Childrens Literature and the Holocaust Essay

Childrens Literature and the Holocaust Essay

Length: 2091 words (6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Children’s Literature and the Holocaust

     During the 1940’s Jewish Europeans experienced an unthinkable and atrocious collective trauma. In her work “Survivor-Parents and Their Children” taken from the anthology Generations of the Holocaust, Judith S. Kestenberg has argued that regardless of location, the effects of the Holocaust are felt on survivors parenting. The children of survivors receive a secondary traumatic impact by being forced to deal with the impact the Holocaust had directly on their parents. The novel Briar Rose by Jane Yolen is an example of a Holocaust survivor sharing her experiences through a fictionalized tale made for young adults. Some may believe that a traditional, educationally focused history source or a first hand account from a survivor is the best way to inform children about the Holocaust. It has been discovered through research of survivors and their families that first hand accounts passed down from parent to child are traumatizing. However, history books are ineffective because people are turned into statistics, thereby trivializing the terror of the Holocaust. This essay argues that a fictional style of storytelling or literature is the best way to inform children and adolescents about the Holocaust. Witnessing is important, however, there is no educational value in traumatizing children; it is better to use literature that explains the Holocaust at a level children and young adults can handle.
          Milton Meltzer, author of Never forget: The Jews of the Holocaust discusses the importance of witnessing: “To forget what we know would not be human. To remember (it) is to think of what being human means. . . Indifference is the greatest sin. . . . It can be as powerful as an action. Not to do something against evil is to participate in the evil” (Sherman 173). Meltzer gives the straightforward conclusion that people must be educated about the Holocaust because to remain silent about it is just as bad as playing a role in persecuting Jews. This conclusion also gives the rationale for teaching children about the Holocaust. But more specifically, why else may witnessing be important and what are the drawbacks of witnessing?
     Despite the logic and seemingly usefulness of witnessing, it can be a traumatic experience fo...

... middle of paper ...

...sues at a level young adults can relate to, the characters, although emotionally provoking, are distanced enough that the young readers are not traumatized.
Works Cited

Eskenazi, Joe. “Historian’s WWII Book Sanitizes History for Youth.” Jewish Bulletin. 105.50       (2001).

Hirsch, Marianne. "Projected Memory: Holocaust photographs in Personal and Public Fantasy"

Machet, M.P. “Authenticity in Holocaust Literature For Children.” South African Journal of Library & Information Science. 66.3 (1998): 114-22.

Sherman, Ursula F. “Why Would A Child Want To Read About That? The Holocaust Period in Children’s Literature.” How Much Truth Do We Tell the Children?. Ed. Betty Bacon. Minneapolis: MEP Publications, 1988. 173-184.

Walter, Virginia A., and Susan F. March. “Juvenile Picture Books About the Holocaust: Extending the Definitions of Children’s Literature.” Publishing Research Quarterly. 9.3 (1993): 36-52.

Generations of the Holocaust. Ed. Martin S. Bergmann and Milton E. Jucovy. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1982.

“The Holocaust In Fiction; Naming The Unnamable; Morality In Literature.” Chronicle of Higher Education. 48.19 (2002)

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust in Literature Essay

- The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust in Literature Writers often use literature as a means of communicating traumatic events that occur in history, and such events are recorded by first-hand accounts as well as remembered by people far removed from the situation. Two traumatic events in history that are readily found in literature are The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust. A literary medium that has been used quite poignantly to convey trauma is poetry and the poetry from these two historical traumatic events is not difficult to find....   [tags: Literature Holocaust Potato Famine]

Powerful Essays
5650 words (16.1 pages)

Essay on Children and Morality during the Holocaust

- During World War II and the Holocaust, morality collapsed. It was no longer easy to differentiate between what was good and what was evil. With a world filled with starvation, dehumanization, and dictatorship, Jewish children had a rough life. They were not free to run away and play; instead they were either in hiding or a camp. The three sources that will be analyzed in this essay demonstrate how the Jews and Gentiles risked their lives to help save innocent Jewish children. One Jew who risked his life helping orphans was Yanush Korczak....   [tags: Holocaust, children, World War II,]

Powerful Essays
1412 words (4 pages)

