To not want my daughter looking at image of concentration camps(268 Posts)
My daughter has just started Yr 5, and is studying World War 2 this year. She was already having difficulty coping with the subject as she is so sensitive, but I saw nothing wrong with her being given the basic facts as long as there was not too much detail - She's only nine after all.
When she came home very quiet yesterday afternoon, she told me that the class had been looking at online images of 'Jews in concentration camps', and I am furious. While I understand that we cannot protect children from the world forever, surely nine is too young to even begin comprehending such terrible images?
I would appreciate other people's opinions, before I go crashing into the Headmaster's office!
I have no answers. . My dd (7) is likewise incredibly sensitive and emotional, and will struggle with reality enough without such images.
I wouldn't have an issue with it. They are 9, plenty old enough.
Why is your DD so sensitive? Does she have any additional needs?
I know The Wars need to be learned about but I agree that I think its too young. My dd1 learnt about ww2 last year in year 4 and fretted about the whole thing so much. I remember learning about it at that age, but not in such graphic detail.
Not sure there is anything you can do though if its the curriculum.
hmm I kind of agree to be honest. While I do think it is an important part of history which should be taught and I am not an advocate of wrapping kids in cotton wool, I am not sure that primary school children can really begin to comprehend what those images mean and the suffering behind them, but then can any of us really?
I agree Y5 is too young. I remember doing it later in secondary and having colleagues who fainted.
You can do the concentration camps at 9 without showing any images which honestly are difficult to see even for some adult.
I'm afraid I'm of the school of thought that it's a luxury of the Western world to be 'too sensitive' to images, given the atrocities and horror that many children the world over are living, day in, day out. Be thankful your DD is not in Syria, or North Korea. I believe we have a duty to educate our children of the horrors in the world and that Yr 5 is certainly not too young to begin that education.
At what age do you think those images become less shocking and upsetting?
I'm a bit torn on this one. These things have to be learned.. those who forget the past are doomed to repeat the basted type of thing.
I don't think I would have put a stop to it.. young minds imprint better than when older.
I was more annoyed that our schools have stopped teaching in ww2.
Chipping, I think some people have different thresholds. Even now as a 31 year old I avoid any war movies (saving private ryan, schindlers list etc) because It upsets me. I also remember having to watch a video on fox hunting in yr 7/8 and closing my eyes all the way through because I cannot watch stuff like that (even nature programmes upset me). It doesnt mean I have special needs!
As far as I know World War 2 IS part of the curriculum and I know kids have to learn about it, but I don't think asking them to search Google images for actual photos was necessary....
My daughter was in floods of tears at school when they did the concentration camps. I think she was 10.
Chipping, are you seriously suggesting that only a child with "additional needs" would find the idea of genocide distressing?
"Furious" might be a bit much, OK if you're unhappy then have a discussion with the Teacher or Head. I wouldn't go in all guns blazing though.
I assume the images were of people behind the wire & not of corpses being bulldozed into holes? If so, then not what I'd personally class as inappropriate.
I don't really understand the logic behind the thinking that just because some children are made to suffer, other children should be exposed to images of it.
I do believe the world should be fairer but I don't see how upsetting or scaring 9 year olds is going to make that happen?
No, they really were corpses in holes....
Actually thinking more about it, children are not allowed in Pompeii and in the killing field museum in Cambodia. Are they allowed so young to visit the concentrations camps and museum?
If not why the teacher thought that was an appropriate picture to show?
If you have sensitive child, they are going to be sensitive in yr 5, yr 6 yr 7 etc
Unfortunately some horrific things have happened in the world, and continue to do so and it is important for them to learn about it, and young enough to have it make a difference in how they think about their lives and how they act towards others. There is never going to be a right time fir this kind if sight but you can't keep them sheltered forever. If they are with adults they trust it's better than stumbling on it in the library or the tv alone.
I don't think the point here was to upset and scare children.
It's relevant if they are being taught about WW2.
The images of mass graves are upsetting at any age.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I think those pictures will be upsetting to anyone, regardless of how old they are when they see them for the first time. We did WWI properly when I was in year 9 and I remember people getting upset then, and one girl did cry.
I think 9 is a good age to be discussing it and learning about what happened, but the really graphic photos should be left until secondary school when the kids are more mature and able to fully comprehend it.
No you can't keep them sheltered forever but that doesn't mean a young child should necessarily be exposed to the more shocking images of the concentration camp victims as their introduction to the subject.
Children are allowed in Pompeii, I was there not so long ago.
I don't personally think 9 is too young to learn about the reality of the world we live in and would be horrified if children were taught a desensitised version of history BUT I don't see the necessity for graphic images.
when I clicked, I thought that you were going to say your child was secondary age.
Yes I am surprised they watched the videos in year 5, I think that is too young. ds is pretty interested in these things and asks lots of questions and I am happy to talk to him about it all (we had along discussion this summer about how WW2 started) he is year 6. He is really able to cope with quite strong images, but I really wouldn't want him seeing pictures at this point.
Save it for secondary. Where I do actually think it was important for our kids to see them.
Next week my daughter's school is having 1940's day and the children have to go in costume. She is going as a German Jewish child complete with yellow star on her coat - my grandparents lost family in Auschwitz and we don't hide the fact. We are proud of our family history and we don't pull any punches about what happened. She is 9 and in Y5.
Incidentally originally she wanted to wear striped PJ's and go as a concentration camp victim but we decided against it ( too cold). I think we mollycoddle our kids too much.
Children younger than 9 lived through the concentration camps. The people in those pits were their families!
Suck it up. It's important and it needs to be learnt. It's should distress it was horrific
Could you have a word with the teacher?
My ds is very sensitive about a certain subject, when I found out they were covering a book about it in class I had a word, explained to the teacher and she said if it got too much then he could just ask to go to the toilet. It worked out fine.
The Imperial War Museum's recent Holocaust exhibition does not allow under 14s to go in.
I think 9 is way too young for explicit images. Mine are older now, and DD1 went to the above exhibition in Y10 - she found it very shocking.
I know they see things on the news, but somehow I find that different, equally appalling of course - but maybe it is because the concentration camps were such a structured sort of evil, on such a huge scale, part of the Nazi master plan. That makes it so hard to explain, while it is perhaps more possible to try and talk round the issues of eg Syria, 9/11.
Ds (age 6yo) is very interested in WWII and has a knowledge of the Holocaust. I think seeing the photos is important because it puts a face to the people who suffered. Hearing about it is not the same, seeing a photo makes them human, real people.
The Nazis got away with it to a certain extent because they portrayed the Jews, gyspies, disabled people (and others) and sub human, not properly human. Seeing the photos brings the fact these were in fact people, with mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, likes and dislikes etc.
Ds was reading an article about children in Warsaw. At the bottom was a photo of a 9yo girl at the time in Warsaw, almost certainly didn't survive. She was the spitting image of dd2 (also 9yo).
We lost family in Warsaw, and that really brought it home to us as a family.
It's different for every child IMO, I think in primary school the parents opinion should be sought as to how far is appropriate, or at least a fair warning to parents so they can be prepared. In year 5 at our school they studied The Diary of Anne Frank (I think it was year 5) and got onto concentration camps from there. Luckily DS is able to cope with images like the ones that came up and I will be able to prepare DD1 for it in a couple of years as she is much more sensitive.
A recent visit to The Manchester Museum reminded me of that actually, they'd have a copy of 2 of the Pompeii casts there, a dog and a child iirc. I totally forgot they were there and had to deal with her being quite upset (she's 8).
I think if 9 yos were let off to do a google search on concentration camps then yes, they potentially will have seen some extremely upsetting images. That doesn't sound like a very good teaching tool. Computers don't have to be brought in to every situation FFS.
I still remember the pics from the history books we used in school, they were memorable and upsetting enough. I imagine much stronger images are available on the web and I don't see the need at age 9, personally.
thinking about it, I'm 52 and there are things I know about the Holocaust which I dont like to think about and would certainly never google for images....
I dont think this is hiding from it, its more a case of knowing and understanding 'enough' of the awfulness without having to see the worst.
Was it supervised googling or were they left to their own devices? Because left to their own devices is not on.
Im not sure googling images is a good idea, surely the teacher would want to `vet` any images before they are seen by children as some images are extremely graphic.
I gave up PS teaching about 6 years ago, so I am a little out dated, but WW2 was on the curriculum, as i believe it should be, but a lot of thought was put into the resources used, no one wanted to give children nightmares.
There was a exhibition on at the Imperial War Musuem about children during the war and PS were not allowed in there as it was deemed too upsetting for such young children.
I'm 36 and I wouldn't put 'holocaust victims' as a search into google images.
Merrylegs, they were pretty much left to their own devices.....There is a laptop to every two children in class. Showing them pictures from an age appropriate book would have bothered me less; it's the fact that they were left to 'google' pictures that has made me mad.
I don't think that there can be true understanding without seeing it. Genocide is far more prevelant than we would like to believe and imo if upsetting our children so by that they never want iy to happen again is what it takes to prevent it then its a small price. Our children are the future after all and history has a way of repeating itself.
I'm surprised at the teaching method. I'm a teacher and every school I've worked in has had a firewall on google images, so the fact that the kids could access the pictures at all seems odd to me. Even if they could, it's not appropriate. The teacher carefully selecting pictures in advance for the pupils to see - fine. The teacher letting them loose on google images - not fine. Tbh I'd be more concerned about that.
It didn't read to me like they had been left to their own devices, more they googled it as a class.
I do hope your DD is alright though, Coffeeessential.
Just chat to her about it and let her know she is safe.
When I went to the Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum it was simply 'advised' that children under a certain age may not want to go it. I know this because I took DD in (aged 6 at the time). Flame away, but I think learning about the horrors and atrocities in the world is crucial and we should be grateful we're not living through these horrors as other young children are.
I dont think 9 is too young. They do form opinions at this age so i think they should be exposed to reality andif the reality is upsetting them then at least you know that they wont become racists and bigots.
At year 5 it is age appropriate. It's awful, shocking and upsetting, how could it be anything but?
I lent the film Sarah's Key to a 49 year old friend of mine recently. She returned it, telling me she hadn't been able to watch it as too distressing.
DP and I watched that film with DD (8) earlier this year. We did it in two goes as we were aware it was grueling. But, in our eyes, very necessary.
I am afraid I get impatient with adults who won't face up to human horrors.
Was it just a general googling of images? I would have thought that the pictures of the piled up luggage, glasses and other personal items would have given the children as much information about what went on rather than graphic images, or using aspects of online museum exhibits like the ones on the Yad Vashem website.
I would assume the school's computers have some sort of 'safe search' filter so that certain images would not come up. However I think that a more structured, carefully prepared-for approach in which only a limited number of images could be found and discussed, would be appropriate for younger children.
I think I would want to approach the teacher and find out more about the lesson, and how the children had been introduced to the topic.
I am the child of somebody who was a refugee from Nazi Germany. Many of my maternal relatives were in camps. I think because it's such an important topic, it needs to be approached with particular care.
I'm thinking of my son, 8.
IMO children shouldn't be too sheltered from life.
Those images are harrowing for anyone, and that's how it should be.
I think it is important that even children have an understanding of how horrible those camps were and WWII itself.
