Manitoba children should know about the Holocaust more, Regine Frankel said

Manitoba children should know about the Holocaust more, Regine Frankel said, Iryna Chyrkova

The woman from Winnipeg who survived the Holocaust is worried that the modern generation knows nothing about that terrible period.

Regine Frankel was hiding in France with her family during the Second World War. She still remembers the fear that she had at that time, because at any moment they could be found and killed and she did not know whether she would live the next day or not.

For several decades Regine has come to schools in Winnipeg and shares her story. However, the last time the woman was very upset because a group of schoolchildren with whom she communicated knew practically nothing about the Holocaust.

"There was one class who knew nothing. That was very disturbing, because the Holocaust is not something that was in the past. It's something that you have to learn, so that it doesn't repeat itself."

Regine also said that every year children know less and less history. They know practically nothing about the events of the Second World War, except for the main dates and the outcome of the war.

Belle Jarniewski, the executive director of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, explained that she often leads various discussions with children and students and the main problem is that they learn information about the Holocaust in Grade 6, but they are too small to understand the whole tragedy of the event.

The woman believes that it is necessary to include more information about the Holocaust in education and to return to this topic when the children grow up and are able to realize all the realities that occurred in those times.

"Canada had the worst record of any country in accepting Jews who were fleeing Nazi persecution," she said. "No one knows the story about the St. Louis, a boat that was not allowed into Canada that carried over 900 [refugee] Jews."

She added: "Unless we know our own history ... I think it makes us less understanding and aware of the refugee situation today. It teaches students what happens what happened with an abuse of power. Particularly today, when we see the rise of populism, of nationalism, of white supremacy. This is the prime example of the importance of countering that."

The curator of Holocaust and genocide content at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Jeremy Maron, also believes that it is necessary to raise awareness of the modern generation in Canada.

"The Holocaust really shows that when human rights and human dignity are not recognized and not respected, the slope can become very slippery," he said.

Regine Frankel will continue telling her story.

“It's very painful. But it's necessary. And I just hope it has just some effect. Even if we reach just a few of them."

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