Balls backs pri­mary age Shoah ed­u­ca­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community Life - BY CRAIG SIL­VER

A HOLO­CAUST sur­vivor has told Chil­dren, Schools and Fam­i­lies Sec­re­tary Ed Balls of the im­por­tance of ed­u­cat­ing pri­mary pupils against an­tisemitism.

Joanna Mil­lan met Mr Balls at the UK Holo­caust Cen­tre in Not­ting­hamshire last Fri­day where the min­is­ter was sup- port­ing a forth­com­ing Holo­caust ex­hi­bi­tion, The Jour­ney, aimed at pri­ma­ryage chil­dren.

Mrs Mil­lan was born Belo Rosen­thal and was brought to Eng­land in 1945 af­ter sur­viv­ing the There­sien­stadt con­cen­tra­tion camp in Cze­choslo­vakia. Her mother died in There­sien­stadt and her grand­fa­ther was killed in Auschwitz.

For many years, she has re­counted her Holo­caust ex­pe­ri­ences to young au­di­ences.

She told the JC that she had em­pha­sised to Mr Balls that “an­tisemitism and racism does start at an early age, es­pe­cially with pri­mary school chil­dren. The chil­dren I talk to are al­ways very in­ter­ested in what I have to say and ask a lot of ques­tions, which is im­por­tant”.

The min­is­ter be­lieved “this ex­hi­bi­tion will be hugely ben­e­fi­cial to help young chil­dren learn about the his­tory of the Holo­caust in an ap­pro­pri­ate way. But it’s not just about ab­sorb­ing in­for­ma­tion — it will also give them a chance to ques­tion val­ues, be­hav­iours and at­ti­tudes and as such will be an in­vest­ment in the fu­ture co­he­sion of our schools and com­mu­ni­ties.”

Holo­caust Cen­tre di­rec­tor Dr Stephen Smith stressed: “We will not be telling 10-year-olds about mass ex­e­cu­tion and gas cham­bers. In­stead we will take them on a jour­ney through his­tory, ex­plor­ing iden­tity and dis­cussing the val­ues of the world we share.”

Backed by the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Jewish Refugees, The Jour­ney is due to open in Septem­ber.

Ed Balls with Joanna Mil­lan and pupils from Lode Heath School, Soli­hull

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