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>> Overview Explaining the Second World War and the Holocaust in an appropriate way


What German children know about the Second World War (2018)

Research in history pedagogy shows convincingly that children come into contact with clues and fragments of history and the topic Second World War from a very young age. Qualitative surveys have shown clearly that children possess islands of knowledge, e.g. about concentration camps, which they integrate into their worldview. But up until now, we have not known the level of knowledge or ignorance children in Germany possess or understood how this develops with age. In order to close this gap in the research in the context of the research topic “Explaining the Second World War and the Holocaust appropriately to children” the IZI carried out a representative study. It questioned n=840 German children between the ages of 6 and 13 on their knowledge of the topic of the Second World War and persecution during the National Socialist Period.

Approximately every second German primary school child has already heard of the world wars, but this does not mean that they know how the war ended or how to locate it chronologically. The majority know the name Adolf Hitler, and the name has potentially negative connotations, but only some of the children know about the persecution of particular ethnic groups during the Second World War. Primary school children in particular can be regarded as vulnerable to anti-Semitic and antiziganistic statements because they are not certain about the basic concepts of racist/ethnic persecution. Even year 8 pupils (aged 12 to 13) often do not know about the persecution of Roma.

Götz, Maya: What German children know about the Second World War. TelevIZIon, (32/2019/E), 30-32.