Let’s Have Middle-Schoolers Debate Whether the Holocaust Happened!

Inappropriate!Credit: Eric Constantineau - www.ericconstantineau.com / photo on flickrA group of eighth-grade teachers in the Rialto Unified School District (that's east of Los Angeles in the Inland Empire of Southern California) decided that a good way to teach their students effective debate skills in writing is to ask them to take a side on whether the Holocaust happened and back up their arguments with facts. You don't need an Upworthy-style headline to figure out what happened after news got out about the students' assignment. Outrage! Death threats! And so the school district will not repeat the assignment. From The Sun of San Bernardino, California:

Throughout the day Monday, the district fielded angry calls from parents, a death threat and a flurry of media inquiries over the assignment, which district officials initially defended as an effort to teach students to think critically. Ultimately, however, administrators acknowledged the assignment was in poor taste and promised it would not be given again.

"Our interim superintendent will be talking with our Educational Services Department to assure that any references to the Holocaust 'not occurring' will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research projects," district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said in a prepared statement late Sunday.

Initially, seconds before it turned into a massive public relations disaster, the school district was defending the assignment to The Sun as part of Common Core requirements to teach critical thinking. In an early response, one school board member said, "Current events are part of the basis for measuring IQ. The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are on newscasts discussing current events. Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship."

The Holocaust is a current event? Anyway, I can see both where this bus was going and why it was never going to get there. What if dozens of students decided to argue that the Holocaust didn't happen, given the small amount of information provided by the writing assignment? Even though I believe the slaughter obviously did happen, I could easily see the argumentative eighth grade version of me trying to argue the other side just to prove I was clever. Imagine the kind of public relations disaster it would have been if it got out that a bunch of Rialto students wrote that the Holocaust didn't happen in a school assignment. Imagine being those kids' parents.

This is not to say engaging in a look at Holocaust denial theories should be beyond the bounds of education, but perhaps not in 8th grade and not as a homework assignment on writing skills?

Also, the controversy is a good reminder that even when they're actually trying to teach critical thinking skills instead of suppressing them, public schools sometimes struggle with doing so in a sensible way. If I were a parent, I'd be more concerned about how quickly the school district Godwinned itself by selecting a subject with such an obvious desired outcome and not something that would actually lead to diverse answers and debate. Will they replace the assignment with a debate over whether man actually landed on the moon next? Or whether the world is round or flat? Or maybe this is the public school version of teaching critical skills—only tackling obvious cases where determining the "right" answer is a breeze.

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  • ||

    "Whoa, dude, did you just drop a hard 'J' on us?!?"

  • Lord Humungus||

    Did David Irving show up?

  • Nicholas Sarwark||

    Teach the controversy!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    One of the nuances of this topic I've discovered: Mentioning the Holodomor is a quick way to get labeled a Holocaust denier. Still a little fuzzy on the logic, it is something between Stalin got a bad rap and the Holocaust is supposed to be the largest mass murder in history. Logic systems that ignore facts are the hardest to figure out for some reason.

  • Calidissident||

    It depends on the context and why you're mentioning the Holodomor. No-shit Neo-Nazis will bring it up online to deflect and minimize the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities. Bringing it up to play genocide olympics merits criticism. Of course, it's perfectly fine to bring it up for its own sake, or to criticize Stalin without trying to minimize Hitler, etc. The estimated death toll for the Holodomor varies, as it does for the Holocaust (depending on who is counted as a Holocaust victim), but most estimates I've seen have a higher number for Holocaust victims.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    JCR has it right, and with the folk I'm talking about, it does not matter what the context is.

    Come to think of it one of the criticisms is "you are just trying to minimize Hitler" no matter how it is mentioned. Bringing up the Great Leap Forward is remotely similar. Someone actually had the balls to tell me the mass death of the Great Leap Forward were due to Mao trying to protect the Chinese people from Japan. Never figured that one out either and I did beg for an explanation.

