Brooklyn students complete yearlong class on Holocaust literacy
Students at the Brooklyn Amity School have completed a yearlong class on Holocaust literacy.
This pilot program at the Muslim-based private institution included learning what experiences were like in those times from the lenses of a survivor, what times were like before, during and after the Holocaust and theories on how to prevent another genocide from happening.
Students who completed the class were able to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. Those who attended described this trip to News 12 as a memorable and unforgettable experience.
"This was very informational because in history class we only learn about the bad stuff and what happened throughout the Holocaust but not why the Holocaust happened,” said Lucas Svirsky, a senior at Amity. “I already knew most of the things because I was Jewish, but I didn’t realize why the Jewish were scapegoats to begin with."
A recent study shows that there has been a lack of Holocaust literacy in the United States. 63% did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered and 36% thought that ‘2 million or fewer Jews’ were killed during the Holocaust. There were also more than 40,000 camps and ghettos in Europe during those times and 48% of respondents couldn't name a single one.
Mehnaz Afridi, a professor at Manhattan College teaches courses in contemporary Islam and Holocaust studies partnered with the Blue Card -- a nonprofit organization -- dedicated to providing financial assistance to Holocaust survivors who live in the U.S. to develop this curriculum.
"It came out to a success,” he said. “It was very interesting to see what goes on in these younger students minds and what they had to think and feel about this."