BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been an all too frequent occurrence – a prominent public figure caught spouting ugly nonsense about the Holocaust.
“The Holocaust isn’t about race. No. It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man,” said “The View” talk show panelist Whoopi Goldberg the other day, over the objections of her co-hosts.
That shockingly false remark cost Goldberg two weeks suspension and prompted this apology: “Words matter and mine are no exception. I regret my comments, and I stand corrected.”
But Goldberg’s gaffe is par for the course these days. The Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews has become a vulgar talking point for the likes of far-right Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), who compared it to mask mandates and vaccine passports.
The backlash was so severe, even she had to apologize: “There is no comparison to the Holocaust, and there never should be. And that’s what I’m sorry for.”
But the problem runs far deeper than clueless politicians or celebrities. A global survey eight years ago found more than a third of those polled had never heard of the Holocaust.
What’s a civilized society to do? “Parents need to work with teachers; teachers need to work with parents,” says Holocaust education expert Professor Stephan Ellenwood of the Wheelock College of Education at Boston University.
He says the rising tide of Holocaust ignorance can only be turned by mothers and fathers making sure their kids know what it really was and what it took to stop it. “Very few people will develop into perpetrators or monsters, but too many develop into bystanders. And that’s what good education avoids.”
Resources for teachers and parents are readily available. Ellenwood cites the website of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as an especially rich trove. And in this video-centric age, one of the best teaching tools may be the 30-minute 1956 film “Night in Fog,” free on-demand on YouTube, which features chilling footage of the Nazi death camps and the atrocities they committed there.
Parental discretion is advised.
This content was originally published here.