Friday, September 8,
on Terrifying Scholchildren
It can be terrifying for kids
to find out there was a place
where children turned in their
The Beaver County Times,
Western Allegheny County,
added by this website
to give lesson on Holocaust
Teaching students about
the Holocaust is like trying to explain
the unexplainable, Riverside School
District gifted-education teacher
Stephanie Mazzei said
"It can be terrifying for kids to find
out there was a place where children
turned in their own," she said.
Mazzei hopes to help other teachers
with this difficulty this fall through a
program at the Beaver Valley Intermediate
Unit in Center Township.
two courses, "Teaching the Holocaust" and
"Advanced Holocaust Seminar," will be open
in October to Beaver County teachers who
would like advice on how to teach about
the systematic destruction of European
Jews before and during World War II. The
courses will discuss ways to introduce the
topic in a wide spectrum of classes, from
art to history, in the elementary to high
Each course is
15 hours long and costs $450 to attend.
Anyone interested in participating may
contact the BVIU at (724)
The first course covers 1933 to 1939,
when the Holocaust was set into motion,
and parallels the politics of German
dictator Adolf Hitler and President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The goal
is to find a way to go over what happened
in a nonsensational way, Mazzei said.
The second course provides more
in-depth coverage of the architects of the
Holocaust and a look at the positions of
other European countries at the time.
Mazzei said at
least two Holocaust survivors will
speak in the classes. She also offers
resources for teachers, including a $250
grant for Holocaust supplies for
who has been a teacher for 34 years,
became interested in improving Holocaust
education about 18 years ago when she was
teaching a sixth-grade English class on
Diary of Anne Frank."
"I realized these students had
absolutely no understanding of her place
in history," she said.
Mazzei asked students whether they had
any grandparents who fought in World War
II. She invited those grandparents to
speak before the class.
"The students were absolutely
captivated," Mazzei said.
there, Mazzei immersed herself in
literature about the Holocaust and in 1997
took a six-week fellowship in Poland,
where she toured three concentration
camps, and Israel, where she heard from
several Jewish scholars.
Mazzei has attended conferences
sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Museum in
Washington, D.C., and serves as a member
of the Pennsylvania Educators Holocaust
Task Force. This is the third time she has
taught courses on the Holocaust for the
intermediate unit, and she teaches similar
courses throughout the region.
To Mazzei, it
is more important than ever to increase
understanding of what happened 60 years
ago. She said it is possible in some
districts for a student to graduate
from school and have taken only one
day's instruction on the Holocaust.
"And if he was sick that day, he has
missed it," Mazzei said.
In 10 years, she said, there won't be
many Holocaust survivors left. Mazzei said
she doesn't want to see the Holocaust
become like the New England witchcraft
trials of the 1600s, almost forgotten.
"If we don't remember, it will be
relegated to a paragraph," she said.
Mentioning massacres in Cambodia,
Rwanda and Bosnia, Mazzei said genocide of
ethnic groups still could happen.
"Intolerance is more of a problem than
people realize," she said.