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Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Canada, November 8, 2004

cartoon: Wall of Hate

Holocaust lessons for the classroom

click for origin

David Irving comments:

IF a Canadian schoolteacher were to offer a lecture course in revisionist, or Real, history, he would be putting his job and his livelihood on the line.
   No, what am I saying! In fact we know from certain cases that if a teacher in that country even thinks revisionist thoughts, but does not force them on his pupils, i.e., he keeps them to himself, he is still dismissed without compensation.
   If I were a Canadian parent, and I learned that my child was being force-fed with hate-filled, mind-numbing, and disturbing garbage like this, I would be very angry indeed.
   But in Canada, as elsewhere, the Holocaust has become big business -- an industry, as Norman Finkelstein calls it, with rich rewards for its self-claimed victims, and free holidays in Israel, as this story shows, for those willing to participate.
   Just imagine!
   Free holidays in Israel! If that's the second prize, as they used to say in the concrete gang I worked in fifty years ago, I wonder what's the first.

DOES this cloth-brained teacher not realise that classes like this are almost calculated to increase the level of anti-Semitism, in both parents and pupils alike? Is that what he and the Holocaust Industry really want? (Don't bother to reply, we can already surmise the answer to that one).
   It reminds us of the teacher, also in enlightened Canada, who was instructed by the Industry to divide her classes up into blonde children (whom she called the German Aryans) and dark-haired ones (guess who), the latter children being told at the end of the day that their little blonde school-chums had murdered them. The toddlers all ran home crying to their parents, who fortunately got this dimwitted teacher sacked.

INCIDENTALLY, the teacher in this news story tells his pupils of victims who were allowed to fill suitcases and take whatever they could carry as they were deported. What country does that remind us of in recent Real History?
   Oh yes, Palestine: When the Palestinians were invited to leave their native lands, they were instructed by the country's new owners first to leave all their furniture and possessions in their homes, intact, and to leave the house-key in the street door to enable the new owners easy access.
   Dispossessed. They are still hopping mad, even now. . . as the whole world knows.

Paul Gowans recently spent three weeks in Israel discovering a wealth of resources for teaching his students about the Holocaust. Now, he wants to share that information with other teachers, CARRIE KRISTAL-SCHRODER reports.

LATER this year, students in Paul Gowans' Grade 10 history classes at South Carleton High School in Richmond will pack a suitcase, fill it with whatever they can carry and bring it to school -- but they won't be going anywhere.

The suitcase exercise is just one of the many ways Mr. Gowans strives to take his students on a journey to the past, giving them a small glimpse of how a Jewish teenager in Europe might have felt being herded from home during the Holocaust.

"After they pack their suitcases, I have them watch Schindler's List and they begin to realize that everything they've just packed -- all their prized possessions -- will be taken away by the Nazis," said Mr. Gowans.

Four years ago, Mr. Gowans, 38, a physical education teacher for many years, was asked if he was interested in teaching history.

"I wasn't a history major, and I knew very little about the Holocaust, because it wasn't taught at all when I was in high school," said Mr. Gowans.

When he discovered current textbooks devote only a few pages to the subject, he began discussing the matter with other teachers.

One of those teachers, Rob Capretta, told him about a Holocaust survivor who would be willing to speak to his students.

And so Mr. Gowans arranged for David Shentow, originally from Belgium, to come to his class. For Mr. Gowans, the impact of what Mr. Shentow had to say was profound.

"Next to getting married and having kids, hearing David speak was one of the powerful moments of my life," said Mr. Gowans, who has expanded his classes' unit on the Holocaust to three weeks.

"After I heard David speak, I developed a passion for learning more about what happened, and I feel an obligation to teach it as well as I can -- for all the victims, and for all our children -- which is the only way we can prevent it from happening again," said Mr. Gowans.

Mr. Gowans' passion and commitment to passing on the lessons of the Holocaust to his students did not go unnoticed. When the Shoah (Holocaust) Committee of Ottawa was offered a scholarship by the Canadian Friends of Yad VaShem, Mr. Shentow and his wife, Rose, recommend Mr. Gowans as a perfect candidate for a threeweek course in Israel to learn more about the Holocaust and teaching it to others.

"Paul stood out because he was already doing an amazing job," said Zev Kalin, chairman of the Holocaust Education Program 2004. "He wasn't just teaching his own students, he was working on a program for other teachers to tap into."

After spending three weeks in Israel in June and July, Mr. Gowans -- who had never travelled outside of Canada -- said the trip further opened his eyes and made him more committed than ever.

"We met so many survivors, and they have so many resources on the Holocaust that I had no idea were available," said Mr. Gowans, who has been staying at school one night a week until 11 p.m., creating personalized workbooks for students.

And his next task will be teaching the teachers: On Nov. 15, Mr. Gowans will give a workshop for Ottawa teachers as part of the Holocaust Education Program. The workshop will be based on what he learned during his three weeks in Israel and will include his lesson plans, how to order and use various resources, and how to incorporate music, art, journal writing and other activities to enhance learning -- all based on the requirements set out in the Ontario curriculum.

However, Mr. Gowans is disappointed only six teachers have registered so far. "I think part of it is that teachers weren't aware of how they could fit it into their lessons, or how they might get access to resources," said Mr. Gowans, adding notices have been re-sent to area schools.

Mr. Gowans, who was raised a Catholic, but is not practising, acknowledges the Holocaust is a painful subject, but a necessary one that should include Canada's anti-Semitic past, which is often omitted in the textbooks.

Because the subject can also be difficult for students to hear, he tries to include some positive messages as well.

"Have you ever heard of a Holocaust survivor out to get vengeance for what they've been through? No way. In fact, the survivors I've spoken to all tell me that their best revenge is that they got married; they had children; they had grandchildren -- in the end, Hitler didn't win.

Copyright © 2004 The Ottawa Citizen


... on this website

Our website dossier: The origins of anti-Semitism
Our website dossier: Auschwitz
 Casimierz Smolen with schoolchildren
Arkansas Gazette: Review article on "Anne Frank at 75" (Jun 13, 2004): "The diary stands at the core of what can fairly be called The Anne Frank Industry"
Ingrid N, twelve, is troubled by what she is being told at school and elsewhere about the Holocaust | David Irving replies with general advice | a similar letter to student Tasha-Ray of Australia
Kasimierz Smolen, right, a former Auschwitz Kapo, lectures to Schoolchildren in Germany, 1997

The above item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
© Focal Point 2004 F Irving write to David Irving