  • Calidissident||

    I'm not saying the people you describe don't exist, and they are idiots. I'm just saying that I've seen countless instances of Nazi-apologists (mostly on Reddit) use the Holodomor, other USSR crimes, the atomic bombings, Dresden, etc. to minimize the atrocities committed by the Nazis. I think it's totally reasonable to have a problem with that, but I agree with you that it's not reasonable to have that reaction any time it's mentioned.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    No-shit Neo-Nazis will bring it up online to deflect and minimize the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities.

    I don't see how pointing out the plank jutting out of my neighbor's eye makes the plank in mine any smaller, but admittedly I don't see the appeal of arguing in favor of neo-nazi ethics in the first place.

    "Hang the murderers" seems the appropriate response to state genocide regardless of whether the murderer were of the national socialist or garden-variety socialist strain. "I didn't murder as many as he did" is unlikely to provide much of a defense in court.

  • Free Society||

    "I didn't murder as many as he did" is unlikely to provide much of a defense in court.

    That would depend on the court.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Leftards love Stalin and hate Hitler, so mentioning Stalin's mass-murdering rampage is frowned upon in leftard circles.

    -jcr

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    I've seen history professors claim--never in person, thankfully--that Stalin never purged or murdered anyone, and that those who claim otherwise are Khrushchev lackeys who tarnish the image of a great leader.

    Admittedly I haven't devoted more than a few minutes of my life to debunking, but a lot of hardcore communists have the unmistakable scent of loony seven-day creationists about them.

  • Carolynp||

    Even if you look at the Wikipedia info on it, you'll find they suggest that the people killed by Stalin were actually killed by the Western refusal to accept a communist dictator.

  • ||

    Ya.........sure you have. Minimizing Stalin's evil is an asshole, but don't start this unattributed quotes that are just obvious fucking lies bullshit. A history professor has not said that to you...if one had you would state his/her name and when they said that to you. So cut the fucking bullshit.

  • DarrenM||

    Was this really the largest mass murder, or was it just a lot of small mass murders lumped together?

  • ||

    Note who the folks are behind this assignment.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    In the words of the Californian elite, "the people too stupid not to live in LA" (unless it is the other set of CA elite in San Francisco). Or did you mean a bigger umbrella, like the elite in Sacramento who are dominated by SF and LA types?

  • Tim||

    Exceprt from the winning eighth grade presentation:

    "Some people like think that WWII never happened and stuff. Like my great grandfather was there and he knew it did, so I am like totally convinced and, uh. The Nazis had friends who were paid to say it didn't happen and the Japanese, they got in the war and did stuff too. France I think"

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    Also, noted from the winning presentation, the child pronounced WWII as "wuh-wuh-eye-eye"

  • Tim||

    I recently spoke with some public school 8th graders and asked some geography questions. Did you know that Egypt is in west Africa and Israel is in Romania? I didn't.
    There is no hope for this nation now that we've allowed teacher unions to grow fat as our kids spiral into the abyss.

  • Bryan C||

    No, no. That's obviously wah-wah-tenstick-tenstick.

  • SusanM||

    Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship.

    Can't have schools doing that, can we?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If I were going to teach such things, I wouldn't give an assignment for which one side of the discussion relied solely on batshit crazies and racists for material.

  • Virginian||

    If I were going to teach such things, I wouldn't give an assignment for which one side of the discussion relied solely on batshit crazies and racists for material.

    Well originally they were going to go with Romney v. Obama, but obviously asking children to defend He Who Puts Dogs on Roofs was simply beyond the pale.

    So they went with Holocaust denial instead.

  • Babylonandon||

    Would it be any easier defending He Who Had Dogs For Lunch?

  • Sevo||

    "was simply beyond the pale."

    I see what you did there.

  • JoeTheLesser||

    Best Stephen King reference of all time.

  • ||

    Sounds like you are talking about the Republican party...

  • Andrew S.||

    Completely necessary.

