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Re: Curriculum question "Facing History and Ourselves"

I'm curious - on wht basis do you consider Sprtizler's work to be
"excellent"? Do you a predetermined position on the issue that he
happens to reinforce? Do you reflexively assume certain position becaue
of a predetermined political philosophy? Even from the passages you
offer in your post to Karen, I'm perplexed. Antisemitism became quite
widespread in Gremanic countries after the 1890's, strating with a mayor
of Vienna, who used it as a polticila tool well before Hitler and his
minions did. As for the roots of German antisemitism, one need look no
further than the founder ofthe refomred church, one martin Luthor, who
became quite vitriolic in his expression towards Jews.

If one looks at the classic German passion plays, they were, for
decades, even before Hitler, notorious for their antisemitism,
particular the most famous, that at Obergammerau (soory if this late at
night I've buthered the German name) - it was only circa the 1970's
that they finally changed the text of that play.

To imply the the vast majority of German working class was not
antisemitic is simply ahistorical. They may not have been vitorilic,
and deliberate, as was the author of Mein Kampf, but it was an essential
part of much opf Germanic culture, even as it liekwise of much of French
culture, where one even encoutners it in an otherwise wonderful book,
Diary of a Country Priest, by Geroges Bernanos.

Methinks there is one expression that helps explain Sprtizler's intent:
"because it helps discredit the central idea of democracy -- that
ordinary people are fit to rule society."

Sorry, I don't buy into that conspiracy theory. It doesn't matter
whether one is arguing from the right about black UN helicopters or from
the left about the foundations and the mason and whatever else you
presume is supressing everyone else. If you go ar enough out, you will
meet the other half of the lunatic fringe coming around the circle to
meet you. If this is an example of the thought processes, then I think
Victor may have actually gotten it right.

Ken Bernstein

Dave Stratman wrote:

> Hi, Karen--
> Rick was good enough to give you the url for John Spritzler's
> excellent two part article on Facing History and Ourselves. Here are
> the first two paragraphs of John's piece, to give you a sense of what
> it's about:
> "A popular course for middle and high school students about the
> Holocaust gives a false account of antisemitism and related events in
> Nazi-era Germany carefully designed to drive home the lesson that most
> people are prone to bigotry and are a dangerous force. The course,
> called "Facing History and Ourselves" (FHAO), is funded by liberal
> foundations and corporations (and in the past, grants from the U.S.
> Department of Education) and wealthy individuals. It reaches one
> million students a year in schools across the country. Foundations and
> corporate leaders support "Facing History and Ourselves" because it
> helps discredit the central idea of democracy -- that ordinary people
> are fit to rule society.
> "FHAO's main resource book, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust
> and Human Behavior, is a 576-page collection of short readings and
> questions carefully selected to convey a negative view of people by
> lying about the facts. Contrary to the views promoted by FHAO, the
> true facts about Germany during the Holocaust show that 1) working
> class Germans fought the Nazis; 2) antisemitism did not come from
> ordinary people; and 3) anti-semitism was a weapon used by Germany's
> industrial and aristocratic elite to attack not only the Jewish
> minority but the entire working class."
> http://www.newdemocracyworld.org/facing.htm
> http://www.newdemocracyworld.org/facing2.htm
> Dave Stratman
> Editor, New Democracy
> www.newdemocracyworld.org
> 5 Burr Street
> Boston, MA 02130
> 617-524-4073