Do you think your DD will be severely affected?
It's a good thing that she talked to you. I hope you were able to discuss all her feelings about it.
Would I like my children seeing the films of bodies being bulldozed or more graphic details that I saw when studying Jewish history at Uni? no.
However, pictures of the people in the camps are just a small window into the utter horror of what happened. You can't teach about the 2WW without covering it. Children lived through it. At some point they need to learn about how horrible life can be.
At 9yo it's perfectly reasonable for them to see pictures of people in a concentration camp. It's an important lesson.
But how can we help children deal with the upsetting nature of this and other awful events? Talk about it, join the right campaigns, take some action, donate to the Red Cross or whatever, light a candle, reassure them it won't happen to them...? What do people do to help children with the fear and terror that these things can bring?
If you feel they were left to Google on their own without proper supervision then do chat to the teacher about it.
However IMO, it is more likely that the teacher had given certain instructions. What to search and where etc...
There is a big difference between learning about something and seeing the images of the concentration camp.
We saw those when we did GCSE history, aged 15 and there were some very distressed girls in the class even then. The images are very strong and distressing and it really should be something shown at an age appropriate time.
Most of the things suggested on here - dressing up, role play, Diary of Anne Frank, discussion, selected photos, information, description are all fine. We shouldn't Molly coddle and we should teach history, but the actual film footage is something that should be saved for later.
My 17 year old son was crying at the Imperial War Museum on a school trip and trying to hide from the rest of the class. I don't think a 6 year old is the right age to see that exhibit.
I'm afraid I'm of the school of thought that it's a luxury of the Western world to be 'too sensitive' to images, given the atrocities and horror that many children the world over are living, day in, day out
Yep. We in the west are (mercifully for us) incredibly sheltered by historical/global standards.
I dont really understand, because some children are exposed to the most appalling atrocities and horror, and actually living - or dying as a result - that ALL children should be exposed to them?
But isn't that the point steppemum? Even at 15 it is distressing.
I'm 25 and it's distressing, it is at any age.
I also think those images are necessary as you can't possibly imagine how awful it was without seeing them.
The fact that the pictures are distressing is exactly why they should be shown.
At 9 she won't fully comprehend the horror, but she should be upset. It was horrific and upsetting and should never be forgotten.
I can't watch certain things, not because I can't bear reality, but because I feel it very deeply, it affects my mental health (had PTSD in the past) and I become unable to function normally and fulfil my normal familial obligations. I honestly become a terrible mother because I cannot have fun or love my kids properly if I am too upset.
I work in a field which actively tries to improve the horrors of the world and managing my emotions around this is really important so I am very interested to know how people handle this with children. Too much sheltering is not good, but it must be possible to actually harm impressionable young minds by overexposure to the awfulness of the world, surely.
For instance, just talking about the fact that we are very lucky and some people don't have enough money to eat made my son incredibly anxious about money for a long time.
Hmm I am a bit torn, dd was not allowed in the exhibition bit of the imperial war museum in London because they were saying no children under 10/12 (I cant remember exact age)
I think it depends what they saw really. I have told dd about it, I think its important but like someone else said it depends on if the pictures were bodies/abuse or the camp.
I thought that the teaching of WWII in KS2 concentrated on the Home Front, specifically the Blitz, rationing and evacuation? Is that no longer the case?
That's by the by - there is a way to teach about the concentration camps without the need to show emaciated corpses in pits. I think that they should be taught about the Nazi attitudes to the Jews without seeing some of the more nightmarish images.
I don't want my daughter to be grateful for not being a victim of horrible atrocities.I will not be exposing her to age inappropriate images to bring home to her the horror of war (or any other type of suffering). She is not responsible for the life she was born into and does not need to feel guilty about it. If these images were on film they would be rated and for very good reason.
Of course she should be aware that there are many others less fortunate than her and she will no doubt feel deep emotions about this as she becomes more aware. But I think she should be old enough to deal with these deep feelings.
Op I think leaving pupils to google any images unsupervised is inappropriate.
'Most of the things suggested on here - dressing up, role play, Diary of Anne Frank, discussion, selected photos, information, description are all fine. We shouldn't Molly coddle and we should teach history, but the actual film footage is something that should be saved for later.'
I agree. There's a big difference between molly coddling children and teaching them in an age appropriate manner. Educating young children on the atrocities of WWII doesn't have to mean hitting them from the off with some of the more disturbing images. I'd imagine that could be quite counter intuitive.
One thing to talk about images with support. Another to let kids look with no guidance. At this age you can teach the horrors of the holocaust or the treatment of Jews without images actually.
Reading a piece from Anne Frank's diary or Mischling Second Degree or When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit would be a better learning tool. Rather than a shocking picture ('now I'm upset and frightened - what do I do with that information?') I can try and compare my safe life now with that of Anne Frank. Still upsetting, but it's a much better basis for discussion.
I think that is old enough to learn about things, and to see appropriate images BUT not to be left to google it alone.
I do think it is something which needs to be dealt with sensitively. Not hidden from children but not made more distressing than it needs to be.
But at primary school kids are comforted, crying is common and teachers are well aware of the delicate nature of some of the children and allowances made. At secondary school your thrown in, expected to suck it up and keep up and teachers are far less sympathetic. Cannot imagine why that would be a better atmosphere to show the kids these things,
To me it's not so important that children are frightened - there are enough films that can do that - what is important is to promote understanding. And I am not sure that young children can understand, if their primary responses are fear and confusion.
So to me it's about trying to tell some sort of story about a society in which discrimination was institutionalised and glorified and to relate that to chidren's own experiences. Does our own society discriminate against particular groups. What happens if that discrimination is not challenged.
Stories of the Kinderstransport, about Anne Frank, and about the children of Terezin may be a way in which children can learn about what young people's lives were like in the Third Reich. (I think its important to learn about life, about individuals - as only then can you really appreciate the tragedy of lives being ended.)
My first thought was that it is necessary for children to learn about, and see images of this kind of thing. However I have just tried a Google search, and about 4 clicks of the mouse brought me to a soldier stood over the dead bodies of babies and children. I don't think that is appropriate for a 9 year old, so I would agree that a chat with the school is a good idea. At 9 they still need the images they are seeing vetted by an adult first.
I think 9 years is not too small an age to see such images. It doesn't get any easier even if you are older. It can actually get worse, especially if you have led a very sheltered life as a child.
I say this as a person from a conflict ridden country myself. I saw and heard about horrible atrocities around me, in the media and in the conversations all around me. We were not overly sheltered.
In my experience, learning about such things at an early age makes you kinder and more empathetic.
What is important here, is that the adults in the child's life should be there to help the child process this information in the correct manner.
This is difficult. I do not want individual children to be traumatised, but I also do not want our culture to be as blasé about the holocaust as it is, and I think it's only getting worse.
It is supposed to be distressing. We want people to grasp that it was horrific, and nothing similar should ever have happened again on this planet. But it has.
We need the next generation to get it in their masses.
Unsupervised googling of images is never a good move. The filters dont always work.
A most embarrassed year 6 teacher was left having to explain to parents why pupils may have seen rather more than was intended when they googled images of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert!
<attempts to lighten mood>
My ds found learning about Anne Frank far more disturbing tbh and that was age 7iirc, he was upset as it seemed so 'personal.'
'A most embarrassed year 6 teacher was left having to explain to parents why pupils may have seen rather more than was intended when they googled images of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert!'
Yikes, I can certainly see why that might have led to some awkward questions!
It's distressing because it's a truly horrific part of human history, not because a child is "too young" to know about it. It doesn't get any easier to digest as we get older. It is a massive luxury for us to bury our heads in the sand and worry more about what's happening on Emmerdale than about children in countries like Syria being tortured and murdered right now, or being precious about historical atrocities.
YANBU to be annoyed that they were left to google images of the Holocaust. Some of those images would be terribly distressing especially if you werent expecting it IYSWIM.
If the teacher was showing them images she/he had selected themself I wouldnt have a problem with that. It's important to learn about these things so that future generations can stop it happening again.
But at what age do you start to expose your children to more graphic images if you think that western children are too sensitive? I saw tv coverage of a 2 year old girl in Syria not long ago. The horrors she must have seen broke my heart. My youngest is nearly 2, do I let her see?
I'd be on the phone to the head asap of the kids were left to google by themselves.
I was a child who was regularly exposed to the harsh 'realities' of other peoples' lives both in history and via a daily explanation of the news. I used to enjoy pretending to be a radio DJ and I have a tape recording of my Father asking me whether I was aware what was happening in the 'Gulf war'? I remember watching the film, 'The Killing Fields',at about 7 years old and being disturbed by the scene where executions are carried out by the Khmer Rouge. I asked my Father if it was true and he replied, 'yes I'm afraid it did happen.'. He did not believe in protecting us from the depressing realities of life. I think the biggest problem with this approach is that you are burdened with very shocking images at a very young age, once I had seen and heard about these atrocities I spent most of my childhood thinking what a miserable proposition the human condition was. I don't have SEN but was a pretty depressed child/teenager and I think this had a lot to do with it.
My DD2 is 9. She would be highly upset by seeing photos of concentration camps. She would end up not being able to sleep, nightmares etc. (I know this from her reaction to far less upsetting things).
She is aware that in the war people weren't nice to the Jews (and others), and that lots of them were killed. She is also aware that vast numbers of soldiers died protecting our country and liberating France. We have taken her to war cemetries and she has seen exhibitions on the occupation of Jersey etc.
But concentration camp photos (especially free for all access on google) needs to be Secondary school at least. When DD1 was 12 we went to the IWM and I took her to the holocaust exhibition. We looked at the photos, but even then didn't dwell on them massively.
Yes they are distressing to all ages. But most 9 year olds don't have the emotional maturity to cope with them that 14 or 25 year olds have.
I'm quite grateful that the schools do cover this,I think if left to parents there would be huge gaps in children's knowledge of history.
I think 9 is too young for these sorts of images, but not too young to learn about WW2, including the concentration camps. There are ways to impart knowledge appropriately, that do not either make use of or rely on these sorts of shocking images. Some images of people in concentration camps are appropriate for a 9 year old, others are not.
Yes, we are fortunate that we do not live in such times/places. But the fact that others do, does not create some kind of imperative to expose young children to extremely upsetting and shocking images. The moral responsibility is to educate appropriately and at a level where the child can engage and understand. Obviously this changes over time.
As for those people who say that they are irritated with adults who won't face up to the real horrors of the world and educate their children about them - where do you draw the line at what you show children? There are far worse things that went on in concentration camps (and elsewhere) than black and white images of bodies being bulldozed. How about some the medical experiments? What about the video of Daniel Pearl being decapitated? That OK for a 9-year old? And why not younger?
The fact that young children have to witness traumatic events does not set the bar for showing depictions of such events to our own children. These children who have witnessed atrocities are TRAUMATISED.
Deciding that a particular subject or type of image depicting an otherwise appropriate subject is inappropriate for a child at a certain age is not mollycoddling. It is taking a longer term view as to the child's education and when to introduce topics/images in a way that will be meaningful.
In short, YANBU. But don't go in all guns blazing.
Perhaps there have been some crossed wires about how the teacher went about this?