    However, given that there is no actual logical argument against the existence of the holocaust, it's really the wrong subject. Hell, an assignment on 9/11 "Truth" would be more defensible than this.

  • UnCivilServant||

    "Did the USS Maine strike a mine or have a boiler explosion?"

  • Sevo||

    "Global Warming: how serious?"
    Never happen.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Shorter Slactivist: Millions of dead from genocide only matter when they useful to me politically:

    ‘Everybody hates a tourist’: On learning to be stupid at Princeton

  • creech||

    In 12th grade we debated "should the US get out of the UN?" My group did the "get out" side and we lost. The other side had the popular chicks with big bosoms. Oh well, 44% of the class chose the brains over the boobs.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Considering how ultimately meaningless a 12th grade debate is, can you blame them?

  • Weygand||

    My junior year we had to do a hypothetical trial of Ghaddafi (which was the spelling at the time). My teacher told me he thought it was interesting but if I wanted to prove I wasn't a bully to volunteer to *defend* Ghaddafi. This was Santa Cruz, but my teacher had been a Marine in the Pacific so that is the last recorded time contrarianism wasn't used as a means to exhibit SocJus stridency. I defended Ghaddafi and had my hands on some chicks knobs that Friday night!!

    /true story...

  • ||

    Imagine being a Jewish student who got assigned the holocaust denial position.

    I'm all in favor of assigning people positions to take for the sake of argument, but it's probably a good idea to at least make sure each side of the argument is plausible and will not make the student a subject of ridicule for taking it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Slavery: Good or bad for America?"

  • Rich||

    "You-Know-Who: Charlatan or Pervert?"

  • ||

    That would actually be a good one. Nonsense topics are always excellent for teaching debate skills.

  • Weygand||

    "Black pussies.....funkier than Latina tang?"

  • ||

    Or this one would be good Weygand: white guys, do women hate them because their dicks are small, or because their brains are shit?

  • Dennis Webb||

    Great comment. What middle school in America would have dared assign that debate?

  • ||

    So where is that video of that LA teacher who says all those vile things about jews?

    oh yeah here it is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMjm4LxFa1c

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Initially, seconds before it turned into a massive public relations disaster, the school district was defending the assignment to The Sun as part of Common Core requirements to teach critical thinking."

    Somebody, somewhere, on some lefty website, even as I type, is writing up a story about how this assignment was actually an elaborate insider conspiracy to trick gullible Republicans into thinking of Common Core as a communist plot.

  • SugarFree||

  • Andrew S.||

    Why did I read those comments? Why? Now I'm going to gouge out my eyes with a rusty spoon. I hope you're happy.

  • OldMexican||

    Thank you for the recon report, Andrew. You're a brave man. You deserve a double ration of ale.

  • wwhorton||

    There's nothing in the Common Core standards about the Holocaust. All Common Core touches is mathematics and English composition and spelling. Any additional idiocy is courtesy of the California State Board of Ed.

    I'm a radical anti-government loon, and I say that only half-jokingly. If there was something sinister in Common Core, I'd be all over that shit, but the worst you can say about it is that it's probably a waste of money.

  • JWatts||

    "All Common Core touches is mathematics and English composition and spelling."

    Nope, not exactly.

    "There are five key components to the standards for English and Language Arts: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language, and Media and Technology."

  • ||

    I think this was a great way to teach students that their teachers and administrators are fucking morons.

    There are a billion other less politically-charged and more well defined debates that could be used to not only teach debate and critical thinking but history, science, art, math, etc. as well. Instead, these teachers decide to hand their students weapons-grade plutonium and turn them loose.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't think you could get an assignment like this from a private school.

    You have to nurture a union employee/bureaucracy mentality, where what teachers do is completely divorced from parental input.

    I've seen private schools fire teachers in the middle of a term because of what the parents wanted.

  • blighter||

    My favorite part of this story is definitely everyone doing their patriotic duty to not notice any relevant details.

