Group B: Reflections on The Holocaust

  1. In the text, sacralization seems more of a holy word, something that is sacred. Schweber defines it as an event that has “become so sacred that it could only be talked about in hushed tones or with prayerful appropriateness.”  The term trivialization refers to making something seem unimportant, to which Schweber pushes these ideas by explaining that students in his class simply boiled the Holocaust down to a fluffed Jeopardy style game. These realities are problematic because they almost come from two different ends of the spectrum. On one end, you have people so afraid to talk and push to learn more deeply about the Holocaust, and ask those questions that need to be asked for deeper understanding simply because they are afraid to offend someone. On the other end, you have students and teachers attempting to make the Holocaust seem as if it can be boiled down to the bare minimum facts and made out to be a lesser important part of history.
  2. The dictionary definition of the word “vexed” means to irritate or provoke, which I find fitting for Schweber’s article. It seems that in today’s news, people tend to turn their heads the opposite way when anything about Israel or the Middle East happens to come on the news. There has been conflict amongst many countries of the Middle East for so long, that it almost seems more like old news to some citizens more than it seems to be about events that are actually happening today. In places such as Paris, Schweber mentions that the Holocaust has been cut out of the curriculum in many school districts because teachers and administrators fear that it would seem as if they are supporting Israel through teaching the Holocaust. With there being a large population of  North African Muslim students in Paris, Schweber says that teachers don’t want to teach the Holocaust, in order to resist “facing hostile learners”. Schweber continues on to say that he once read a report where teachers mentioned Auschwitz and Treblinka in French schools, and students clapped.
  3. Teaching the Holocaust is linked to current Middle Eastern conflict because there has been an ongoing struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians since the mid-20th century. The borders between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been redrawn numerous amounts of times over the years as different conflicts were won or lost. The conflict stems from issues revolving around: mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement and Palestinian right of return. So while the Palestinians and the Middle East may not have had direct or as much involvement with World War Two as Germany and the Nazis did, it is clear that there is still much unresolved conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Conflict between the two has caused many different battles and wars amongst the countries as they continue to work towards resolving years of conflict.

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