Do speak to her/him about how they use the internet while in class OP.
There wasn't a time in my life that I didn't know what you my grandmother found when she walked through the gates of Neunegamme as part of the allied forces advance team in 1945. She passionately believed that the only way to try and prevent it from happening again was for this to be something that enters our lives at a very young age.
Whilst she sadly never meet my DD I have carried out her wishes and not restricted it to the WW2 holocaust. DD visited Anne Frank's house at 6 and read the abbreviated diary at the same age. In year 4 they read about the holocaust in Rwanda and we have talked about that sadly this is a mistake mankind keep on making.
It is horrible, it should be shocking, but our children should know and understand about it.
OP, were they let loose in google image search or was it a teacher with images from google image search?
I can't really see much value in sending kids to going through an image search on their own on such a difficult topic which is what it sounds like you're saying and I would be concerned about that.
The Killing Fields at age 7?
I was 17 when I first saw that and just about coped with it.
A most embarrassed year 6 teacher was left having to explain to parents why pupils may have seen rather more than was intended when they googled images of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert!
I was quite shocked when I googled images of Ben 10.
Just noticed by DS is also being taught this. We have avoided this sort of subject up until now but he is becoming more and more aware of the news and what is happening in the world. I think it is important that they understand that there is evil out there, would I take him on a trip to a camp - hell no but picture yes I think he is ready to accept that. It will upset him as he is very sensitive but just because he has a reaction to it doesnt necessarily make it a bad thing?
She is aware that in the war people weren't nice to the Jews (and others)
Is that how you told her? Not nice?
cardamomginger I agree with you, it's really important for children to start to know about these atrocities but not necessarily in such a graphic way that they are quite traumatised for a long time. I stick to film and game classifications pretty strictly myself precisely for that reason.
A nine-year old doesn't have the same cognitive abilities as an adult, nor do they have nearly so much control over their environment, or ways to cope with anxiety. They are still developing and personally I would not want to have one 'go' at explaining the Holocaust, but to let them hear/see about it numerous times and then in that context, view pictures that are upsetting but make sense within what they already know. Going straight in with pictures of bulldozing bodies is just so traumatic many children will shut down anyway, or have nightmares, or just not respond (in front of others in the class). It's just inappropriate to me.
The Holocaust happened within living memory in supposedly civilised European countries. That fact in itself is devastating and scary.
I personally think that anything we can do to educate the next generation and try to prevent this happening again is ok. I wouldn't want to start any sooner than age 9 because I don't think that they would be able to understand it at all. It should be handled in a sensitive way though and support given to more sensitive children too.
I believe that after the end of WW2 members of the German population were forced to view the concentration camps in all their horror. It must have been terrible but a justified action in the circumstances.
It's relevant but I don't especially like the way the holocaust has almost become the single focus of human suffering to the neglect or dismissal of equally horrific atrocities, some of which are happening today. Many different groups were targeted in WW2 as well and that often gets forgotten. 60 million people died in WW2 - 40 million in Europe and Russia combined. The effects are ongoing...
Not sure - I think not too worried about them seeing selected images at 9 - but to be let loose on google? (Unless the computers have some kind of filter?)
MY DD1 did WW2 in P7 - 10-11 - the teacher told me (I hadn't asked - we were talking about it generally) she had monitored how much information etc they got...
Even so ....they had to do a project about it at home and although they were given web references for info - a general web search will bring up shocking stuff ...not just about the Holocaust but also other atrocities committed by all sides...
(I knew a German man who was 3 yo when the Russians came through his village on the way to Berlin - he remembered his mother hiding his sisters and him (he was wedged up a chimney)- they escaped - but some of his neighbours didn't - he remembered hearing the screams...)
I know children living in war zones see horrendous things every day ...that isn't right - but that doesn't mean we should deliberately expose young children to images/information like that - if anything we are in danger of desensitising them...
And what they see on the internet can be images that have been collected over a large timespan and large area viewed in a very short space of time ....they don't have time to deal with each image - which is actually different in lots of ways to what children in war zones see...
Fairly shocked at a couple of the responses here. Chipping - 'does she have any additional needs?' - seriously? FairyJen - 'suck it up' - utter nonsense. Of course it is stressful for a 9 year old seeing such images for the first time, they are at an age where they are learning that the world isn't a big fluffy, perfect place - would you take such a strong stance if it was your child being upset by whatever image a school had shown?
Of course it is important for children to be taught about hugely important historical events like this but there are ways and means of presenting the information to children, who (like adults) all handle things in very different ways. Yes they need to learn, but in a way that doesn't leave them in such a state.
They don't get less shocking as you get older and have more understanding , I would say they get more upsetting.
I honestly think it is a bit precious to worry your child being upset by it, remember some mothers had their children living it!
I once had a parent complain that I shouldn't be teaching about the Holocaust at all. That is was a one-off, all over and best forgotten about.
All over indeed. Despite the subsequent (and recent) Rwandan and Bosnian genocides
It's not imo precious to restrict what your children are exposed to to make sure it is age-appropriate. I genuinely believe it is counter-productive to make a child bewildered or petrified. It doesn't help them engage with the subject matter at all - showing a child a distressing image achieves nothing without the understanding behind the image.
WWII is complex. To make sure it never happens again people have to understand why it happened, as well as what happened.
I used to work in an establishment that, amongst other things, ran programmes to help teachers to teach the Holocaust. Every time I see a thread like this I realise that we were pissing in the wind. There are so many teachers we need to reach and we have no chance of ever doing that.
I agree it is actually more shocking the older you are and the greater your understanding.
We need to wake up, what these children are being taught may well save them from experience it for themselves,
My step mother, sister and parents fled Austria as the war started, they were the only survivors not only of their huge extended family, but of all the jewish families in the entire surrounding area they came from.
the truth is the human population of the world has multiplied over and over since then, and there are no signs of it slowing,
Which means our children will be experiencing in the none to distance future hideous atrocities, its inevitable,
one of the only ways we can minimise this is by making sure every last person/child has a total grasp on the implications of our choices,
How many people do you know that cannot be bothered to vote, all those who make that choice contribute to what happens next.
In 1994 the Rwandan Genocide happened,around about 1,000,000 (20% of the population) people were murdered, Hutu and Tutsi, neighbour on neighbour, family on family, genocide happens a lot.
Genocide is going to be a big part of the future, because we are in denial,
If we want a safe future for our children, we need to embrace every part of this important part of education, if we get it right, our great grandchildren may be the first generation to not to have this inevitability as a part of their future, we have to engage with the unpalatable.
Clearly we are inadequate at tackling population and so condemn our descendants to more misery.
Explain to your children, that the reason we share these great shameful sadness of extreme human behaviour towards each other is because we want something better for them.
Maybe a more sensitive approach to the atrocities of World War 2 for a group of year 5's would have been called for, but sadly these things did happen and to children much younger. It's distressing and horrific whatever age you are, but done correctly it is an important part of history and needs to be learnt. My mum was a History teacher and I have seen the D day beaches, walked through trenches, visited war graves and a town called Oradour Sur Glane (think spelt right) where the entire village was burnt to the ground and the population massacred during the war, all before I was 10. I remember it all vividly and am pleased my mum took me,it's something that will stay with me for ever and not be forgotten, which is how it should be.
just to give a comparison
On children in need night on the BBC, the do not show all their tapes and images all evening long. They save the most distressing for after the 9 pm watershed. Now obviously some younger kids stay up, but it really isn't unreasonable to say there is a time and a place.
They are distressing. I would be distressed now. If my kids never see them in school I would want them to see them at some point, because they need to know. But they need enough maturity to cope with and deal with the images they are shown.
My kids don't watch 12. 15 or 18 films, my oldest is 10. That is because there are age appropriate images.
It is taught in KS2, teachers take great care and have many guidelines and resources as too what is actually taught and what images are shown. You only have to look on this thread to see people have differing ideas as to what they want their child to see. Teachers will also take into account each year the children that are in their classes, before planning any topic as you will adjust it to the appropriateness of the children in front of you.
But, this is where parents come in, topics at school are starting points, if a parent wants to delve deeper they can. A lesson that sends children home distressed or having nightmares a not what any teacher aims for.
I think that yr5 would be too young to understand the politics and chain of events that led to the concentration camps. Therefore Im not sure there is much benefit in showing them images of the camps.
I remember doing Anne Franks diary in yr7 and think that this book is a good way to start introducing the subject to children before then building on that slowly at secondary school.
Im not especially sensitive but did a module on the holocaust in first year university. I found it really quite harrowing even at the grand old age of 19.
Learning about the Holocaust and viewing chosen images of concentration camps - absolutely fine.
'but I don't think asking them to search Google images for actual photos was necessary' -
Agree with that. At this age I don't think kids should be being encouraged to do random googling - DDs school always gave a list of specific sites to search for information. Just telling kids to google could turn up all sorts of inappropriate content, and its lazy teaching.
I was prepared to say YABU but thought I'd Google first to see what she'd have been exposed to. Having seen the images I don't think YABU. The teacher could have picked some appropriate images and used them on a projector or PowerPoint display.
It is very important that children learn about these things, but it has to be age appropriate. I went to the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum a couple of years ago with DH and my DC who were 15&13(very nearly 14). I cried, grow men were crying. It affected me for days, I couldn't get the images out of my head, I still can't.
It isn't mollycoddling to teach children these things on a gradual basis so as they become older they become more emotionally mature to deal with it.
It's not precious though! As mentioned up thread the children living it would be hugely traumatised and would need massive amounts of help to get over what they had seen and experienced. It's not some kind of ideal to live up to and not to be used as some sort of educational experience. What do you say to the child? "Well suck it up, they had to deal with it so quit whining?" Wouldn't any parent in any situation try to protect their children's innocence?
I don't know how you can teach about concentration camps without it being distressing.
In the nicest possible way, YABU. It is distressing at any age. I think it is important for even 9 year olds to learn about the world and the atrocities that happen. It does them no favours to be sheltered from it. I was a sensitive child and went to a Holocaust museum around that age. I was distraught but I learned a valuable lesson about what the world is really like.
Yes OP, these are upsetting and shocking images for a 9 year old to see and lots of 9 year olds would not be equipped to deal with them and the questions that arise from seeing such images.
On the other hand they are shocking images for anyone to look at and I don't think there is any real sense in trying to protect children from them completely. It is something hideous and awful that played a huge part in world history and I think that it's an important thing to teach our children about. The important thing now is to talk to your DD about it and help her deal with how she feels about it. We have a responsibility to educate our children on these kinds of issues for a number of reasons which other posters have mentioned.
As a point of reference, I was an extremely sensitive child and a worrier, but I read The Diary of a Young Girl aged 9 and was aware of a lot of what went on in concentration camps. I have visited 3 concentration camps, one as a 13 year old and the others aged 21...it affected me much much more at 21 because I was much more aware by that stage of my own emotions and of other peoples.
My 10 year olds would have nightmares.
They still know a lot about the Second World War.They also know about Syria but I wouldn't let them see pictures of that either.I took mine to the war museum in London and they weren't allowed up to the holocaust bit (sign up)for a reason.They still learnt loads though.