    From the linked articles:

    - Rialto Unified's interim superintendent is Mohammad Z. Islam

    - Their district spokeswoman is Syeda Jafri

    That's *so weird* that a Muslim-led school district would *totally accidentally* create a holocaust denial assignment! What're the chances?!

    Just an odd fluke! Good thing it's totally random so we can ignore the otherwise glaringly obvious! And their religion and culture will continue to be completely irrelevant the next time they totally randomly do something unimaginably antisemitic.

  • Scott S.||

    If you really think interim school district superintendents have anything to do with the creation of 8th grade English class assignments--or probably have even seen any of them in advance--I honestly don't know what to tell you.

  • blighter||

    Excellent point.

    This is probably a school district mostly staffed by old-line anglo-saxon protestants which just happens to have a Muslim interim superintendent and spokeswoman. Because that kind of thing happens a lot.

    The idea that the superintendent -- particularly if he is interim and thus almost certainly just grabbed from some other job he already held in the district -- as well as the spokeswoman might reflect the general cultural characteristics of the school district more generally is more of that hateful noticing that we must all do our level best to avoid.

    So, yes, you are absolutely right, Scott, my point was that those two particular people probably did this themselves -- not that they almost certainly reflect the dominant culture of the school district they lead & speak for which is most likely heavily Islamic and thus prone to holocaust denial.

    Good job, Scott. You are a world-champion un-noticer. You could probably get mugged and come away unsure if it was a woman or man who punched you and stole your wallet b/c who can say what defines masculinity in the modern world, amirite?

  • Scott S.||

    [Tilts head to the side and simply stares at you]

  • blighter||

    Good argument, bro. I love your passion.

  • Azathoth!!||

    I'm just curious--why did you leave out the names, Scott?

    Because with them in this looks even more messed up?

  • Square||

    Mr. Islam was only mentioned in the article because he was the only other person who was the subject of death threats.

    Rather than speculating a top-down pro-Muslim propaganda conspiracy, given that the seemingly _only two_ people at the district with Islamic names were the subjects of death threats, maybe the narrative here is not exactly what you're trying to make it be?

  • Ann N||

    If I chose to give a debate topic of 'holocaust denier' it would be to educate ppl about the holocaust.

    if i was hellbent on increasing awareness of black suffering i would relive slavery in movie, art, literature.

    IMO this was most likely proposed by a pro-jew person, with a mindset of assured outcome (its basically guaranteed), and increasing awareness.

    if you hear the story without any such mindset it can sound inflammatory to a (jewish) social justice hypochondriac (sjh).

  • JoeTheLesser||

    I see the Stormfront trolls are out in force today.

  • Calidissident||

    Rialto is a mostly Latino and black town. I'm unaware of a massive Muslim population there, and until you present more evidence than "the interim superintendent and a spokeswoman are apparently Muslim, therefore they're obviously the ones responsible for this", you haven't proven anything.

  • wwhorton||

    My wife taught in several public schools over a ten-year career fraught with stress and despair, and many of my family have or currently teach in public schools. School district superintendents--everyone at the district administration level, really--never step foot inside schools. Those jobs are essentially bureaucratic. The idea of a school district superintendent getting involved in any way with an individual assignment for a single class is analogous to Ray Kroc personally arranging the condiment bar at your local McDonald's.

    The fact that two members of the district administration have Arabic-sounding names does not logically imply that a single classroom assignment was handed down from on high. If you're saying there's a general anti-Semitic vibe in the community, that's fine, but that doesn't have a logical connection to those two people.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Scott,

    There's a lot of obfuscation coming from the school district representatives, for instance:

    The project was designed by district teachers and assigned during the eighth grade's "Diary of Anne Frank" unit, according to district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri.

    Completely meaningless explanation. It explains nothing.

    Rialto Unified has received no complaints regarding the assignment, according to Jafri.

    That doesn't mean anything, either. It's like saying "but she didn't say NO or anything like that or scratched my face, so..."

