1 year ago




HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE 54 Boy A: “I think Poland isn’t a very tolerant country, but in my opinion it is good. If Polish people are more tolerant, many people from Turkey and many Roma people will come to Poland. It’s not good because many of them are thieves, burglars and stuff like that. Look at Germany. Soon there will be more Turkish than German people. My cousin lives there and two months ago two Turks stole his iPhone. So, in my opinion, we don’t need them in Poland.” Boy B: “I’m not racist, in fact I am a pacifist. Everyone who is a well-behaved person can be my brother and sister. But I think that Roma are not a well-behaving nation. Stereotypes, which are not good, say that Gypsies are thieves and they are dirty and smell bad. Maybe it’s not true. But all the Roma I have ever seen were begging for money.” Boy C: “The problem of Sinti is not of their origin or colour of skin, or even not the language. They are just poor and the poverty is the biggest problem. It is always difficult to help poor people. In this case it is even more difficult because of the culture barrier. The laziest solution is to make them go away, which is not good in my opinion. It is just not right, and history proves that we shouldn’t accept any examples of intolerance. We have to show more action, then we will feel the reaction.” Girl D: “In the class we were talking about Roma people. There are many stereotypes about them. It didn’t help even if we couldn’t recognise Roma in the photos. Everybody was still talking about negative things and how other people are different from us. I think we should look for similarities and be more tolerant.” Apart from concluding that stereotypes and discrimination needed to be addressed in lessons, the teacher stressed how important it was to empower those students who speak out against the stereotypes. These students were aged 16-17 and at a school with a good reputation. Many would go to university. As the teacher said: “Most of them have educated parents. They know the definitions of terms such as stereotype, prejudice and discrimination.” The student who flagged up not being able to “recognise” Roma in the photos pinpoints the limitations of using historical sources to counter prejudice. To work with the prejudices students have, educators need time, determination and specific skills, and they need to be trained in methods that open up minds. This is a major challenge in education: can we equip educators with the skills and working environment (colleagues and school administration) conducive to this? In the meantime, working to empower peers and to introduce peer education can make a difference.

Conclusions This article is based on my own observations and exchanges with Roma and non-Roma involved in educational projects. To gain more substantiated insight into how learners and educators respond to projects about the genocide of Roma and Sinti, more thorough study – on both sides of the Atlantic – is necessary. This might be participatory or research-led, but both need careful planning and execution. A unique study is already underway at the Bavarian State Centre for Civic Education and the Department of Sociology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. In April 2015, a research project was launched into the use and resonance of the teaching materials The Fate of European Roma and Sinti During the Holocaust. The aim is to gain insight in how the topic is taught and learned. The study will also look at whether different types of knowledge about Sinti and Roma play a role in school settings. Experiences with the online teaching material will be analysed and discussed through guided interviews with teachers and students. The results, due to be published in 2017, are expected to give important input for further development of the education in this field. 25 It is hoped that other projects will also be evaluated in this way and that international exchange on the outcomes will be used to inform both NGOs and educational authorities. The Dutch student struggling to understand who the Roma are wanted to be able to see “them” as a homogenous group. The writer Markus End argues that we should focus on this mechanism in “majority” or mainstream society to understand anti-Roma discrimination. “The process involves not only the construction of the out-group, such as the ‘other’ or Gypsies, but purports an equally homogenized picture of the in-group.” 26 55 HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE 25 Robert Sigel is a member of the German delegation to the IHRA, a history teacher also working for the Bavarian Ministry of Education and the Bavarian State Centre for Civic Education. He has presented the teaching materials to many German audiences including students, teachers, police officers and policy-makers. Holger Knothe, Robert Sigel Der Genozid an den europäischen Roma und Sinti als Thema schulischen Unterrichts. Eine qualitative Studie. Bayerische Landeszentrale für politische Bildungsarbeit, Themenheft2/2017, München 2017 26 Markus End (2014), Antiziganism as a Structure of Meanings: The Racial Antiziganism of an Austrian Nazi. 77-93. In Temofey Agarin (ed.), 2014 When Stereotype meets prejudice. Antiziganism in European Societies

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