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Posted Sunday, March 28, 2004

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London, Sunday, March 28, 2004


France tells its schools to screen Schindlers List and The Piano to combat a rising tide of anti-Semitism

By Kim Willsher in Paris

THE French government has told schools and colleges to screen films such as Schindler's List, Sophie's Choice and The Pianist to combat growing anti-Semitism.

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David Irving comments:

THUS the real purpose of the making of Schindler's List, the film version of a rather tawdry and pornographic novel, becomes plain.
   Not long after it was released, I published in Action Report a quotation from the German cinematographer's trade magazine, Der Kinema (I think it was called), in which the chief cameraman on the film declared that the reason why the film had been made in black & white was so that in future people could not tell whether or not it was a documentary. Instant History, Nescafé style: pour on hot water and stir.
   Before the belated United States entry into World War Two, a series of movie shorts called Time Marches On was produced by Hollywood. They served their purpose too. A BBC television investigation ten years or so ago revealed that all of the scenes of Nazi brown shirts brutalizing Jews, forcing them to scrub pavements, etc., and of Japanese troops tossing Chinese children into the air on their bayonets, had been filmed with actors on the backlots of Hollywood.
  SpielbergThe problem for France's Jewish community is that the public are not, in their entirety, idiots: most Frenchmen can read the press and see the real newsreels for themselves now -- and there is the Internet.
   Not a thousand re-runs of Schindler's List can expunge the world's worst memories -- like the image of an Israeli bulldozer crushing to death the beautiful young American girl Rachel Corrie trying to protect an Arab home from illegal demolition in March 2003; nor the memory of the Israeli Army's tower crane in Manger Square in Bethlehem two years ago, rigged with a remote-controlled machine gun at its top with which they could fire bursts of machine-gun fire through a window into the Interior of the Church of the Nativity, birthplace of Our Lord, the holiest church in Christendom.

One Year Later, Justice Still Not Served: Remembering the Death of Rachel Corrie We wonder if her family has become "anti-Semitic" yet?

After a 10-fold rise in attacks and threats against Jews in France in the past decade, Luc Ferry, the education minister, said it was vital to fight racism among young people.

"For the first time since the Second World War, anti-Semitism is now more widespread than racism that is not directed against Jews," he said last week. "We cannot act as if this didn't exist. We cannot not respond to it."

The advice is included in a government guide, The Republican Idea Today, that will be sent to 300,000 schools and colleges teaching "civil education" classes as part of the national curriculum.

The guide also recommends visits to former Nazi concentration camps, books such as The Diary of Anne Frank and documentaries depicting the Holocaust.

Mr Ferry said: "When you see a film like Schindler's List you are clearly very moved. You understand much better the reality of racism and anti-Semitism than if you're asked to read, for example, the Declaration of the Rights of Man."

The government has linked the surge in attacks on Jews over the past three years with the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.

Last week, arsonists set fire to a Jewish centre in Toulon, shortly after Israel assassinated the Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. It was the latest in a series of attacks on Jewish sites, including synagogues, graveyards and lycées.

France has the largest Muslim population -- estimated at between 4 million and 5 million -- in Western Europe.

Mr Ferry said teachers had reported being abused by young Muslims while trying to teach about the Holocaust. He described how one teacher asked a class of 13-year-old pupils about their likes and dislikes. One child wrote: "I like football, I don't like Jews."

One prominent rabbi has advised Jewish schoolchildren in Paris who received abuse and threats from Muslim youths to wear baseball hats to cover their skullcaps.

Mr Ferry said that young people used racist insults such as "dirty Jew" or "dirty wog" as frequently as other people said "idiot" or "fool".

He added: "It's extremely serious. These words have become banal, light as feathers, when in fact they have a very serious history. The sole purpose of this guide is to give weight back to these words; to make pupils understand that these insults have killed."

He said the guide was intended to make pupils reflect on racism, the Second World War, crimes against humanity, battles for the dignity of man, and social conflicts.

The minister said that extreme racism and anti-Semitism had infected only five per cent of schools in France, but that in society as a whole, there had been a dramatic rise in recent years.

During the 1990s, about 10 violent anti-Semitic attacks and 60 verbal threats were reported against Jews every year. By 2002, these figures had risen to 193 attacks and 731 threats, the worst in France since the 1940s.

Mr Ferry blamed tensions between Muslim and Jewish pupils. "If we have such a rise in anti-Semitism in France it is because some children identify with the Palestinian cause and others with Israel," he said.

The guide also includes details of the laws that teachers can refer to when confronted with racist acts. "It is necessary to intervene in the slightest incident -- even a verbal attack -- and not let any of these things pass without punishment or explanation," said Mr Ferry.


© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004.


Our dossier on Oskar Schindler
In 1994 Bradley Smith noticed that Thomas Keneally's novel schindler's List was surreptitiously retitled as non-fiction
Schindler, the Leiblers, and the Keeping of Lists
Schindler widow threatens to sue Spielberg, wants 6 percent of Holocaust movie profits
Schindler's daughter says discovered documents should go to Yad Vashem | Mrs Schindler flies in | Schindler acted for Nazi spy chief Canaris, says Czech
It's not that List after all: but revelations are reported in Schindler's Letters
Oskar Schindler's 1938 arrest as a Nazi Spy: the proof
Oskar Schindler's 1938 arrest as Nazi spy (better document facsimile and translation)
Schindler's List saved for Grateful German Nation: Thousands cheer
Skinflint Spielberg lets Schindler's widow rot
Toronto Star A tale of intrigue, feuds, Hollywood tycoons
Stephen Spielberg donates $1m from Schindler Fund to help Israeli occupation
Obituaries of Schindler's widow: Sydney Morning Herald | London Sunday Times

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