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‘The Holocaust is a place where  … ’: the position of Auschwitz and the camp system in English secondary school students’ understandings of the Holocaust

Pettigrew, A; Karayianni, E; (2021) ‘The Holocaust is a place where  … ’: the position of Auschwitz and the camp system in English secondary school students’ understandings of the Holocaust. Holocaust Studies , 27 (1) pp. 60-76. 10.1080/17504902.2019.1625116. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper presents data drawn from a recent empirical study involving more than 8,000 English secondary school students (aged 11–18) who took part in either a survey or focus group interview. It critically examines the significance of Auschwitz and the wider camp system within young people’s knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust. The paper reflects upon the tension between, on the one hand, academic historians’ requirements of clarity, differentiation and the recognition of both complexity and nuance in making sense of this past, and, on the other, the imprecision, abstraction and/or confusion often associated with, and characteristic of, dominant, Auschwitz-centric narratives of the Holocaust. In doing so, it identifies a number of important yet ostensibly widely shared misinterpretations, mistakes and misconceptions reflected in English school students’ engagement with this history.

Type: Article
Title: ‘The Holocaust is a place where  … ’: the position of Auschwitz and the camp system in English secondary school students’ understandings of the Holocaust
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17504902.2019.1625116
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/17504902.2019.1625116
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Auschwitz; English secondary schools; young people’s knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10076654
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