    Even if the fact that the superintendent's name does not point out to a conspiracy by itself, there's still a lot of bureaucratic double-talk and obfuscation. This whole issue just doesn't pass the smell test.

  • Intn'l House of Badass||

    Syeda Jafri is Christian.

    Thanks for playing, asshole.

  • widget||

    Speaking of debates, here are some 2014 collegiate champions in action.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmO-ziHU_D8

  • Rich||

    You can't fool *me*, widget. That's from The Onion.

  • Virginian||

    literally just spewing gibberish, and daring the judges to not give them the victory on pain of being declared racist.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The video has been taken down.

    Do you have another link to it?

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Scott's link doesn't include the superintendent's name.
    http://ktla.com/2014/05/05/ria.....z30toWr4Qb

    I'm not implying anything [superintendent's usually have better things to do with their time than craft assignments for poor urchins caught in their public school web] ... but it is funny and a little unfortunate.
    Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam

  • Virginian||

    Lol google has a link to a video that says "Thank you to all the teachers of the earth"

  • Pro Libertate||

    All teachers? What about Nazi teachers? Or commie teachers?

  • Marshall Gill||

    All teachers? What about Nazi teachers? Or commie teachers?

    You question is redundant and repetitive.

  • chevy706||

    What is it that these teachers are teaching the earth? I don't know that the earth is capable of learning.

  • ||

    There is something much more fundamentally wrong here than trying to have 8th graders take the side of Holocaust denial.

    The fundamental problem is that 8th graders should not be asked to debate pro and con on objective facts that they themselves cannot observe. The Holocaust either did or did not happen: that is an an objective fact.

    However the only evidence 8th graders have that the Holocaust happened is that reputable adults in the past said it happened. On the other hand, given the research capabilities and available time of 8th graders, those researching that the Holocaust did not happen could in fact also find apparently reputable adults who have said it did not happen.

    Thus we have 8th graders trying to prove a truth by standing up their researched experts against the other side's research experts. This is downright silly and a terrible exercise in learning. Instead eighth graders should debate an opinion or a current controversy: they should not debate an objective fact.

    For example, 8th graders should not debate whether global warming is real: that's an objective fact. 8th graders should instead debate whether government should do something about it: that's an opinion.

  • Protagoronus||

    However the only evidence 8th graders have that the Holocaust happened is that reputable adults in the past said it happened

    There is quite a bit more evidence than just hearsay available to prove the Holocaust happened. John Stuart Mill wrote a lot about how argument is great for everything even when 99.9% of people know/speak the truth. An assignment like this would harden the whole class against the baseless arguments of deniers and allow them to see how more speech leads to terrible ideas being discarded eventually. Instead they have been taught to cover their eyes and speak nothing of the denial.

  • ||

    There is quite a bit more evidence than just hearsay available to prove the Holocaust happened.

    How does an eighth grader get his hands on it?

    Instead they have been taught to cover their eyes and speak nothing of the denial.

    Resolved: Holocaust denial should be illegal. Debate.

  • Protagoronus||

    How does an eighth grader get his hands on it?

    Intertubes

    Resolved: Holocaust denial should be illegal. Debate.

    Yeah, that seems like a better way to frame it for the class. I still think objective facts should be open for debate and analysis. Young earth creationists being smacked down as one example.

  • ||

    Intertubes

    Given these 8th graders' location, I thought you might say the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. But intertubes? That's just some claimed experts propounding purported nonhearsay evidence. To 8th graders with nothing but the intertubes, it is hearsay.

    Young earth creationists being smacked down as one example.

    Yeah, young earth creationists are more fun to laugh at than Holocaust deniers. But imagine if you are the 8th grader who draws the red square and has to debate against his, his entire family's, and his entire social circle's religious beliefs.

    Objective facts that cannot be directly observed by 8th graders should not be debated by 8th graders.

