Lipstadt: Jews need factual ‘ammunition’ to combat anti-Semitism

In other words, we Jews need to learn our Jewish history, and teach our children our Jewish history.

When asked by The Times of Israel if she thought Holocaust education in the US was equipped to deal with denial and distortion, Lipstadt responded in the negative.

“My sense is that much of [Holocaust] education is simplistic,” said Lipstadt. “I think there are a lot of references to ‘the Shoah.’ Leaders mention it or use code words, e.g., ‘the 6 million,’ but there is too little real learning about how it evolved, the pressures faced by Jews, the true nature of the horror, the vise with no escape, etc.”

At Emory University, Lipstadt has long taught a course on Holocaust history. According to the professor, even those of her students with “intensive Jewish educational backgrounds” are “flabbergasted by that they learn,” she said.

“They have heard a lot but learned little,” said Lipstadt. “Remember, the person teaching about it in day school or Hebrew School is probably not a historian and not really equipped to take them past [a certain] point,” she told The Times of Israel.

According to Lipstadt, “facile” understandings of the Holocaust can be detected — for example — among people who believe that German Jews “sat idly by while the slaughter unfolded. They did not. They desperately tried to find ways to get out,” said Lipstadt.

Of course, there's much more to Jewish history than the Holocaust. But Lipstadt's book might be a good place to start if you're concerned, as we all should be, about what's going on today.