I'm surprised,don't think our school old have gone down that route in year 5.
no-one is suggesting that it shouldn't be taught, quite the opposite, but that it should be taught in an age appropriate way.
ww2 is on the curriculum at secondary school and 12/13 is much more appropriate time to watch these videos than 9.
''children of this age were in the camps, so we should let our 9 year olds see the film''
every day 9 year olds are raped in the sex trade. Shall we show videos of that to our 9 year olds too? Because one lot of children have been exposed to horrific violence, doesn't mean we should expose our children to it.
my kids have just been asked to collect family memories from WW1 for something for next years commemorations. My mum talked to the kids about her dad, including some pretty graphic stuff about his experiences, some of which was horrendous. They soaked it all up, and I hope it will colour their view of war, and that they never forget. But she wasn't showing them a video footage of someone holding down the leg of someone having their leg chopped off without anaesthetic. (which is what he had to do)
I think we forget how powerful visual images are
OT a bit but 'children are not allowed in Pompeii ' - we took DD when she was 10; the only bit that children weren't allowed in IIRC was one house with pornographic murals/mosaics (don't know, obv I didn't go in it either).
quote aren't they better being taught about politics from a young age then? I have issues about this in all honesty, IMO children should be taught about national political systems as soon as they're able to grasp the concept. From there they can learn about the historical consequences of political decisions, the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany for example. Showing them a snapshot of dead bodies being bulldozed into a hole teaches them very little without some understanding behind the decisions.
I think the point is actually about the curriculum. What was the learning objective in this session, and how does it fit into the children's study of History at Key Stage 2?
I teach Y5 and would never show graphic images like that to them. I don't think it's fair; they're too young to contextualise it properly (not that death camps can be rationalised) and it's unnecessary at that age. I think justifying it by saying they don't have to live it is a bit facile. Traumatising 9 year olds in one country doesn't help the suffering children elsewhere.
I think that's too young. Secondary school is more appropriate to see images of that sort. Many 9 year olds do not have the emotional maturity to process images of dead bodies and atrocities. All these comments about children living through it are pretty irrelevant really. Children live through civil wars in Africa and get their limbs chopped off and also get raped, does that mean those sort of images are ok for a young child here just because children there have lived through it. Learning about something as a child is one thing, being confronted with graphic images of suffering and death is another thing completely.
I am torn
I think children need to learn
and my DS is massivleysensutive, and I would hate to see him upset
Its hard, yanbu but I dont think "crashing" is required other
For me YANBU I wouldn't want my sensitive ten year old seeing the images either. FWIW dd's y5 class covered WW2 last year and the school was very careful of the content they were exposed to and so concentrated on evacuees and rationing tbh.
I think it's too young. I also remember reading Ann Frank in Y7, and nothing again until Y9 when they showed quite a harrowing video of the concentration camps.
Y5 is too young I think. A lot of children still don't have a proper concept of death at this age let alone understand the atrocities committed by humans too humans.
I think it is hard to explain the Anne Frank story et al without any concept of the concentration camps. Do you know they had been randomly googling or were the images presented by the teacher ?
Of course children should learn about the holocaust and genocide.
But the material needs to be age appropriate. My DD1 knows about the holocaust but I don't think she needs to be shown pictures at the age of 9.
And the person who took their six year old yo tge Imperial War Museum holocaust exhibition really they are too young to process that sort if information, to understand context - time and place. You just showed them a load of horrible pictures which made them feel scared.
The Anna Frank Trust does lots of good work in the area and their materials are age appropriate.
I know people always say it's important for DCs to know about these things, but knowing and seeing pictures is a different thing.
DD1 says she just held it together the first time Anne franks diary ended and then they rewound it (to get a date or something) and she burst into tears.
She was Y6 and one of our closet family friends is Jewish.
I think putting all the gory stuff in in Y5/6 when they do it again in senior school is just very lazy teaching. It's possible to do a really interesting and age appropriate unit I'm the Second World War without filling lessons with an franks diary and the boy in the stripped PJs.
I think 9 is perfect. Old enough to understand and be upset, but that is different to being upset and not understanding.
There are children from Syria in camps just over the boarders. They are not being systematically killed, they are having to work though, they are not sleeping in beds, they do not have enough to eat.
OP maybe if/when your dd is prime minister she will be doing something about whatever is happening to children then.
My DD was taken by her school to the Imperial War Museum holocaust exhibition ... in yr9. That's much more the appropriate age.
BTW as someone mentioned 'the boy in the striped pyjamas' please note what some primary teachers fail to, that it says that while it is about a 9 year old boy it is not intended for 9 year olds! (not a good book anyway IMO but that's probably a whole other thread)
I'm going to start a new thread around this, so as not to derail this one, I hope that's ok.
Lots of people seem concerned that their children nearly cried, I'd be more concerned if they weren't upset tbh. Crying is not a bad thing imo.
My DD's teacher in year 5 started to read The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas. I complained and the teacher hadn't read to the end herself, when she did she stopped reading the book to the class.
My DD at 9/10 was too sensitive for that book. She studied the Holocaust last year in year 9, and whilst finding it upsetting it didn't provoke the kind of totally unable to cope horror that it would have when she was younger.
Just because children of 9/10 were killed in the holocaust doesn't mean we should traumatise our 9/10 year olds with graphic images.
No not bothered about crying,I am bothered about nightmares and being needlessly disturbed in a damaging way at such a young age.
I saw pictures in secondary and couldn't sleep for weeks,found pics really disturbing.
For my children y5 is waaaaaay too young.There is no need.They know all about concentration camps.
Yes, ValiumRedhead, I was 7 and had reoccurring nightmares about the executions on and off for about 4 years.
I'm not entirely convinced that early exposure of these images always achieves the virtuous objectives of the adults providing this 'education'. I think that continuous exposure and reminders can sometimes make the audience war-weary.
The Holocaust Exhibition in the IWM says it isn't recommended for children under 14- for a reason.
skimmed through the thread.
OP I dont think the school was being unreasonable, but I do empathise with your dd being upset by it and I think the school and you could have been better prepared for it, so you could help your daughter a bit more.
FWIW, children are allowed in the Imperial War museum exhibition, I think it was just recommended that it wasn't suitable for under 14s. My children went last year, they were 7, 10 and 12. We'd been to Amsterdam the previous year, and then on to Germany, and visited Neuengamme and Belsen-Bergen. The children were incredibly shocked, they asked lots and lots of questions, but they certainly weren't left traumatised by learning about it. They are still young, but they learned an awful lot from it, and about politics, and how the world works. I think the key is to teach them the wider picture and not focus on just the camps and children being torn from their homes which is terrifying for any young child.
Dd's school used "Goodnight Mr Tom" and "The Machine Gunners" rather than anything related to the Holocaust.
YANBU - most people will find those images distressing whatever their age but IMO 9 is too young to be able to cope with those feelings for some children.
I was a bit younger (7/8) when we were just told about the holocaust and I had nightmares for weeks and really struggled to cope with the information. I had a very negative outlook on life and depression from a young age and wonder now if, similar to the post above, it was in part being exposed to the ideas of the awful things humans could do to each other.
I agree that children and young people need to know what happened but would question the way this has been handled
I agree with the others who say if they were left to Google on their own then YANBU.
I think at that age WW2 can (and should) be taught and the holocasue touched on, with images and more graphic details being kept for when they are older.
The Holocaust happened and shouldn't ever be forgotten or not taught ins chools, but at that age, there other aspects of WW2 that can be taught too. 9 year olds aren't aways mature enough to understand the politics behind what happened and to deal with it.
quote aren't they better being taught about politics from a young age then?
They need to know what happens when politics fail, and why they need to work really hard at making sure they don't fail. (something most adults need to engage with)
I do understand it is horrific, but it is far more dangerous for them not to know.
I have three autistic children, they got it from me, we all over image process, so I do get that it is disturbing.
If you talk to your children and explain why we need to share this information with them, they will understand that we share in the hope they will never experience atrocities.
Unfortunately it is one of the ones we have to suck it up and make sure that everyone knows the full set of circumstances, and for that images need to be used, because without no one would understand.
When the pictures of the camps, came out at the end of the war, everyone was shocked, no one had comprehended what had been happing. we still have deniers.
You can talk about what happened as much as you want, it isn't until you see with your own eyes you start to understand.
Lets hope all the potential future Hitlers are having these classes, and choose a different path.
from what I remember of the exhibition there were a couple of bits we did prevent the children from seeing, possibly of a sexual nature? I'm not sure. For the most part, it was very interesting to them though.
To be fair Chops it was your choice for your children.Kids differ hugely.
If something isn't recommended for under 14s I'd want to be consulted.
Still not getting the need.You can learn loads re concentration camps without looking at pictures at this age.
I think the argument that they have it worse in Syria is specious. Nobody would wish what those children are seeing on anyone. There's a huge spectrum of "appropriate introduction" between living in a war zone and pretending everyone is lovely to everyone all the time.
Whether an image or an idea is more upsetting depends on the child. Some people are very visual, some process sounds better. If you're a visual person then an image of something horrific stays with you longer than being told about it. With that in mind, I think also it's fair to say that the same image will be differently traumatic to children even of the same emotional capacity or sensitivity.
My oldest is in Y1 so I can't comment on the suitability for a 9yo but I'm surprised it would be considered appropriate to show bodies in mass graves, or images of executions, etc. Those are the kind of images that aren't shown before the watershed on TV, for example.
That said, I do agree that it's important for us to slowly and gradually teach our children that people do bad things, with examples, so that when they do first encounter the real horrors those don't come completely out of the blue.
DS(5) has asked about Syria when he's seen images in our newspaper of for example a line of shrouds, or burning buildings. So we've had to talk about how sometimes people in power don't necessarily want the best for the people in their country and try to hurt them. It's horrible because we all want to live in the world inside a 5yo's head where nobody is mean to anyone except by accident, and we want them to believe in that world for as long as possible.
yabu, it's good to make that emotional impact on them while they are young and good enough to care, they'll never forget it and putting that into the pschye of every child is the best way of ensuring it doesn't happen within our political borders in the future because they will grow up caring enough to make sure it doesn't.
Meanwhile there are millions of children in this world suffering very similar horrors to what your child only saw from a picture. Those lucky enough to live in a safe country during safe times need to know that those dangerous places were once 'safe' too, that could be us or our children/grandchildren one day. Ignorance is not innocence and education is the best defense against the worst possibilities.
Dd(10) is just learning about WW2. She is a very sensitive, imaginative child who seems to feel things more deeply than others. She is finding it extremely tough going but I think the school so far are pitching it at roughly the right level. I would be very unhappy if she had been allowed to google images of concentration camps etc unsupervised, there are ways of approaching horrific subject matter sympathetically and at the right level for the children, so that they learn from it rather than be scarred by it.
I fully anticipate dd will attempt to save the world when she grows up, she doesn't need even more graphic images than the ones she is quite capable of painting in her own head to do this...
Our homework this week is to find out about The Blitz as a family and how it affected our local area. Also to discuss what it was like to be a child during the war. Looking forward to this!
Btw I have visited both Dachau and Terezin and we have discussed them with dd, but I wouldn't let her google for pictures...
