As Intellectual Takeout has reported in the past, American students can be a bit clueless when it comes to historical events, even relatively recent ones like the Holocaust from World War II.
But some teachers are seeking to change that through a new project known as History Unfolded. According to The Washington Post:
“The project, History Unfolded, is an initiative of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which is using crowdsourcing to scour newspapers across the country for articles that ran between 1933 and 1945 on the plight of Europe’s Jews.
As it turns out, there were a lot of them. Since the project was launched in full in February, the museum has received 1,030 submissions from articles published in 46 states and the District. So far, 610 people have signed up, including 32 teachers working on the project with their students.”
The Holocaust Museum’s project promises to not only uncover more material about how much Americans knew and understood what was going on in Europe during World War II, but also to introduce more young people to the reality of history by “engag[ing] a fifth of the nation’s high school history classes – around 240,000 students.”
“‘It helps teach young people that history is not just memorizing facts and dates,’ said Aleisa Fishman, a historian at the museum. “It’s sort of a mystery that you have to solve, and you have to go looking for stuff.”
According to a study released several years ago by the Anti-Defamation League, “half of the people in the world have never heard of the Holocaust.” If such a statistic is true, how much more likely is it that American high schoolers – 88% of which are not proficient in U.S. history – don’t have a clue about it? And if they don’t have a clue, are we indeed destined to repeat such a horrible event in the years ahead?