In response to news of a third-grade teacher who directed students to reenact incidents of the Holocaust, Chair of the Florida Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education and Board Chair of The Florida Holocaust Museum Michael Igel emphasizes the need for comprehensive Holocaust education for students and teachers alike.
A recent story involving a third-grade teacher who made their students simulate episodes of the Holocaust has rightfully sparked comments from around the nation.
The incident, which involved a staff member having their students mimic digging mass graves and shooting their peers, highlights the need for proper educational materials surrounding the Holocaust. Students, especially those at a young age, need to understand the atrocities of the Holocaust in a responsible way that teaches them how to recognize and understand that hate is never the answer. Simulations are both traumatic for the students and can minimize or belittle a survivor’s experience.
Michael Igel, Board Chair of The Florida Holocaust Museum and Chair of the Florida Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education, released a statement following the event.
“Teachers have a critical role in shaping the world by educating and inspiring the next generation of world-changers, and with that responsibility comes an obligation. There is nothing redeeming or educational about instructing third graders to reenact scenes from the Holocaust. When educators need resources to teach their students about antisemitism and genocide, they should not take matters into their hands. If they do, this is what results. Instead, they should seek information and curriculum from accredited institutions. Those materials include artifacts, ground-breaking technology, and testimony from people who survived, as well as their children and grandchildren. That is how we teach.”
Since his appointment as Chair of the Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education, Igel has helped advise the Commissioner on issues relating to Holocaust education. Both the Commissioner’s Task Force and The Florida Holocaust Museum are dedicated to providing education and materials for students and teachers to fight denial and distortion of the Holocaust.
Link to press release:
About The Florida Holocaust Museum
One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit https://www.thefhm.org.