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How do I tell 7 year old DD about the holocaust?

(31 Posts)
ontheedgeofwhatever Thu 08-Nov-12 10:16:47

DD's best friend is Jewish. A lot of her family were lost in the holocaust and her mum has gradually started telling her about it. She's obviously been talking to DD. DD is quite confused and keeps asking me questions like

"why did Hitler kill lots of people just because they were Jews like X"
"would he have killed X if she'd lived then?"
"Would he have killed me for being friends with X?"

DD is very imaginative and creative and tends to dwell on things. I've tried to answer gently and without too much detail but she keeps on and on asking questions. How can I give her the facts without scaring her? Is there an age suitable book I can share with her?

I don't want to scare her too much but I don't want to keep her from the truth either

WofflingOn Fri 09-Nov-12 04:51:23

Try and get a copy of ' The Children We Remember' by Channa Abells. It has simple black and white photographs and a line of text per page and is a text I've used in school. It is a wonderful starting point for answering some of the questions she's asking you.
There is a simpler version of the Ann Frank diary as well.

weegiemum Fri 09-Nov-12 04:51:59

I took my dd1 to the Anne Frank house when she was 6.5 - we were en route to Canada and had a day in Amsterdam - it was perfect. At that time we live in a very remote location and in her small school older children were studying ww2 so this helped her to understand.

In p7 she did ww2 herself and I think the fact we'd talked about it helped. My dh is half German, so we've always been very open about it - my grandpa was in the RAF, my dh's opa was in the Luftwaffe.

At school, with parental permission, they watched "the boy in striped pyjamas". I'm glad she saw it, but it freaked her out (she was 12) more than Anne Frank.

We plan to visit war cemeteries/the camps in Poland when the children are older. I think it's essential we know.

Pyrrah Fri 09-Nov-12 10:51:17

DD has also asked questions - DH is Jewish, his immediate family escaped from Germany during the war but many of the extended relatives died in the camps.

DD is a huge Harry Potter fan and so I basically made a Hitler/Voldemort analogy and worked on that basis. I haven't told her anything about the camps, just explained that he killed people because they were Jewish and no other reason and how some of the family came to England (Kindertransport etc). We went to visit the Kinder transport memorial at Liverpool Street Station and she was very taken with that and the poor children not with their mummies and daddies.

It's something that is going to be raised many times within the family as she grows up so I felt introducing it very early would avoid her getting scared later on if she found out about things later on en masse.

The Jewish Museum in London might be helpful - they must have lots of children from the Jewish schools going round.

I'll ask some of my relatives what they use for teaching their young children in the way of books etc.

learnandsay Fri 09-Nov-12 11:00:59

Pyrrah, surely your husband's family must have some sort of rules about what's appropriate for very young children to be told regardless of who's Jewish and who isn't.

Theas18 Fri 09-Nov-12 11:20:17

Love the hilter/ voldemort analogy- muggles =jews and undesirables, pure blood wizards good etc . Its pretty apt and runs through the books. I'm sure JKR intended it to be like that.

Pyrrah Fri 09-Nov-12 20:14:35

I don't think there are any rules to be honest - it's for everyone to decide what is best for their child depending on their relative sensibilities and capabilities.

The close family run from ultra-orthodox to bacon-eating liberal and so there is no one way of doing things. I ought to ask the orthodox side what they teach at school, synagogue etc as they must be pretty expert.

One of my nieces (my family) is the sort of child who would have nightmares and get very upset at the slightest inkling of something like the Holocaust. My DD on the other hand seems to be completely unfazed by things - she does understand but within that I imagine she takes what information she is comfortable about.

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