I just googled 'concentration camps' and the black and white pictures which come up are not really suitable for sensitive 9 year olds so YANBU that unsupervised googling was not the way to go.
I first heard about the Holocaust (as a 9 year old actually) when my friend's father told us in general terms how awful it was. He had been in the forces and said he had liberated a concentration camp if I understood correctly. He was an 'older Dad' and is now dead.
There was also a TV drama series called the Holocaust that I remember watching (in the 70's?) but don't think it was as graphic as those black an white images.
There is no question that they shouldn't have been told to google holocaust images, YWNBU to raise that with the school.
I agree with PPs who have said that there is a big difference between teaching about what happened and showing the actual images. I have talked to my 13yo about what porn is, but I wouldn't let him watch it!
I did however take him into the exhibition at the imperial war museum, along with his 11yo brother. I made that choice as a parent who knows her children and had discussed it with them, but I wouldn't have liked them seeing it on a school trip if it had been allowed, and I appreciated that there was age warning because it helped me make the choice for my children. I'm glad they saw it, and I'm sure it will stay with them for the rest of their lives, not only because of what they saw but also because of the atmosphere in there.
I don't think it's about whether children are too young or not, I think it's about whether an individual child has the ability to cope with emotions that strong images might provoke. Some children won't have that ability at 9 years old, so schools should always be extra cautious.
This is so difficult because it's important to get the right balance. As a teacher in secondary school, I've seen kids as young as 11 look at horrifying images and read testimonials from people who had first hand experience of life in concentration camps and laugh, poke fun and make jokes about it, because they've never been taught to respect it. I don't know if the school in question feels it's necessary to imprint the magnitude of the holocaust on to its students at such a young age prior to them becoming desensitised.
'Goodnight Mister Tom' (Film) used in Y6 at my son's school has a hideously upsetting scene involving the boy holding onto a still born baby locked in a cupboard for days.
Not quite sure it was necessary to the story but I expect it was supposed to symbolise all the Holocaust suffering. Instead it probably served to make kids think that all British families were cruel to their own kids never mind what the Nazis did. Found it very hard to watch as an adult but babies are my crumple zone.
The school wanted a signed parental consent to watching the film but my son didn't bring it home in time and still got to watch it. Fine I would have consented anyway but I do think that scene is probably too strong for many Y6s.
I don't know why people are sad and shocked that their children are sad and shocked, it's a normal response. Do you shield your children from the news and from newspapers? Every day, we hear about horrific things going on and often, we are shown horrific pictures. It's good for children to learn that there is a world outside of their childhood and their little world.
I don't think getting children to google images of the holocaust is a way of stopping genocide - it's just showing them horrific pictures from a long time ago, about people from another country.
I think getting children to learn about genocide and think through the issues together so that they can articulate ideas is far more valuable. They need to be able to think through this stuff, ask questions and understand context before we try to shock them with pictures of piles of bodies.
Yeah I'm not sure why Goodnight Mr Tom is any better than carefully selected pics of the camps.
The people saying suck it up, do you realised that the parents actually tried everything they could at the time to protect their children about what was happening especially the little ones.
You can talk about it in primary, show some selected pictures if you want, but not let them google randomly about the subject.
Pompeii's part which is restricted is the "statues" of people dying i.e dead person solidified in ash for eternity.
Like valium I think that I would be more worried about children who weren't upset or at least not disturbed at all.
And yes I do shield my children from certain news stories - child abuse, shopping mall massacres - there's a reason why we have a TV watershed, why news programmes warn about graphic images, it's because they have an effect on everyone and especially on children.
My friend's six year old appeared very knowledgeable about a recent child abuse/abduction story and I was at that.
I would probably take it up with the school about the unsupervised googling of images. That is not appropriate regardless of my personal belief that 9 is not too young to introduce some of it (although in reality I'd probably also discourage the viewing of the more disturbing photos).
These terrible things happened to nine year olds and younger, Jewish and non-Jewish.
ukatlast it's part of the book as Michelle Magorian wrote it. The baby wasn't stillborn though. The actual events leading up to that scene are a bit worse than that.
I have read the book, but not seen the film, to be clear. The essential plot is that the evacuation brings an unhappy widower (his wife died in pregnancy or childbirth) and the child of a woman with severe untreated mental illness together, . The moral is that a family is people who love each other and want to look after each other.
The cupboard scene, which occurs after the mother demands he go back to London, after finding out his best friend in the village is a Jewish evacuee, is when we find out the exact depth of the problems at home. The book is quite complex: it shows evacuees in the village who are mistreated as well as the boy and Mr Tom.
ubik I shield dd too from the news and graphic images on the front of newspapers.
Unsupervised google searches for "concentration camp" images for 9 yr olds is totally unprofessional imo
exhibit a Boer War
There are tons of deeply upsetting images of hanged and tortured inmates hosted on websites spouting pro nazism too.
I would be pretty hacked off and I would be raising my concerns pretty strongly.
I took my DC to Pompeii last year, aged 8,7, and 2. No part of it was restricted. (didn't take them to the brothels obv!) My eldest was fascinated and asked a lot of questions, but understood that sometimes things happen that we can't control. This was after seeing the entombed bodies.
Holocaust images are sometimes necessary as an accompaniment to teaching, but I wouldn't have left yr 5 children to google them!
I remember being in year 5 (so would have been aged 8) and we watched a video about world war 2 and concentration camps. Was sitting with my friend (crossed legged on the floor) and she said 'if I was a Jew I would have taken my gas mask into the chamber' I told her she was silly and that they wouldn't have been allowed. I got sent out for talking
I think it is an important part of history and I don't remember being traumatised by it. I remember being shocked that a human being would treat others in such a horrible way. If it is part of the curriculum then I'm not sure much would get done if you complained to the head. It also doesn't seem as though the curriculum has changed much in 20-odd years.
We have lost close family in the holocaust. That's going to be hard to explain to ds. He is only 4 now, but is bound to start asking at least when family trees are discussed at school.
I have been to many concentration camps and the pictures are distressing. I think vetted pictures at age 9 are fine. While people are capable of forgetting and sheer denial, educating our children from around 9 years old is only desirable. Some talking can be done even earlier. More explicit content/videos can be shown in secondary at e.g. 13 years old.
If you cannot cope with those type of images yourself I think you may pass that sort of sensitivity on to your children because they will see you recoil or be upset by other things too.
Many 9 year olds could cope very well with it, especially if the subject was handled carefully and well by their teacher.
However, you should be able to talk to your child about it and reassure them if it worries them.
Its certainly better taught in a controlled lesson than what some 9 year old children are accessing on the internet on their own or being shown by more worldly friends!
Also agree that more recent mass mursers should be equally discussed, so that it's not just a "history" thing..
I really don't think that a group of 9 and 10 years should have been left to google images of concentration camps. The teacher should have preselected a range of images to dicuss with the class.
While it is useful to teach children how to effectively research topics using the internet - this is not the subject and these are not the images to use.
So how exactly do you 'reassure' children about the Holocaust? How does a 9 year old who doesn't have too much 'sensitivity' 'cope very well' with images of genocide.
They all lived happily ever after? No genocides ever happened afterwards?
(Yes, I know this sounds sarky. But if I were a KS2 teacher I'd not find it easy to do either of those things.)
Fraumoose - I guess that is why you have to help children to reach a opinion on what happened - you want them to think - that's was dreadful, I would not go along with that.
Obviously when you get into teenage years you can appreciate the wider social and political context of the holocaust and understand that genicide continues and that sometimes there is just no explanation
I feel here the issue is unsupervised use of the Internet and Google full stop, that must surely be against the school IT policy.
As to the question of teaching about WW2 atrocities, WW1 battles and more recent conflicts/genocide I feel, yes, children must be taught about these major historical events and shaming parts of human behaviour in very modern history.
Images should be used to support this learning, war photography is essential to our understanding of these events. As is the question of how often many of these images were and are ignored.
As someone who was born just after the war I do remember in the 50s (when we eventually got a tv) seeing films which the Allies took when they liberated the concentration camps. At that time, of course, it was all very close to home as there were numerous badly disfigured servicemen everywhere and also (certainly when I was very young) bomb damage in some places. I think it is ok to show the films, but there does need to be proper discussion and teaching about it so that it doesn't traumatise youngsters. It is a fine line between upsetting children and giving them an education so that, hopefully, these kinds of things never happen again.
At my school they teach ww 2 in year 6, but it is done very much from a 'home front' point of view, looking at evacuees and getting children to think about that side of it, although they do cover the main points of the war.
Ww 2 is covered again in secondary with more emphasis on the events in Germany and Europe.
I really do think that 9 is too young to have those sorts of images and concepts foisted upon them. Most 9 year olds are just not emotionally mature enough to understand the issues surrounding the holocaust - it's not necessary for them to have to understand it all that young. Yes, there are children all around the world who are witnessing atrocities every day, but why does that mean that our children have to do the same? Surely we should be thankful that we can shelter them from the shitiness of the human condition while they are still young children? I'm not saying they should never learn, of course not, but 9 years old is just too young to be able to process those sorts of concepts.
I agree with others on this thread that allowing 9-year-olds to Google images of concentration camps without any supervision is wildly inappropriate. There are some images that young children should not see, IMO. Yes, we have the luxury to protect our children from disturbing images that they do not have the capacity to process. And that is a good thing. Exposing children to graphic images of violence at very young ages does not achieve anything constructive, IMO. In fact, I would say it achieves quite the opposite.
Should 9-year-olds learn about WWII? Absolutely. Should they learn about concentration camps? Unquestionably. But there are far better methods of educating children than random Google searches.
It seems to me that there is a fairly clear divide of opinion here: I haven't noticed a single poster with family connection to the Holocaust supporting the view that we should delay teaching children about it.
I was very cross with my dd's teacher in Y5, who completely changed a lesson plan because of dd's reaction. They were discussing the treatment of the Jews during WW2 and dd, knowing something of our family history and therefore what was coming next, became very distressed and wept. The teacher cancelled the lesson partly because dd was distressed, but mostly because she didn't want the other children to be upset by dd. Her words, not mine.
Sorry, but that is very wrong. Comfort the distressed child by all means, but don't compromise the other children's' education! Don't teach them that because it's an upsetting subject we don't need to bother studying it. It is so important.
(BTW I do agree, though, that the images should have been pre-selected. Unless it's a lesson in information-gathering, telling the children to google is lazy.)
'It seems to me that there is a fairly clear divide of opinion here: I haven't noticed a single poster with family connection to the Holocaust supporting the view that we should delay teaching children about it.'
Which divide is that?
I haven't noticed anyone saying that children shouldn't be taught about the Holocaust, the debate seems to be over which imagery is used in the teaching.
To my mind the problem is that these children don’t know about these things and are suddenly hit with them in a lesson as one big ‘shock,’ though I don’t agree with randomly googling images at that age.
I grew up with the direct effects of the atrocities and already knew the levels (including what happened to those survivors sold out at Yalta) and far too many details by the time I first saw pictures; consequently I accepted them as the pictorial evidence of what I’d already been told about.
I was given a great deal of very harrowing detail as a child and chose not to pass all of it on to my children unless and until it served an active purpose, but brought them up aware and age appropriately knowledgeable.
