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Argentinians Hope
for Tolerance

The following responses were sent to the <iearn.hgp>
teleconference (newsgroup) by teacher Rosy Aquila.

[ Map of Argentina ]

These are the questions:

  1. What did you know about the Holocaust before you became involved with the Holocaust/Genocide Project?
  2. What have you learned? Mention some of the facts.
  3. What will you do with this knowledge?
  4. Do you think or feel it is important for you and young people in Argentina to learn about the Holocaust? Why or why not?
  5. Has reading and learning about the Holocaust made you reflect on your own life and the difficulties you sometimes face, as well as the privileges you have?

Our Responses

Analia: Before we started with this, I didn't know absolutely anything about the Holocaust, and when I realized what the topic was about, I became upset with myself for not having known anything about such an important fact in human history.

Mirna: I know what my parents told me, and the experiences that one of my neighbors had. This family was a Jewish family, and the grandfather was a survivor of the Holocaust. So, as I was a child, my parents told me about "that war" because I didn't understand so well what a Jew was.

Analia: I've read some interesting stories (personal ones) about the period of the Holocaust. Maye we found some reasons that the Nazis had for killing the Jews. But actually we are not absolutely sure why it happened to the Jews.

Mirna: With all the things that I have seen in the <iearn.hgp> conference and the films that I watched, I have learned more, especially with personal experiences of the people who survived the war and who were able to tell us their stories.

Analia: I'll try to enlarge it; in order to have a good personal opinion about the Holocaust, you must be able to support it with real facts.

Mirna: I that I will do the same as my parents did. I'll tell my friends and my children about this terrible thing that should be present all the time in our minds.

Analia: I think it is really important, not only for the importance that the Holocaust has as a historical event, but also because all the information about it would increase the knowledge of "general culture" by Argentinean youth.

Mirna: We can't allow people to do those things, kill because of religion, or just because. We are not God to decide who deserves to live or who doesn't. Everybody, no only in Argentina, should know about the Holocaust because it could happen to us or our family or friends, and if it happens some day, we have to be prepared to fight, to make peace between brothers, because all of us are brothers -- black people, white people, Catholics, and so on.

Analia: I think that reading about all these terrible events that the Jews had to go through made me thing of how pacific, quiet, and full of privileges my life is. I would dare to say that my life is an "easy" one, compared with the Jews' lives.

Mirna: Sometimes I think that I am a bad girl because I want more things than what I have, or sometimes I'm not happy because of a silly thing. And if I think of what happened in the Holocaust, I should be happy that I am alive and that nothing like that happened to me or to someone that I love.

I knew that "Holocaust" is the name given to the loss of many lives, especially the killing of many people for political or racial reasons. After World War I, Germany was economically broken and the crisis of the country was increasing. Everybody was afraid of this situation, and they blamed capitalism for the crisis.

Nazis took advantage of this situation and they made people believe (through propaganda) that the German people were a superior race and that Jews were the representative of capitalism. They did not only pursue and kill Jews, but also anarchists, Communists, Gypsies, and Germans who did not share their ideology.

I knew that they also killed people with mental illnesses and disabled people, because they thought that these people deformed their race. I think Nazis were mainly racists and that they had to do with fascism.

Fascism is a political system in which all industrial activity is controlled by the state. No political opposition is allowed, and military strength is approved of. Support of one's own nation and race is strongly encouraged,and socialism is violently opposed (definition taken from the dictionary).

I think that young people in Argentina have to learn about this, but they must also learn about all kinds of killing performed against any human being in our country or in the world, and the reasons behind the killing.

I usually refer to the word "Nazi" when I want to say that a person discriminates against somebody. I know that you study the Holocaust in more detail than we do, so I would be very interested in hearing what you think about my opinions. Thank you very much!

- Silvia Baca

We are students from Argentina and we have been discussing the Holocaust for about a month. Here are our responses to some questions.

  1. What did you know about the Holocaust?
What we knew about the Holocaust was that Hitler killed the Jews because he wanted to make a perfect race, and we also knew something about how the Jews were persecuted and killed, that poor people were separated from their families -- mothers from their children -- and their homes destroyed. Most of the things we know we learned from the movies.
  1. What have you learned? Mention some of the facts.
What we have learned is that the Nazis stole the Jews' money, and it was never recovered. We have also learned how they were persecuted and killed and something about personal experiences of everyday life.
  1. What will you do with this knowledge?
What we will do with this knowledge is to keep it in mind and share what we know with other people so that the story does not repeat.
  1. Do you think or feel that it is important for you and young people in Argentina to learn about the Holocaust? Why or why not?
Yes, that is very important forums because here in Argentina something similar happened with the military government during the 1970s. Many innocent people died or disappeared, especially students and young people, during this period. Many families are still looking for their children.
  1. Has reading and learning about the Holocaust made you reflect on your own life and the difficulties you sometimes face, as well as the privileges you have?
Reading about the Holocaust made us think that sometimes we complain about silly things, not very important, while the Jews and other people have suffered a lot.

- Romina Merayo, Valeria Jones, Stella Marin, and Bibiana Yoset

Before we started talking about this, I didn't know anything. I just knew that the Holocaust had something to do with the Jews, that they were killed by Nazis. I was not so much interested in this topic as I am now.

I have learned that life was very hard, very painful. People lived through terrible situations. Since they were Jews, they were discriminated against, but the Nazis didn't have a reason to do that. It seemed as if they enjoyed making those people suffer.

All the survivors were very brave. Most of them lost their relatives during that time. Sometimes they saw their parents, their brothers, die -- and they couldn't do anything. Living conditions were awful. Food was not available for everybody. Sometimes they had to share a room among three different families, and it was terrible, especially the sanitary conditions. That's why they got ill and then died.

It is important to learn about the Holocaust because it is a way of showing reality. People should be more informed about the Holocaust, because in our country there are a lot of Jews and they still face discrimination.

Learning about this topic has made me reflect a lot. Sometimes, I complain because I don't like the food I'm given or because my bed is not very comfortable, and now I think that it is stupid to think in such a way. People during the Holocaust didn't have anything to eat, but some managed to survive.

- Veronica A. Nicanoff

I didn't know anything about the Holocaust, I had just heard this word, but I didn't know what it meant. With this project, <iearn.hgp>, I was able to know that the Holocaust was a persecution of the Jews. They were killed just because they were Jews and because of no other reason.

I was able to learn about some experiences from people who lived there and then. It was the most awful thing in the world together with the two world wars and the atomic bomb. I think that I will keep this knowledge with me and pass it on to my children and to everyone interested in it.

To learn about the Holocaust is very important, because it was an important fact that really happened. It wasn't taken from a book. It was the real life in the 1930s and 1940s in some parts of Europe. While I was doing this project, I tried to get information from friends and they didn't know anything about the Holocaust. That's why I think it is important for students to learn about it.

-- Alejandra Syta

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