  • Protagoronus||

    Well, photography is not really hearsay. I guess as evidence, it all comes down to someone explaining how/where/when the photography was done and you trusting them. Though that sort of thinking rules all primary evidence as subject to hearsay if you take it down its slippery slope.

  • blcartwright||

    Global warming is an objective fact?

    In 2009 Michael Mann said that warming had continued unabated over the decade (2000-2009). In 2013 he said it had leveled off (taken a pause).

    The high priest of AGW doesn't even know if it's gotten any warmer over the past 15 years.

  • PapayaSF||

    I can see, just barely, a case for making this an assignment in a college class on logic or rhetoric, but not for middle school.

    Decades ago, out of curiosity, I read some Holocaust denial material. Verdict: lots of quibbling over numbers, some of which seemed possibly valid but not valid enough to justify denial, and some absurd acceptance of obvious Nazi propaganda about the conditions in the camps. Overall, not convincing.

    - Rialto Unified's interim superintendent is Mohammad Z. Islam

    - Their district spokeswoman is Syeda Jafri

    That's *so weird* that a Muslim-led school district would *totally accidentally* create a holocaust denial assignment! What're the chances?!

    Indeed.

  • Calidissident||

    Unless the teacher is Muslim, that's not much to go on. As Scott said above, how likely is it that an interim superintendent (let alone a spokeswoman) is determining 8th grade English assignments? Rialto is not even remotely a mostly Muslim area, and two Muslim employees at the school district is hardly proof that this must have been an Islamist plot.

  • PapayaSF||

    I'm not saying it's proof of a plot, just agreeing that it's an interesting "coincidence."

  • wwhorton||

    If you're actually making that argument, you abandon the right to complain any time someone accuses libertarians of being homophobes because they oppose state involvement in marriage. Guilt by association is wrong when you do it, too.

  • PapayaSF||

    It's not "guilt by association." It's noticing an interesting coincidence.

  • Acosmist||

    Noticing things is racist, because feelz. Yes, this is actually, somehow, the libertarian position, and not retard prog.

  • Square||

    Rialto Board of Education:

    Joanne T. Gilbert
    Joseph Ayala
    Joseph W. Martinez
    Edgar Montes
    Nancy G. O'Kelley
    Micah St. Andrew

    Secretaries to the Superintendent:

    Nancy Mann
    Rosie Williams

    Rialto MS Principal: Rhea McIver
    Asst. Principal: Serena Straka

    Roughly 60 faculty members, not a single Arab name.

    The conspiracy runs so deep, they've all changed their names!

  • PapayaSF||

    Thanks for the research.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah, yeah, you're just "throwing it out there"

  • PapayaSF||

    Sorry dude, I will notice interesting coincidences, whether it offends you or not.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This is part of why American kids can't find shit on a globe or know the history of defining world events. Concern trolling in the guise of protecting delicate sensibilities.

  • Ron||

    I know everyone thinks American kids are stupid but just last month I read in Astronomy magazine how a Japanese University polled its incoming students and 33% thought the sun and other planets revolved around the earth. Being stupid has become a world wide problem now and its why so many are gullible into believing all the crap our governments and schools and politicians and actors and enviro groups dish out. I don't know if any of them can think critically anymore.

  • Beezard||

    Having known and argued with actual holocaust deniers it's important to understand that the thing being "denied" are the death camps, that leaves 3+ million killed by Einsatzgruppen death squads. It's the difference between 3.5 million and 5.5 million. That's how dumb the argument really is. On both sides of the argument. Holocaust revisionists aren't denying everything, which of course doesn't really help their "argument" at all. There's still millions being wasted by death squads.

    Now the fact that millions of Christian poles and Slavs died pretty much the same way, for the same reasons that can get you in hot water...

  • Sevo||

    "Now the fact that millions of Christian poles and Slavs died pretty much the same way, for the same reasons that can get you in hot water..."

    Where would that get you in hot water? I know the Turks deny killing the Armenians, but I don't know anyone who denies the Germans and the Russian killed Poles and Slavs by the millions.