Childhood Shyness and Childrens Literature Essay

- Childhood Shyness and Childrens Literature Understanding the Distress of Children Who Suffer from Shyness Almost everyone has felt shy at some point in his or her life. Feeling uncomfortable or anxious in a new social setting is not uncommon or something to be overly concerned about; however, there are many people whose lives suffer because of their shyness. Shyness can have many harmful effects on a person’s emotional and social well being (Bruch, 1999). Even though research on shyness has mainly focused on adults, shyness can be just as difficult, if not more difficult, for children....   [tags: Teaching Education]

Powerful Essays
3158 words (9 pages)

Female Holocaust Experiences Essay

- The Holocaust continues to exist as a black mark in the history of Germany; through the government supported torture and extermination of both men and women, more than 6 million lost their lives. As a consequence of the collective tragedy for both sexes, there has been much debate pertaining to the focus of gender specific suffering in Holocaust literature; for this reason, the Holocaust accounts of women writers were largely ignored prior to the 1970’s. Many historians still refute disparities existed between the male and female experience....   [tags: Holocaust ]

Powerful Essays
2263 words (6.5 pages)

Gender Roles In Childrens Literature Essay

- Gender Bias in Literature I have thought about many different ways to organize this paper and have come to the conclusion that the best way to approach the topic is on a book-by-book basis. My perceptions of the gender biases in these books vary greatly and I did not want to begin altering my views on each so that they would fit into certain contrived connections. What interests me most in these stories is how the authors utilize certain character’s within their given environment. Their instincts and reactions are a wonderful window into how the authors perceive these “people” would interact with their surroundings and often are either rewarded or punished by the author through consequ...   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Powerful Essays
2191 words (6.3 pages)

Does Violence Have A Place? Children 's Literature? Essay

- Is exposing young children to violence in literature beneficial to their development. The article, “Does Violence Have a Place in Children’s Literature?”, by Megan Creasey delivers insight on how violence placed in children 's stories can be beneficial to their development. Creasey appeals to logic by providing statistics on why violence in literature can be a good thing. However, the article was lacking in diversity of point of views. Sources used by Creasey, compiled a clear image on the pros of violence in literature but, not on the cons....   [tags: Children's literature, Fiction, Literature]

Powerful Essays
744 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Holocaust : A Holocaust

- The Holocaust has been known in history for many years, many people have heard its occurrence and the death rate it left around the world. The Holocaust was known as a time of racism, violence, and discrimination, where many Jews died during the time approximately 6 million by German Nazi. The word Holocaust was discovered by the Greeks in ancient times it meant to describe sacrifice offerings to their Gods. The Holocaust in the time divided the lives of Jews into three periods: before, during and after it....   [tags: Nazi Germany, World War II, The Holocaust]

Powerful Essays
1231 words (3.5 pages)

The Holocaust Essay

- When I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I was sickened to learn of horrifying Nazi activities intended to improve the Aryan race and to learn about the human body.� While many people are aware that the Nazis had these goals, most are uninformed of the means used to reach them.� I was also ignorant of the extent of their attempts to establish themselves as ideal specimens of the human race.� They used many unforgivable methods to accomplish these aims, some of which were revealed to me during my visit to the museum....   [tags: Holocaust Essays, The Nazis]

Free Essays
672 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about Children's Literature Discussion

- Children's Literature Discussion "The history that makes us wish fairy tales did happen, that life were like a children's book and we all lived happily ever after, is not an easy history to read or write. If we persist in thinking that children need hope and happy endings then the stories we give them about the Holocaust will be shaped by those expectations… For there are those who would tell us yet another fairy tale, one in which the mass murder of millions of people did not happen I know that it did, and I know that we need to find ways to tell children." (Kertzer, 1999, p.253) Children's literature continues to inspire both children and adults, and more recently while doing so, has...   [tags: Children Child Literature Essays History]

Powerful Essays
2892 words (8.3 pages)

The Holocaust Essay

- The Holocaust The Holocaust, what is the true depth of the word. As sad as it may seem, it affected the lives of millions because of the hate inside of one certain group of people, the Nazi’s. Dehumanization is to deprive human qualities such as individuality or compassion. Victims of the Holocaust went through dehumanization simply to make the killing of others psychologically easy for the Nazi’s.      Many victims of the Holocaust suffered from various experiments which eventually led to the death....   [tags: Jewsish Holocaust Hitler Dehumanization Essays]

Powerful Essays
813 words (2.3 pages)