC and YouGov, sampled 1,500 college students between the ages of 18 and 24. Some of the students in the sample underwent Holocaust education in high school, others did not – attempting to put a finger on the differences between the two educational approaches.What they found is that eight out of ten students confirm having some sort of Holocaust education present in their high school curriculum – the majority of which was a month or less of dedicated time on the subject. Some 55% reported hearing survivor testimony within the studies.“The study provides strong evidence of the positive impact of Holocaust education on student attitudes regarding diversity and tolerance in the face of hate. These attributes are sustained over time as students transition into young adulthood,” said Claudia Ramirez Wiedeman, PhD, USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education and Evaluation. “It is also promising to see that the effects of Holocaust education are amplified by the use of survivor testimony in the classroom.”Those students who received Holocaust education were logically more knowledgeable on the subject than those who didn’t. Some 78% reported “knowing a lot or a moderate amount about the Holocaust” compared to the 58% of those who went without Holocaust education.
According to the survey, this form of education leads to a more “pluralistic attitude,” such as “being more comfortable” around different races or those of a differing sexual orientation. Additionally, those with Holocaust education are “more likely” to call out biased information (28%), stand up to intolerant behavior (12%) and denounce stereotyping (20%), than those without. The survey noted that students with Holocaust education were also 50% more likely to offer help in a bullying scenario.”Now more than ever, this survey proves that incorporating Holocaust education into every school’s curriculum is a critical component of preparing our future generation to stand up to hate, and prevent history from repeating itself,” said Founder of Echoes & Reflections Yossie Hollander – Echoes and Reflections is a program sponsored by the ADL, USC and Yad Vashem offering Holocaust educational programs to middle and high school students.