  • Beezard||

    In trying to morally equate it with the "holocaust" or to tie the holocaust into the broader subject of Liebensraum. Which is what all the killing had to do with.

    Why do we hear 6 million when its 11?

    Maybe that's changed in the years since I've become bored with all the arguing. Used to get you pounced on by the holocaust singularity crowd. If thats changed, great. No complaints.

  • ||

    Liebensraum

    Lebensraum. Life, not love.

  • blcartwright||

    The killing wasn't all about "living space". Nazism was National Socialism, with an emphasis on "National" - Germany, by and for Germans. Soon after they came to power laws were passed restricting access to the media (newspapers, acting, etc) of those judged to be in Germany but not of Germany - Jews, Communists and Gypsies. So it wasn't the religion of the Jews, it was that they were said to be manipulating or profiting off Germany and Germans for their own, foreign, interests.

  • Calidissident||

    I would say that depends on the denier. I've seen some batshit crazy people online who seriously argue that the entire Holocaust never happened.

    As for the other part, I don't think anyone denies that the Nazis killed other groups than the Jews. There is a controversy, I guess over whether the Holocaust refers specifically to the murder of Jews, or is a more broad term. The Nazis certainly hated the Slavs, and killed many, but they regarded them as better than Jews. They felt that some were Germanizable, and others deserving of deportation and/or enslavement rather than death. The Jews and Gypsies were marked for total annihilation.

  • Beezard||

    I'm talking about David Irving and co. The supposedly real deal revisionists. Their beef is with the death camps and the gassings. The death squad shootings are pretty much irrefutable on any historical basis.

  • Beezard||

    And no, only a relatively few Slavs (modtly western poles) were considered for germanization. 5 million is the figure given for Slavic non combatants killed. That doesnt include millions of russian prisoners of war, who died at rates 10 times that of western sllies. the easyern gront was a race war. Liebensraum gaurenteed a third liquidated, a third pushed east and a third endlaved. Hitler talked about that out in the open way before any secret meetings about the "final solution" of the jewish question. The massacres of Jews occurred for the same reasons. The Aryan colonies to the east wouldn't have them. It started off in the first months just men of fighting age, then mutated into women, children, everybody,

  • Beezard||

    Jesus, my where was my auto correct. Hope you get my point...

  • Beezard||

    Lol. Sorry. Crappy phone. Tiny print.

  • Calidissident||

    We're in agreement. All I'm saying is that, by your own admission, Slavs weren't targeted for total "liquidation" like Jews were.

  • Beezard||

    Why does that matter when equal numbers of them were killed for the same reason?

  • Calidissident||

    We were discussing why some people have different definitions of the word "Holocaust" - I was giving one reason why. I'm not suggesting that the Nazis treatment of Slavs was totally ok or not genocidal.

  • Beezard||

    Germany couldn't "liquidate" the Slavs because there were entirely too many of them in the short years that they had invaded, and they needed them as pack animals.

  • Beezard||

    *'mostly western poles were considered for germanization. (And that didn't help anyone with Polish nationalist sympathies a secondary education during the liquidation of the Polish intelligencia.

    *Eastern front was a race war

  • bassjoe||

    What about something that's actually up for debate today like justifications for Russia's (alleged) actions in Ukraine? Or, I don't know, how about a fun yet educational topic like bitcoin? Jesus.

  • taker||

    Public schools are not and really never were a good idea. Time to move on to something else.

    What do you call 2 million public school teachers lined up on the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

  • Johnimo||

    They could move on to a less controversial subject. I suggest: "Was slavery in the South really all that bad?" That'll get the little kiddies involved, don't you think?

  • Elizabeth Jackson||

    Oh, it is too strong and disputable theme for middle-schoolers. I am not surprised that it has so huge resonance.

  • Libertopian||

    The Holy cost shall not be questioned.

  • sgtipster||

    The Nazis had friends who were paid to say it didn't happen and the Japanese

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