I’ve never read the when Hitler stole pink rabbit or boy in the striped pyjamas type stories, and neither have my children. I can’t find it an appropriate subject for fiction or sentimentalisation, though I can understand if you didn’t grow up with it as omnipresent fact it might feel different.
The knowledge of how things worked when you scratch the surface helped me survive sudden conflict as a child, and in ’92 when the first pictures from Omarska emerged, many lies where told and initially accepted in Britain.
It was those with a close understanding of how long emaciation takes, who instantly saw through it and clamoured loudly and raised attention to what was clearly really going on.
I can’t begin to explain what those first two days where like knowing what we were looking at and seeing articles accepting the official line and explaining those images away, it was absolutely terrifying, but my faith in this country to not have buried it and the older generation to not turn away wasn’t wrong.
Those who criticise parents taking younger children to the holocaust exhibition in the IWM are you aware that large numbers of Jewish and reasonable numbers of Romany families go to it with children of all ages, including babies, and their children aren’t massively traumatised?
IMO it is the failure of parents to adequately prepare children for what they will learn, and allow them instead to be suddenly exposed, that results in trauma, not the knowledge or even images themselves.
Porn happens in real life, I wouldn't want my 9yr old exposed to images of that either.
Context and the stage of development of your individual child is the critical guide here I think - neither of which is within parental control in the classroom - so much greater care needs to be taken by schools. I don't think such images have a place at primary level.
I was exposed to these images too as a young child several decades ago, it was extremely inappropriate and disturbing.
*Fraumoose - I guess that is why you have to help children to reach a opinion on what happened - you want them to think - that's was dreadful, I would not go along with that.
Obviously when you get into teenage years you can appreciate the wider social and political context of the holocaust and understand that genicide continues and that sometimes there is just no explanation sad*
What I think older children might need to consider is that the situation in a totalitarian regime is much more 'That was dreadful and I would go along with that.' I used to organise Holocaust Memorial Day Educational Events. At one of them the speaker was Bertha Leverton who came here on a Kindertransport. She showed a slide of a group of schoolchildren one of who was Jewish. And she explained that how after the Nazis came to power that one of the children - who was Jewish - gave a birthday for her classmates and none of the children came. I asked why nobody - nobody at all - came. Might not some children have wanted to go?' And she said it would have been dangerous. You would have been reported as unpatriotic. The authorities would take an interest in your family. Parents might be interviewed as possible subversives'
In an environment like that, what would we do?
I think that - in some way - considering such questions is more educational for children than being confronted of images involving starvation, incarceration, overt brutality.
OP you should be proud of your child for being sensitive to inhuman acts, not being 'furious' with the school. She is obviously empathetic. They are upsetting images, sure, but this might be a good opportunity for you to talk with your daughter about how other humans can behave towards each other. Why aren't you saying, 'yes this happened, this is why we don't tolerate racism, this is what humans can do but it is wrong'. Things like that.
My ds were taught about the holocaust and all read The boy in the striped pyjamas in y6. They saw images and learned about the atrocities, in previous years they learned other things about ww2, it doesn't all have to be at once.
There is a big difference between a y4 and y6 child in terms of emotional maturity and to me it makes sense to wait until this age to study it. I think Slavery and Black History should be taught in this year too, or at minimum y5.
We also owe it to our dc to teach them thoroughly and if nasty bits have to be omitted then we aren't doing all those who suffered any justice.
I agree with that FrauMoose. gruesome images make you feel helpless, whereas concentrating on what can i do to prevent it would probably make a bigger impact. Deciding whether to go to a birthday party is more immediate for children
Also with Golden Bear, i would fear that too much exposure to the awful things people do to each other would spark a depression or an anxiety type problem. Then you have added another drop of misery to the world.
FrauMoose ideally I'd like to agree with you, but many teens here especially with Iranian, Turkish, Afgan, or Pakastani roots and a suprising number of Poles, will tell you the holocaust was and is just propaganda, (often anti Muslim) and that view was not long ago publically preached on the streets of London as fact, and our old secondary consequently doesn't teach it at all.
There's plenty of others have little idea what it was at all, or can only say 'something to do with the Jews.', so I can’t disagree with trying to teach it and prove it's existance young.
Unsupervised googling of images of concentration camps is not an appropriate lesson for Y5 IMO.
However the subject matter is , IMO, appropriate. I have two boys in Y5 and Y6 and they know quite a lot about POW camps as my grandfather was held by the Japanese for 3.5 years in various POW camps including Changi. I think it is important that the children know about it. I wouldn't let them google it unsupervised though.
It's unlikely to be an issue in primary schools after this year - when the new curriculum comes in. Primary history will largely stop at 1066, so WWII isn't covered until KS3, except possibly as "a [KS2] study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066" which is unlikely to include the Holocaust.
I recall learning about this at a similar age. In fact Blue Peter used to regularly feature stories about Anne Frank's family.
However, back in my day, I'm guessing we were shown a very carefully selected range of images. I remember images of prisoners on bunk beds and very thin, malnourished individuals.
If the children were sent to research images on the internet they would certainly have stumbled across some very distressing imagery.
Perhaps this is also a good opportunity for you to discuss the internet with your DC - this illustrates a bigger issue of what children can see when they search. They need to learn how to be honest about what they see and how this makes them feel and know that they can always talk it through with an adult.
I don't think I am saying don't teach it. It's more a question of how and when, and seeing it as an endpoint on a spectrum of behaviour that was based on the ideology of Aryan supremacy. I do take the point that there comes a time when the whole issue of Holocaust denial needs to be addressed. (Perhaps within the context of how you weigh up - or choose to disregard - historical evidence.)
Oh yes Blue Peter, you seed that used to be such a good point of reference. We have nothing liked that now really. And Newsround too!
I think the point raised earlier about children being unable to learn if they are frightened and upset is a good one. I know that holocaust images are upsetting at any age, but I think that a thirteen or fourteen year old would be able to process them in a way which would be very difficult for a child that is still young enough to want to climb into his mother's bed when he has nightmares.
Allowing unsupervised googling at that age smacks of laziness and poor teaching to me. There are lots of teachers who work hard to provide age-appropriate resources for class topics, and I'm not sure what was going on for this teacher to not bother.
valiumredhead - whilst both were great in their day at giving children information about their own and the wider world, the internet has (for better or worse) negated the need for both types of program. Providing the internet is used in an age appropriate manner, it is such an awesome tool that nothing can compare. I think in this instance the school were remiss if their internal filters did not stop some of the more extreme images that searching for concentration camps will bring up but, by the same degree, i do not think that, taught correctly and to the appropriate depth for age, this subject should be one that cannot and should not be taught, especially in this country when there seems to be a turning tide toward prejudice and discrimination from all angles and sides..
Ah yes Dusty, the delightful new curriculum, where kids won't learn anything past 1066 and will get all excited about the stone age and Alfred the great.....!
Bicycle,I completely agree and have said so in my early posts, no random googling but absolutely to being taught with selected pictures.
FrauMoose I know you're not saying don't teach it, but here you couldn't teach anything to many, because they didn't get shown it young enough to to ever consider anything possible other than later parental and Imam guided disinformation, and by that age you're up against a certainty and a set of moulded beliefs that are considered dangerous to challenge.
Again our old secondary has removed One flew over the cuckoo’s nest and Of mice and men from the syllabus and many books from the library, following mass walk outs by black pupils. If some level of acceptance of tackling difficult subjects and being uncomfortable hasn't been accepted before secondary it is rather too late because minds are already closed and there's no educated discussion to be had.
I don't have the answers, I just think if schools are to provide a base of knowledge regardless of parental choices, it's important for us all to recognise that in some places there are now growing major issues with tackling things later, just as there are with tackling them earlier.
Oh interesting, of mice and men is still on reading list at our secondary school. I was stunned tbh as it was on mine at school 20 years ago.
It might be worth remembering that children of any age could have seen that on Pathe News at the cinema when they were first discovered.
one of my favourite books. and the film with Malkovich and Sinise is amazing
I preferred An Inspector Calls
squoosh I didn't say people were saying "that children shouldn't be taught about the Holocaust", I said "supporting the view that we should delay teaching children about it"
RustyBear WTF?! Why?
*JustGettingOnWithIt^ I agree with everything you say, especially re influencing impressionable young minds, and introducing aspects of the Holocaust at an early age.
I really do think it's more of a secondary school subject, really.
I don't mean that you shouldn't touch on it beforehand. But to actually be able to see graphic pictures and personal stories seems to me to be more traumatising than helpful.
I know some people can argue that by traumatising them, it'll make them less likely to go down that route. It could very easily make them paranoid and nervous, which doesn't help a child with their growth.
I know at 9 that would've deeply upset me. I have seen graphic images as an adult and been deeply upset and depressed. Although it doesn't get better, your understanding gets better and you can learn about little things you can do to help (humanitary aid and helping build schools for poor children and things like that). When you are a child, you are just left with this information and feeling helpless with it.
I want my child to feel like a child for as long as they can. Because once innocence is lost, it never comes back.
At dd1 school they do not even touch on this subject until year 9 as they think it is too upsetting.
My Mum remembers seeing the newsreels of Belsen being liberated at the cinema. They also had Jewish refugees staying at their house for a few months.
Personally as awful as it is I have always let my dc watch the news and not shied away from the truly dreadful stuff.
However I do think letting dc loose on google images is irresponsible. By the time I was ten I had read a couple of biographies of concentration camp survivors. I was a very unsupervised child though.
As a humanities teacher in a prep school I am quite shocked that the teacher did not per censor the photos before showing them.
Saying that I have never done concentration camps with year 5 (do it in year 8 when we take then to one) but have done World War Two generally looking at life in UK during that time.
If I was that teacher I would be expecting a parent complaint and a telling off for just getting the kids to search the Internet, for that sort of images. And would have already gone up the head to admit I had messed up,
I think 9 is too young. I remember learning about WW2 in primary school and it was more focused on evacuees and the blitz. I did read Anne Franks diary when I was 9 though. It was a birthday present from my grandparents. So I was aware of the holocaust even if the school weren't teaching it.
I studied the holocaust and Nazi Germany from 14-18.
It is not a luxury for children these days to be sensitive to images such as these. I find them upsetting. So does everyone else surely?
If op was saying she didn't think her year 9 child (13/14) shouldn't have been shown them I would say she was being unreasonable but she's not. Her daughter is 9.
I think leaving it for the teen years is too late tbh if you want to impart any real message about the holocaust. But there should be greater supervision of a nine year old looking at those images. Not just sent home to google. Is that setting homework? It seems a bit slack considering the nature of the subject.
There are at least 3 years of secondary school during which children can be taught about holocaust. Why the insistence that they must know about it in primary before many of them are emotionally equipped to deal with that sort of stuff? I dont remember learning anything about the holocaust in primary but in secondary learnt loads about it and went to a concentration camp outside Berlin. Even then, I don't think I was mature enough to recognise the full horror of what happened.
As an aside, I have only seen the film, but 'the boy in the striped pyjamas' is a bloody terrible representation of the holocaust.
I think leaving it for the teen years is too late tbh if you want to impart any real message about the holocaust
Why? I'm not being goady there, I'm just not sure why?
