A French Holocaust survivor and former European Parliament president slammed Nicolas Sarkozy’s new Holocaust education proposal.
Simone Veil told the French magazine L’Express that “her blood turned to ice” in response to the French president’s initiative to pair every fifth grader with the profile of a child killed by the Nazis. Sarkozy announced his new idea in a speech last week to the CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewry, and Sarkozy has been castigated since in the French press.
“It’s unimaginable, unbearable, dramatic, and above all, unjust. We cannot inflict this on little 10-year-olds. We cannot ask a child to identify himself with a dead child.This remembrance is far too heavy to carry,” said the onetime Auschwitz deportee. “Even us, former deportees, have had a lot of difficulty after the war, to talk about what we experienced.”
Last Friday, during a conference on education in the Perigord region of France, Sarkozy defended his proposal to pair up every 10- to 11-year-old in the country with the detailed story of a child killed during the Holocaust, saying it would teach children not “to redo the same errors that others did.”
In response to criticism that such a program would be too emotionally disturbing, Sarkozy said, “We don’t traumatize children by giving them the present of a country’s memory.”