Debbie Findling and Simone Schweber, Teaching the Holocaust (Los Angeles, CA: Torah Aura Productions, 2007)

Published: 
Jan. 20, 2008

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 74, Issue 1 January 2008 , pages 107 – 110 

With the publication of Teaching the Holocaust, Simone Schweber and Debbie Findling offer Holocaust educators a new handbook to navigate the abundance of available resources. Schweber and Findling draw on their own experiences as seasoned Holocaust educators, as well as a substantive array of primary and secondary sources, to produce this concise, informative, and useful resource for teachers.

The organization of the book sets it apart from its predecessors, as it is arranged thematically and chronologically, with each chapter containing its own annotated bibliography, including lists of books and movies teachers could use in the classroom to help teach the concepts and events described in that chapter. Importantly, each chapter is a self-contained unit or lesson, with relevant historical details, suggested classroom resources, and recommended further readings for teachers. The logical organization of the book will help teachers develop their own lessons and units on the Holocaust without prescribing a step-by-step course of study. The balance between theoretical background and pedagogical suggestions will be very helpful to both the novice and experienced Holocaust educator.

This volume positions itself as an introduction to the Holocaust for teachers, a way to acquaint themselves with the subject, and provides suggestions for more in-depth investigation. While they acknowledge that the book is not a complete history of the Holocaust, the annotated bibliographies in the book, include suggestions for further, more in-depth resources, and point out useful historical details that many teachers may not already know.

 
Ultimately, Schweber and Findling have produced a valuable book on teaching the Holocaust which will prove useful to both Jewish and non-Jewish educators. The extensive resource lists, coupled with the concise histories, can be used in both secular and religious institutions. The deliberate and explicit inclusion of such specifically Jewish concepts, such as pre-Nazi Jewish life and Jewish resistance, will serve to help both Jewish and non-Jewish secular educators in teaching about the uniquely Jewish aspects of the Holocaust in a sensitive and historically accurate way. These are historical themes that are often either avoided by non-Jewish educators or overly accentuated by Jewish educators. Schweber and Findling provide all educators with an appropriate way to look at these issues. This will ultimately serve to further all students' understanding of the historical complexities and moral dilemmas inherent in any study of the Holocaust.

Updated: Mar. 31, 2008
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