Sorry but YABU. Children are allowed to find some topics upsetting. The world they live in isn't always a green and pleasant land!
Shit happens in this world. Sometimes part of life is to realise how much better off we are then other people (in the past and present).
The teacher will be doing things in a sensitive way but it's not a topic that can be wrapped in cotton wool (and nor should it be IMO).
I don't get why learning about the holocaust as a teen is leaving it too late to impart a message either
Parents are free to tell their children about history as well as relying on teachers to do so.
I don't imagine any child gets to their teens without knowing something about the holocaust.
Because adolescence is a time of our lives when we are a bit rubbish at understanding emotions.(for want of a better less sleep- deprived explanation) Probably because there's too much else going on. Yr 5 is probably a reasonable time to start learning about WWII
But I think 9 is too young to be "let loose" on unsolicited Internet images of starvation, torture and genocide.
I think the age range is fine; random googling on such a topic absolutely not, whether primary or secondary.
There are lots of positive stories to come out of holocaust education too - the incredible bravery of those targeted and of those who tried to help them, for example.
The biggest issue here is the random googling rather than the subject itself.
What on earth was the teacher thinking of?!
I'd be furious too OP. I don't think there's anything wrong with teaching 9 yr olds about WW2 but graphic images are completely unnecessary and upsetting for children and adults alike.
I don't like seeing graphic images and for that reason avoid the news but I still know whats going on in the world because I read about it.
We can still be aware of others suffering without watching them suffer. I think showing primary aged children images of corpses is morbid. They are still very much children and have several more years in education to learn about the horrors of the world.
I've just googled it. It's hoffific. Lots of dead body's in mass graves. Genuinely horrifying for me, not appropriate for 9 year olds IMO.
There have been a few threads like this. There was a similar one recently where the OP's 11 year old had been told by the teacher to look up the author Ian McEwan. Although the book by him that the class were studying was suitable, by looking online her DD had found a lot of information about his early work, which had a lot of dark themes such as incest and paedophilia and her DD was disturbed and upset. She was wondering whether to complain.
And you always get several posters who tell the OP they are being ridiculous for trying to protect their DCs from disturbing thoughts and images at a young age. Usually some bright spark chimes in 'does your DC have special needs?' If the DCs in question were 15, say, they might have a point, but we are talking about primary school aged children. Is it really so wrong to want to shield them from some of the world's horrors until they are of a more suitable age to deal with it?
Otherwise, why do we have age restrictions on films, etc?
I can only think that these posters are childless, or their DCs are very young and somehow they lack the ability to imagine having a 9 year old, and how they would deal with it.
Yes I agree, you should never let a class of kids Google anything Willy nilly at school, let alone anything to do with concentration camps.
I have been caught out Google imaging something with the smartboard on - it was something completely innocent and in my mind I never thought it would bring up anything inappropriate. And yet there on the second row was a topless lady!
Otherwise, why do we have age restrictions on films, etc?
Yes, good point.
I have also googled it, just now and one of the images is particularly horrific.
I would be tempted to mention it to the teacher tbh. I do think it's an important subject but surely it's important for educational "material" to be age -appropriate and clearly googling this subject was going to elicit images inappropriate for tat age group.
I can imagine that if a teacher were to discover a child had been "allowed" to watch an age- inappropriate Film by her parents that had led to her being upset then they would be rightly concerned.
Do you think that the parents were expected to filter the images first?
(not got to the school stage of parenting yet)
Teaching the holocaust is very necessary but I too would be concerned at the teaching technique of 'google images' - it is impossible for a teacher to supervise that sufficiently and there is no control. If your going to see the head teacher can I recommend they look at resources from the 'Holocaust Educational Trust' - lots of fab resources and opportunities for students to meet holocaust survivors.
What I think older children might need to consider is that the situation in a totalitarian regime is much more 'That was dreadful and I would go along with that.'
Yy Fraumoose, I hhink that is the key lesson, at 9 you know that what happened was wrong, you cannot conceive of adults behaving like this, you see it as good vs bad.
As you mature you then realise that it is incredibly complex to understand how these atrocities occur - and some of it cannot be accounted for.
I don't know how how googling graphic images of concentration camps adds to that debate.
The outreach programme from the Holocaust Educational Trust only starts from year 6 upwards. I really think this subject matter is just not appropriate for anyone younger. I'm sure their programme for year 6 looks very different to that of for older kids, and almost certainly will not involve googling concentration camps.
In my opinion, if you want to teach anyone about the second world war then you cannot go far wrong with getting them to sit down and watch Jeremy Isaacs' The World at War. First hand testimony from people who were there but with the perspective of time.
tbh she should be sad and upset it is ok for a 9 year old to fnd this upsetting my dd also cried when she did it in high school at 11, she isn't a tiny child she is 9 and I know you are angry about it I do think children can cope with learning this at this age
We live in Germany, My children are half German. My 8yo knows the non-detailed basics about the Nazis and the Holocaust, but I think he is definitely too young to see graphic images.
We lived in Berlin and he picked up things from being out and about there - monuments and memorials, a glass plate in the ground under which was an installation of empty bookshelves as a memorial to the book burnings (seeing that developed into our first ever conversation about what happened. He was 5 or 6). My children will be confronted with it again and again. The Holocaust and the war are studied very thoroughly in German schools, as one might expect. But no teacher here would show graphic images to classes of 8 or 9yos. I'm honestly surprised at the number of posters on this thread thinking this is OK.
I was taught "you would probably have gone along with it too" but not until university. In fact, I'd say the only useful information I learned about WW2 came at university. Children are allowed to ditch history at 13 nowadays, which is the only justification in my view for teaching the detail of past horrors to younger children.
I was dreadfully upset in my mid-teens when I came across the sorts of images (on an evening TV programme) that the OP's child might have seen. The Holocaust was not discussed and remembered publicly in the way it is today, although there were a lot of programmes about World War Two. It was particularly distressing for me because I realised that if my grandparents had not managed to emigrate, my grandmother and mother would have suffered the fate of the people's bodies who I had seen.
But what really upset me is that my mother had not had any kind of discussion with me about anti-Semitism and the the Third Reich, or about what had happened to the people who didn't get out. Even after I rushed out of the room while the programme was still on, she did not follow me out and talk to me. The shock of seeing those images is still with me. It remains one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.
(I am not some sort of wimp, I should emphasise. I've gone on to read a lot about my mother's forebears. I even scripted a radio programme about a particular aspect of the Holocaust. I have also worked with those who have suffered trauma.)
I just think it would have been really, really helpful if my mother - or for that matter teachers or people at school - had talked to me in a gradual way, from say the age of 10 onwards about these issues.
I don't particularly support unsupervised googling, but I have no problem with children learning about the holocaust in junior school with some images. The teacher should choose some that bring home the reality without being extremely gruesome and forcing discussions that maybe are better left until later. My uncle was one of the troops at the liberation of Belsen and he had PTSD until he died by suicide when I was small. He always said that the material made public was the tip of the iceberg, he had seen horrors beyond description. I have never not known about what happened, that I can remember anyway. To me it is very important that it is never forgotten and that people are not over protected from it, and I'm only related to a witness not a victim.
It is too young IMO. In year 2 and 6 my children did WW2. In Year 2 it was all dig for victory and evacuation plus the blitz, in year 6 they learnt more and they learnt what Hitler did but they didn't go into the detail re the concentration camps; they learnt that he had a lot of people killed but didn't know how except that it was in a concentration camp. They saw pictures of the concentration camps as they are now.
No reason in the world for such a young child to be exposed to these images.
"Google it" is not exactly an appropriate teaching method, especially for such a subject. I just googled it myself and those are not images I would share with children that age. Did the teacher not think to try out the search terms herself first?
There are plenty of images in among them that could be used to effectively teach students, without sharing the particularly graphic ones. I don't think young children need to see carts with bodies piled up, or some that are even more graphic. Photos of those in the camp, children, even the living facilities are generally quite acceptable if vetted appropriately.
Children do need to learn. But it always needs to be done in an age appropriate way. When you've got 30 students in the class, you can't always avoid upsetting everyone. Some children are more sensitive than others, so you need to be able to balance their needs with the need to teach about a vital subject. It can be done. It's not always a perfect science. But telling students to go off and google images is never a good idea!
Slight tangent here, but has anyone read a book called (I think) "Chocolate Cake with Hitler"?
its a fictionalised account of the last day of the Goebbels children in the bunker at the very end of the war.
it's a horribly atmospheric, tragic story, and a very powerful read.
Wouldn't bother me at all even with my 4 year old. These pics need to be shown.
Slight hijack but I would ask you not to refer to the Holocaust as 'part of World War II' or similar.
The Holocaust is a separate event from WWII, which started before the war did. Although they are of course closely related, the Holocaust was in some ways much more horrific because of the systematic and cold-blooded way genocide was carried out. While many more people, indeed many more civilians died in WWII than in the Holocaust, there are some aspects of the Holocaust which make it completely different from any war or war crimes.
Holocaust deniers have tried to portray the victims of the Holocaust as victims of war, to relativise between the Holocaust and war crimes carried out by both sides in WWII, and to claim that the Holocaust was a detail of the world war. I think it is important to make the distinction to point out that the Holocaust was not something that 'just happens in wars'.
The transition from concentration camps to extermination camps started well after WW2 started ... around 1941.
Can't believe there are people saying that if there were 9 year olds in the camps then 9 year olds should learn about it in school! That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.
What should 9 year olds be protected from then? Graphic live images of murders? Snuff movies? Images of torture? We all would draw a line somewhere I'm sure.
I think it's fine for a 9 year old to learn about the Holocaust but it needs to be done in an age-appropriate way. Children this age cannot process things the way an adult would and even I as an adult struggle to process some aspects of the Holocaust e.g. watching Claude Lanzmann's 'Shoah' and learning about the casual murder of babies and toddlers really disturbed me.
Kristallnacht was in 1938 Mimishimi, and the Wannsee conference was in 1942. Not sure what your point is.
My dd1 and I visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam when she was 6 (we had 9 hours flight connection time). Her comment at the end was "that wasn't very nice" and then "but we should remember about Anne, shouldn't we, mummy?"
On holiday in France we visited the Normandy beaches.
2 years ago when she was in primary 7, age 11, the school asked for permission to let the class see "The Boy In Striped Pyjamas" in class. I said yes (and have just sent back the form for ds to see it this year, and will do the same for dd2 next year). It's a cert 12.
Dd1 found it very upsetting, but said she was so glad she had seen it, because of all the people who died. It hasn't caused any lasting damage, she now says it's a film everyone should see - once! (There was clear permission given for any pupil who had had enough to leave and do another activity).
I think that it is very important to keep the memories of this kind of thing alive. I realised recently that I'm 42, oldest dc is 13. There's a bigger age gap between me and dd1 than there is between me and 1945. Both her great-grandfathers who served in ww2 died before we had children. While it's not right to dwell on it I still think it's important that "At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we shall remember them".
Very good point avery
A 9 yo does not need to see something just because a 9 yo had suffered it. That is utter nonsense.
Also good points from midnight and mcavity I thought.
I don't think the problem is a child being too sensitive. I think the problem is that a 9 year old is too young to have the life experience/general knowledge to put some things in to context and then the message is meaningless.
