So I'd like to thank my wife for cleaning out all her history teaching stuff today, which prompted this question at dinner.
"Dad, what is the Holocaust?"
If there ever was an example of passing the buck. But far be it from me to deny my children knowledge. I am a story-teller. I should be able to compose for an audience. Obscuring complex, tragic events from history just does a disservice.
Okay, so do you know what World War II is?
Okay, do you know who Hitler was?
Okay. Hitler was the "president" of Germany. And he was an evil president. And he wanted to get rid of all the Jews in his country and surrounding countries.
What are Jews?
Jews are... Jewish people. Like you guys are Catholic, there are other people who are Jewish. Do you know any Jewish people? (frantically searches on phone for Jewish characters in media they'd know. Find NO ONE. Realize how important diversity is in stories. The best I get is Krusty the Clown and Magneto, neither of which work.) Anyway, he wanted to get rid of all the Jews, so he gathered them all up and sent them to places called concentration camps and many of them died and that was the Holocaust.
P.S. Additional tidbit brought on this teaching material purge. I will be playing the part of Dad here.
Seven-year-old daughter: "And we got Mom gave us a Civil War Trivia Book."
Me: (with a smile) "Have you gotten any of the answers right?"
Seven-year-old daughter: (also with a smile) "No."
Me: "Do you know what the Civil War even is?"
Seven-year-old daughter: "Yeah, it's when America fought South America."
Labels: explanations, Hitler, kids