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Ottawa, Canada, November 8, 2004
lessons for the classroom
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
"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.
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
website dossier: The origins of
website dossier: Auschwitz
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
N, twelve, is troubled by what she is being told
at school and elsewhere about the Holocaust |
David Irving replies with general advice |
similar letter to student Tasha-Ray of
Kasimierz Smolen, right, a former Auschwitz
to Schoolchildren in Germany, 1997