If you do go in, you should ask about the ICT policy and which safe search tool they are using. There is a real e-safety issue if the children have unrestricted access to google or other non-child friendly search engines. At our school, there is one search engine at ks1 and a different one at ks2. The children are supervised whilst using them and teachers are still asked to check the results before using in class.
McAvity that's an interesting point about the separateness of the Holocaust and World War II. I can see that if Holocaust deniers say the deaths should be seen as a some sort of almost coincidental side-effect of Germany being at war, it is important to say - no of course it wasn't. On the other hand there's an inter-relationship. Once war was declared the chances of people emigrating had vanished. The possibilities of people from outside observing Germany's increasingly discriminatory policies - and of people inside letting the world know diminished. The truth of what happened only came to public knowledge with the Allies liberated the camps. Also - though I would have to read this up - my understanding from a book on the Wannsee Conference was that the decision to make the shift from concentration/forced labour camps towards genocide was directly linked to the scarcity of resources in Germany as the war continued.
There is a fine balancing act between teaching the Holocaust as a one-off so horrendous it deserves special treatment, without losing its context as an event in a society and a time, and drawing parallels with other more recent genocides.
Giving it special status as The Worst Horror Ever is really only justifiable on the grounds of scale. There was nothing special about Germany that made it happen; just all the right circumstances coming together, just as the right circumstances came together in Rwanda.
The further we get in time from the events themselves, the easier it becomes to look at the international picture and say "yes but look at Sweden's policies on euthanising/sterilising the disabled in the same period" or "look at how marginalised all gypsies were all over Europe at the time" and to look at the economic demographics, or the precise political structure that allowed a minority party to create a dictatorship, and so on and so on.
But to say today "actually, this could have happened in GB/SE/FR too, with only a few different circumstances" is hugely politically sensitive because what those who were alive at the time (or their children) hear is "you were all nearly Nazis too".
We can look at the Peninsular Wars with a cool head because two centuries separate us. We're only just questioning the true motives and problems of WW1 (which started roughly halfway between Waterloo and today) but there still exists a great deal of personal sentiment even though nearly everyone alive then has now died. I would argue it won't be until our children are the teachers and decision makers that we can truly look at the 1940s with any kind of emotional disinterest.
I'm not at all comfortable with the idea that we should look at the Holocaust with "emotional disinterest". Yes, we need to be able to study it in a calm and measured way, taking into account its context, etc, but I never want anyone to feel anything but horror and revulsion for it. Or any other atrocity perpetrated on a group purely because of who they are, be it slavery of Africans, the Holocaust, the Gulag, the Killing Fields, Rwanda, Bosnia, etc. We must never be disinterested.
Being disinterested doesn't mean not recognising that it was awful, it just means looking at all of it without getting stuck on "this was awful and I would never do that". Because I believe that's the default position in the UK and isn't ultimately helpful.
Op - have you talked to the teacher about it? I'm very interested to know whether they were randomly googling and if so why. Sounds really crummy as a teaching tool. Please come back and update!
I think its important that they see it. My ds will be studying this next year and I fully expect him to be upset, possibly slightly traumatised by the images he sees. I would be very worried if he could look at images like that and not be very upset. I pray that the horror of those images, and the feelings he has about them will stay with him for the rest of his life, because it should never ever be allowed to happen again, and only by keeping the memory of the atrocity alive can we stop it from happening again.
Wee-I think ds will be watching TBITSP this year at school but I will watch it with him beforehand at home so we can discuss it and possibly have a little cry.
I'm of the mind that if people managed to endure such atrocities, then who are we to say we are too sensitive too learn about them?
The schools job is to let parents know curriculum content so parents can talk to their children about anything distressing, provide appropriate 'talk down' time during the lesson and always keep it contextual. Making provision for children to feel they can 'do something' about what they have learned about helps psychologically too maybe via doing something to benefit a linked charity.
What concerns me more are children who go home to parents who don't provide a space for them to talk about such things. The OP@s daughter will have that safe space.
I'm of the mind that if people managed to endure such atrocities, then who are we to say we are too sensitive too learn about them? Learn yes, view horrific images at a young age no. Children get raped during civil wars, you wouldn't want your child to see footage of a child getting raped, so in the same way it's completely unnecessary for a child of nine to have free reign googling images of corpses.
Wouldn't bother me at all even with my 4 year old. These pics need to be shown. Your four year old had no where near the emotional maturity to process those images. That is one of the craziest things I've ever heard on MN!
What kellyelly said.
I disgree too Mignonette
It seems to be setting the bar rather low. Shouldn't we be trying to give the impression that atrocities are exceptionally awful, rather than a commonplace aspect of life?
We do try to shield our children from the exceptionally awful, it's not a standard thing that children should suffer this, or even witness.
When they are a bit more mature they should of course learn and bear witness. In a respectful way that grasps the context and the lead in rather than just a helpless horror at the macabre.
But ... I don't know... does it give people an awfully bleak view of the world to know from very young that this has happened, often and may do again? Does it colour their view of people before they can properly contextualise it? Does it actually drill into kids taht this is wrong wrong wrong and by learning we will prevent it happening again, or has that become a bit of a truism? It's not racism is a thing of the past. Tribalism still thrives (I know of course there are other factors involved in that.) Hard to measure, I suppos
I said learn about them. Please read my post properly.
I'm not getting at you if that is directed at me...just disagreeing and expanding....
Just to update anyone interested -
I went in (calmly!) to speak to the teacher after school yesterday - As my daughter's only been in her class a month I hadn't spoken to her before. She looked extremely guilty when I said that DD had been very upset by looking at graphic images online, and said it had been ' a mistake.' Here I get confused, as my daughter is saying one thing and the teacher another. The teacher says that they were all two to a laptop, doing a project on Anne Frank, and in their pairs looking for pictures of her to include in their work. She claims DD must have 'put concentration camps' into the search engine, as the disturbing images some posters have described came up.
DD got very upset when I asked her if she had put those words into google herself and she insists no, why would I want to search for that? She claims that her and her partner had just about finished their work, and the teacher came over and suggested they search google images for 'concentration camps - she was stood over them as DD typed it in.
I don't know how the teacher cannot have been aware of what would come up, although she claimed to have been 'shocked' herself. When I asked whether there were any internet filters in place to protect the children from graphic imagery like that, she said no, and she would 'have to speak to the computer technician about it.'
Obviously now, it is difficult for me to take it further as it is her word against DD's. With DD having so much difficulty coping with learning about WW2 anyway, I don't see her typing 'concentration camps' into google off her own bat. Like all kids she has her faults, but lying isn't one of them. And if it had been the case that she had put it in her herself, the teacher would surely not have even been aware she had done it - She would have felt shocked and guilty and turned it off straight away. It doesn't ring true somehow....
I have talked it through with DD as best I can, and have decided not to mention any more to her for now. Like I said in my original post, I have no problem with her learning about these things. They happened and she has to know that they happened. But this should be done in a careful way, not by searching google when there are no suitable filters in place. She stumbled upon these pictures without any understanding or context, and instead of making her feel deeply shocked but knowledgeable, they just made her feel afraid.
This is actually the second time we have had trouble in that school with their internet filters - Last year, she came home to tell me that she'd put something into google and had to tell the teacher as it came up with '20 ways to a woman.' (!!!!) I think they need to change their technician.....
Maybe it was her laptop partner who typed it in?
maybe whoever else she was with it came up or perhaps it came on google anne frank did go to a concentration camp so perhaps it was just kids nosiness, I am unsure why the kids have unsupervised internet access I know the settings will be high and all that but
No - Her laptop partner recently moved here from Poland and is still learning English.
It was directed at posters who seemed to equate learning w/ showing graphic photos of distressing historical incidents and then made the assumption that I meant that. They are not synonymous. However I believe that we must not shield even quite young children from these events. The skill lies in how it is taught and in that, not all teachers (or parents) are equal.
Review I didn't mean to target you specifically. An un-ironic peace be with you too .
I think the schools interne settings are not right then, I still dont think there is anything wrong in children learning and seeing images about concentration camps but I think it shouldn't be them set loose with google and a laptop iyswim,
I think I would be inclined to write a record of everything that's happened and pass it onto the Head Teacher, requesting a written reply.
There seem to be two issues. The different accounts given by the class teacher and your daughter - who is characteristically a truthful child - and the equally important issue of the school apparently not having internet filters in place.
I would imagine the school must have a policy on safe internet use. Why is it not being adhered to? If it doesn't have a policy, this is something which would be of great concern to Ofsted.
I think that exposing children to the horror of the holocaust at all is misguided. They will have plenty of time to discover the worst of humanity when they are old enough to assimilate it.
Some people like drinking piss or cutting themselves with razor blades during sex, I'm not having conversations with our 12 year old about it, even though it's much less disturbing than the facts of the holocaust.
Just because something is true or will become apparent to them one day doesn't give us the right to attack them with it while they are especially vulnerable and lack the resources to soothe themselves in the aftermath the same way an adult would.
You might be interested in this op: theattachedfamily.com/?p=4131
Thankyou, randomAXEofkindness - That's a very useful link
Thanks for that Randomaxe that link articulates what I am trying to say
Maybe applying the same levels of censorship to history as we do to all other kinds of media might be an idea.
12A means certain things to us in a cinema setting, maybe that's the system we need.
IMO age 9 is way too young to see images of concentration camps.
Maybe 15 is ok.
That's a great article random, thanks for linking.
i think she is old enough just about....
what rattled me slightly when my children were doing primary school history is that essentially they were told that the only people who suffered in the war were Jews, and mainly Anne Frank.
I thought it was distorted to say the least.
As their dad comes from a country who lost a fifth of their civilian population (Jews included) it was a bit...
I think the more insidious distortion and sheltering is the way it tends to be taught - that they were crazy/just bad people/good people didn't know (see Boy in the Stripes Pajamas with a good child knows nothing, children were forcibly indoctrinated to think it was a right thing to do and it's really hard to ignore the smell and slave labour that came out of the camps into towns usually across the road - it wasn't hidden or considered shameful). And as you said so many groups left out, over half of those who were killed.
It tends to leave out those too similar (the Christian groups, Eastern Europeans often killed just for their nationality) and those considered too different (like the Roma peoples, who lost 90% of their population during the Holocaust, and when they weren't killed straight away they were often housed tied up barns, or that there was another genocide of 10 million caused by Germany less than 20 years earlier in Northern Africa where they perfected the practices then used with the help of other colonizing powers along with millions more by Belgium in the Congo that has affects to this day).
It also tends to leave out the entire system that made the Holocaust happen wasn't built solely on hate, but on racial sciences which were highly supported around the Western world at that time, had centuries of tradition and created to support systematic oppression by the elite of others for the own gain as well as media, religion, all of which helped to pass the laws and economic blocks. That these sciences still have supporters to this day and that these sciences worked further into the media to harmful stereotypes that cause oppression to this day.
I think graphic pictures and Anne Frank can have a place, but they don't really get to the heart of why we need to learn and never forget and sadly are often used as short sharp shocks that fade with little real information.
Well done OP. I agree with Fraumaus - write an account and contact Head, especially if this is the second time there's been what seems to be a cock up with the internet filters.
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