Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sarkozy's Holocaust remembrance plan scrapped


Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal to get 10-year-olds to "adopt" French Jewish Holocaust victims and learn of their suffering has been scrapped.
The French President suggested in February that children should be "entrusted with the memory" of one of the 11,000 French Jewish children who died, learning about the selected child's background and fate.

"If you do not talk to them of this tragedy, then you should not be surprised if it repeats itself. It is ignorance that prompts the repetition of abominable situations, not knowledge. Make our children into children with open eyes," Mr Sarkozy said at the time.

However, politicians, psychologists, teachers and parents were outraged, saying that 10-year-olds did not have the emotional maturity to cope.

Health Minister Simone Veil, herself a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, said the plan "chilled my blood".

"We can't inflict this on 10-year-old children. We can't ask a child to identify with a dead child. The weight of this memory is much too heavy to bear."

Psychiatrist Serge Hefez said that adults should not "impose ghosts" on children.

A commission set up to follow through the idea all but abandoned it, saying an individual "emotional" approach should be avoided, with emphasis on "life" rather than death. (Source)

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