Why Should I Care? Lessons from the Holocaust

Jeanette Fried­man and David Gold
  • Review
By – September 9, 2011
Why Should I Care is a won­der­ful resource for a school library or teach­ing aid for an instruc­tor teach­ing chil­dren ages 10 and old­er about the Holo­caust. As its title sug­gests, it tack­les dif­fi­cult sub­jects like the banal ity of evil, the dan­ger of words, the choic­es peo­ple make, their fail­ure to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for those choic­es, and the lure of the dark side. Fried­man and Gold use exam­ples from the Holo­caust through­out the book, cit­ing indi­vid­u­als who made a dif­fer­ence and the expe­ri­ences of Jews who sur­vived. But they also dis­cuss oth­er geno­cides in recent his­to­ry, draw­ing par­al­lels to illus­trate the fact that oth­ers have engaged in mass mur­der even in our life­times. They do this to show that evil and mur­der can occur even in com­mu­ni­ties that con­sid­er them­selves edu­cat­ed and enlight­ened. Fried­man and Gold go on to sug­gest ways in which read­ers can make a dif­fer­ence, polit­i­cal­ly, and social­ly — by edu­cat­ing them­selves on what is real­ly going on and not accept­ing the ver­sions of the mass media with­out ques­tion­ing, by using their pow­er to vote and by exer­cis­ing choice. We are the pub­lic,” the authors write. By work­ing togeth­er we can cre­ate a pow­er­ful force. We can use that pow­er to con­trol what our lead­ers do.” The book is pep­pered with rel­e­vant quo­ta­tions from oth­er authors, writ­ers, and thinkers, but one by Yehu­da Bauer stands out as the rai­son d’etre for the cre­ation of Why Should I Care. Events hap­pen because they are pos­si­ble,” Bauer writes. If they were pos­si­ble once, they are pos­si­ble again. In that sense, the Holo­caust is not unique, but a warn­ing for the future.” Fried­man and Gold take that warn­ing seri­ous­ly, and have writ­ten Why Should I Care to inform stu­dents exact­ly why this sub­ject is extreme­ly rel­e­vant to them and how the warn­ings of the Holo­caust can effect their lives and their per­spec­tives even today. This is a high­ly rec­om­mend­ed resource for teach­ers of the sub­ject and all libraries.
Lau­ren Kramer is a Van­cou­ver-based jour­nal­ist, wife, and moth­er with a life­long pas­sion for lit­er­a­ture. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she has won awards for her writ­ing and report­ed from many cor­ners of the world. Read more of her work at www​.lau​renkramer​.net.

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