Senior History
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Holocaust and Genocide Senior History Unit

The Holocaust and Genocide – A cross-curricula approach

Contexts of study and comparison: Yugoslavian Civil War, Rwanda, Cambodia, the Holocaust (or Shoah)

Abstract and module rationale:


Why relate the Holocaust to other Genocides?

An essential element that pervades all Genocide is the idea of crimes against humanity. The NZC (New Zealand Curriculum) asks educators and students alike to inquire into significant events and thereby help to better understand our contemporary world. To unpack this further, we must examine the many “branches” or facets of our civilisation, especially democracy, by understanding Genocide and the Holocaust in depth. Students should be exposed to accurate historical truth (including terminology which is based around best practice) and guided in a full examination of acts of injustice using historical example. A note about terminology: it is vital that the language of criminals is carefully explained to young people. Instead of using criminal Nazi language such as the “The Final Solution”, which demeans the victims of the Holocaust, more accurate terms like Shoah or Holocaust should be used. This is also a significant teaching opportunity to examine the power of language in history and instances of genocide.

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The Holocaust and Senior History in the Curriculum

How and why we should teach the Holocaust in Senior History

The Holocaust and the Senior School

Professor Keith Barton (Curriculum Studies and Social Studies Education, Indiana University Bloomington) states: as educators we need to ask students and ourselves what should we learn about History. History questions and promotes values, which is a key component of the curriculum. The Holocaust is an opportunity for us to explore difficult but important historical concepts, and make value judgments based on those concepts.

The History curriculum states: “Teachers and students need to see the relevance of the teaching and learning programme. Teachers may choose to invite their students’ input when choosing learning contexts that have significance to New Zealanders and, most immediately, to the students in the history class.” 

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