Some people might see it is somewhat sad that a survey revealed that 25% of 1,000 British school children did not know what Auschwitz was. However, I think it is quite remarkable that 75% did know what it was. Therefore, I fail to see the ‘Jerusalem Post’s’ point when it writes, “A survey of more than 1,000 secondary school pupils aged 11-16 revealed that a quarter still did not know the purpose of the Nazi death camp. Of those, some 10 percent were not sure what it was, 10% believed it was a country bordering Germany, 2% thought it was a beer, 2 % said it was a religious festival and 1% believed it was a type of bread.”(1) We are talking about British school children here and I would not be surprised if a large percentage of them were, at best, semi-literate. Of course, the point is the ‘Jerusalem Post’ is saying, “terrible, terrible, terrible” even in British schools some children are unaware of the worst crime ever, a crime without comparison, a crime that even the 1.4 billion Chinese should be aware of although most of them don’t even think about the 100 million or so who died during the cultural revolution.
Most British children are brought up in ignorance of the countless crimes against humanity committed against humanity by their own country and we certainly can’t expect them to know much about the Armenian genocide, Nanjing, the bombing of civilians in Vietnam, the killing fields of Cambodia, Srebenicia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and countless, countless other crimes, committed, and being committed, by man against his fellows. Finally, how many Israeli school children know that they are sitting on stolen land, how many know about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that is still ongoing and how many know about the crimes committed by the IDF as they facilitated the massacres at Shatila and Shaba, as they murdered innocent children in Qana in 1996 and again in 2006, as they killed men women and children in Gaza only a few weeks ago?
Do you know, on reflection, it is actually quite remarkable that 75% of the 1,000 children asked about Auschwitz in the survey actually knew what it was and it is important that they know it and not because it can facilitate them ignoring the little ethnic cleansing that is going on at this very moment down Palestine way, but rather the message of Auschwitz has to be that they should not be ignoring that ongoing crime. Finally, it would be interesting to see how 1,000 British children answered the question, “What is Palestine?” Of course, more interesting would be to see how 1,000 Israeli school children answered the question.