Teacher demonstrates Nazi 'selection' by lining up fair children
Third-grade teacher at a Haifa school sparks controversy after separating dark and fair-haired students in class, and telling the fair children they would not have been murdered in the Holocaust because they "don't resemble Jews, look more like Germans."
When a third-grade student came home from school and asked her grandmother, "Don't I look Jewish-" the woman immediately understood that her granddaughter had learned a problematic lesson at school.
Several days ago, a teacher in a Haifa school wanted to teach students about the selections Nazis carried out during the Holocaust. She lined up students near the blackboard and separated those with light and dark hair.
According to a horrified letter sent by parents to the Education Ministry, the teacher told the class that the Nazis would kill Jews (represented by the dark-haired students) but the light-haired children would have been spared "because they don't resemble Jews, but look more like Germans."
"The children chosen to stand near the blackboard were children from Jewish families whose relatives were killed in the Holocaust," the parents wrote. "All the differences the teacher pointed to were wrong from an ethical, educational and historical point of view."
"Most of my family was killed in the Holocaust," Irena Gerem, the mother of one of the students, said on Wednesday. "So was most of my husband's family. I personally came to Israel at the age of 14 and experienced a lot of racism. I was certain that our children, who grew up here, would not experience such things."
Immigration Absorption Minister Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beytenu) has asked Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) to intervene and consider taking harsh measures against the teacher. "It's hard to believe that an educated person who teaches children allows herself to equate light complexions with the Aryan race and give the children an emotional scar," she said.
The Education Ministry issued a statement Wednesday, saying, "Following the event, school district superintendent Rahel Matoki spoke with the teacher and told her that there was no place for such behavior anywhere, especially in the education system."
"The described activity has no place in the education process, especially pertaining to the Holocaust," said a statement issued by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
On Wednesday, a meeting was held between the parents and the teacher, who apologized for her actions. The meeting ended on a positive note, and parents asked the school principal not to fire the teacher.
The school in Haifa where the incident took place.. Photo credit: Herzi Shapira