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The Holocaust is an important subject that can be hard to explain to children. It is something that needs to be taught so that we never forget. We don’t live in a world free from danger or fear, but we can help our children better understand it.
How can you as a mom help your children learn and understand the Holocaust? Here are a few ways I teach it to my children.
Read books. There are so many books about this tragic time, informational or based on true events. The best place to start is by asking your librarian. A few good books to start with are:
- One Candle by Eve Bunting
- The Cat with the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin by Susan Goldman Rubin
- The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window by Jeff Gottesfeld
Visit Holocaust museums. We are lucky that we have one nearby in Dallas. The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is a special place that has memorabilia, videos, exhibits, and more to help show and teach your children about what happened.
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Help sort through misinformation. Older children may have more questions as they learn about the Holocaust in school. Despite all the evidence of the horrific things that happened, there are still people out there who try to claim it didn’t or post misinformation.
Help your kids sort thorough any social media or articles they happen upon when doing research. Guide them to reputable sites, such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or the Anne Frank House. More resources are listed at the end of this article.
Talk about right versus wrong. If you have young children, showing them horrific images isn’t going to help them. Use books for their age groups (recommendations below) and then talk about choosing to do the right thing, even when other kids are doing wrong.
Encourage engagement. If your children have more questions, find organizations that connect them with Holocaust survivors and/or their families.
Reassure your children. When they ask the tough questions, like “Why did the Holocaust happen?” kids might really be wondering, “Can this happen here?”
Reassure them that it happened a long time ago. Back then, there weren’t rules and laws about how you can and can’t treat people.
Honor the memory of those lost. There are Holocaust Remembrance days where you can light a candle to honor those lost and to help them live on in our memory. In Israel this day is called Yom Hashoah. A siren is blared and the whole country stops. Even people on the highway stop and get out of their cars for two minutes of silence and remembrance.
Other resources to Teach About the Holocaust
Consider using these resources when teaching your kids about this important day:
- Holocaust Books for Young Readers
- Holocaust Memorials Around the World
- Holocaust Survivors
- International Holocaust Remembrance Day