Essay: Is the Holocaust real or propaganda?

Did the Holocaust really happen or was it “a propaganda tool used for political or monetary gain?” In a Southern California district, Rialto Unified, eighth graders were told to use three sources — including one that calls the murder of Jews a “hoax” — to research the “debate.” Then they were to write an essay, citing their research, to “explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain.”

In an email, school board member Joe Martinez defended the assignment as an exercise in critical thinking. “This will allow a person to come to their own conclusion.”

Their own conclusion? “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts,” said Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

After more furor, the district said teachers would revise the assignment.

Teachers, who were doing a unit on the Diary of Anne Frank, came up with the Holocaust debate idea, no doubt thinking it would meet Common Core standards’ call for argumentative writing. (Anne Frank also is a hoax, according to the assigned denial site.) They’ll think of something else.

It’s just a coincidence — really — that the primarily Latino district is run by an interim superintendent named Mohammad Z. Islam.

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Substitute “global warming” for “holocaust”.
    Just for grins.

  2. I liked the respondent, who I read on another site, that said look to the transcripts of the Nuremburg trials. Not one of the Nazi officers said, “What are you talking about?” They did say things like, I was following orders, it was a mistake, etc.

    But not one of the officials convicted in these trials ever said it didn’t happen.

    Thus proving Moynihan correct!

  3. Mike G says:

    1. Joanne, fwiw, I love reading your blog.

    2. Per Richard Aubrey’s comment above, if you insert other topics that are a bit less, um, emotionally-laden than the Holocaust or 9/11, the general idea of a school-based media literacy, “Let’s look at what’s on the internet,” is a good idea.

    My experience, seeing the facebook feeds of our students, is that they’re full of conspiracy theory stuff. To a degree that I find depressing.