Wiesenthal Center Calls California School Holocaust Assignment "Grotesque"

May 5, 2014

"This assignment mistakenly provides moral equivalency between history and bigotry," said Center official

Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance criticized the Rialto School District over the current controversy where eighth-graders were given an assignment to debate in writing whether the Holocaust was "merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain."

"The Simon Wiesenthal Center is appalled by this grotesque 'assignment'," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Los Angeles-based Center. "If the teacher involved wanted to help his or her student understand the nature of hate propaganda, they should have assigned them to research the sources of the bigotry— totalitarian governments like Iran, neo-Nazi groups and bigoted pseudo-intellectuals," he continued.

"The Nazi Holocaust is the most documented monstrous crime in history. This assignment mistakenly provides moral equivalency between history and bigotry. There are people who claim that slavery was a good thing and the Flat Earth Society has a presence online. Does that mean we would ask our students to prepare argumentative essays to such outrageous and patently falsehoods?," the Rabbi said.

"We urge the Rialto School District to come to the Museum of Tolerance, learn about Anne Frank and the 1.5 million other Jewish children who were murdered during the Nazi Holocaust for the crime of being born Jewish," Rabbi Cooper concluded.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).