Authority on Genocide Says the Holocaust Was Warning That Society Can Destroy Its Own Children

One of the nation’s leading authorities on genocide said today that the Nazi death camps have led to a world society which “will not raise a finger to halt” a Holocaust. Dr. Henry Feingold, professor of history at the Groduate Center of New York’s City University and Baruch College, told 200 social scientists assembled at the Hospitality House here to heed the Holocaust as “a last desperate warning that a world which can consume its own children is out of control.”

Feingold was the keynote speaker at the two day National Conference on Teaching About Genocide and the Nazi Holocaust in Secondary Schools sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith’s Center for Studies on the Holocaust in cooperation with the National Council for Social Studies.

In welcoming remarks, Maxwell E. Greenberg, ADL national chairman, said the conference “marks the coming of age of Holocaust education in America’s schools. ” He called such education “a legal, ethical and educational imperative… in a world where cross-burnings and swastika paintings more often than not turn out to be the work of teenagers.”

TWO MAJOR STUDIES

The conference also featured reports on two major studies: a survey of secondary school history texts by Dr. Glenn Pate, assistant professor of secondary education at the University of Arizona, which found that not a single textbook in current use by high schools in the U.S. adequately covers the subject of the Holocaust; and a poll of Christian clergy conducted by Dr. Robert Wunthnow, director of the Program in Science and Human Affairs of the Sociology Department, Princeton University, which revealed a widespread belief that a holocaust is “an ongoing threat to human society” and that Christians may be marked as potential victims.

The 200 participants–educators, administrators, sociologists and human relations specialists from every section of the country–also reviewed problems in developing instruction programs since a previous conference on the Holocaust in 1977, and participated in workshops on new programs, materials, teaching and training methods.

In addition there were showings of films, film slides and other audio visual material, displays of print, art and graphic materials, and an exhibit of German documents relating to the Holocaust.

HOLOCAUST WAS EXTENSION OF INDUSTRIAL SYSTEM

In his address, Feingold said that the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews presented the world with “an alternate solution to the age old problem of living together in a society though we are different. “The final solution, he said, “was an extension of the industrial system, the hallmark of European civilization which permitted it to dominate the world in previous centuries.”

Feingold called the Holocaust “unique” because in applying the most modern techniques “to grind the Jews into ashes, it in fact murdered the most representative of its own children, the most universalistic of universalists, the most European of Europeans, the most Jewish of Jews.”

Continuing, he said: “It was in fact an act of social cannibalism on an unprecedented scale. Hod the Nazi death machine been allowed to continue, entire sections of Europe, especially in the East, would have been depopulated. Europe would literally have consumed itself in flame. The Jews were merely the first and most representative to go up the chimneys of Auschwitz. There were others to follow.”

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