“She’s going to ask me 10 million questions”: the impact of school-based Holocaust education across generations

Paula Cowan, Tara Jones, Ewan Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


While school-based Holocaust education continues to develop and transform across Europe, it does so in a context where several European countries convey alternative narratives of the Holocaust (Cowan & Maitles 2017:61-68), and where protests such as those in Charlottesville, US (2017) that flaunt racist, antisemitic placards, reminiscent of Nazi Europe, justify Holocaust education in primary schools as a tool to support students’ understanding of the world in which they live. The growing consensus that Holocaust education is an effective tool to teach citizenship is not conclusive, with studies reporting positive, null or paradoxical findings (Staratt, Fredotovic, et al, 2017:178-179). This paper will investigate the learning about the Holocaust that takes place at home–during primary students’ study of the Holocaust at school. It provides insight into the impact of schoolbased Holocaust education and its relationship with citizenship education by analysing data 32 from oral feedback from a small group of parents whose children studied the Holocaust in their last year of primary school. Parent interviews were conducted combining grounded theory (cf. Charmaz, 2009) and interpretive phenomenological analysis (cf. Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2010) approaches to data collection and analysis. In order to develop a robust and rich interpretation of the data two approaches to coding: in-vivo and values coding (see Saldaña, 2010), were employed and both involved several cycles of analysis and interpretation. Parents indicated that their children’s learning about the Holocaust in school stimulated discussion in the home. Whilst parents felt they had personally not learned anything new, deeper analysis revealed that home discussions had, in extending their children’s learning and engagement with the topic, extended parents’ own understanding in terms of a new and different perspective of the Holocaust. It is concluded that Holocaust education in the primary school can provide opportunities for inter-generational learning and engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2018
EventCiCea International Conference 2018
and 2nd Joint Conference with CitizED: Citizenship & Identity in a 'Post-Truth' World
- Ibis Old Town Hotel, Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 10 May 201812 May 2018
Conference number: 20


ConferenceCiCea International Conference 2018
and 2nd Joint Conference with CitizED
Internet address


  • Holocaust
  • citizenship
  • primary
  • parents


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