COLLEGE PARK, MD (May, 2017) – Magdalena H. Gross, an assistant professor in the College of Education’s Dept. of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, has recently written and contributed to two publications related to education about the Holocaust: three chapters in a new book that examines how the Holocaust has been taught to students around the world and work on a policy briefing for 195 countries.
In Research and Teaching About the Holocaust: A Dialogue Beyond Borders, the third volume in a publication series released by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Dr. Gross has written and contributed to three chapters in the book that examines how the Holocaust has been taught to students around the world. The book is available for free online for a limited time.
The IHRA project, a three-and-a-half year effort, focuses on empirical research on teaching and learning about the Holocaust, with experts identifying nearly 400 studies that resulted in 600 publications in 15 different languages. Dr. Gross was a member of a team of researchers who worked on the project.
The other is a policy guide by UNESCO called Education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide. Dr. Gross served as a lead contributing author for the team that worked on the project.
Launched in April at the World Jewish Congress Assembly in New York, the UNESCO policy guide serves as a resource for policy-makers, curriculum developers, textbooks writers and publishers and teacher educators. The guide provides key learning objectives for education about the Holocaust, as well as related topics and activities.
The guide was produced in consultation with a range of Holocaust and genocide organizations, including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and a team of international scholars, educators and experts.
Dr. Gross’ research outside of the IHRA volume focuses on the Holocaust within the frame of World War II Poland. Dr. Gross started her research by posing a seemingly simple question: “What happens when schoolchildren face an aspect of a difficult past?”
Dr. Gross found: “Most children, as it turns out…were not able to ‘see’ what they did not already believe to be true. In other words, national narratives of heroism trumped narratives about Jews and the Holocaust,” she said. “This is probably not at all unique to Poland. You could imagine that it is hard to face difficult histories when your national identity is shaped around a different identity: progress, freedom, victimhood.”
In addition to her work for the IHRA and UNESCO projects, Dr. Gross recently received a grant from the Library of Congress to develop workshops for educators on how to teach students about the history of slavery in Maryland.