The recommendation came in a recently published handbook for upper secondary school teachers that the government’s department with responsibility for school issues had created, Aftonbladet reported earlier this month.
Group 1 must find at least three arguments for the case that the Holocaust never occurred, using facts and information from the internet. They can also ask others what they think and why, ”was the proposed exercise.
It included a similar example that encouraged students to support the argument that the 1969 lunar landing was staged. The handbook defined both the lunar landing and the Holocaust as “controversial topics.”
Sweden’s Jewish Central Council and other critics said it was offensive for the victims to ask students to consume and engage in Holocaust denial and have a dubious educational value.
– Even if it is well-meaning, there is a danger in calling the Holocaust controversial, says Aron Verständig, chairman of the Swedish Jewish Central Council, to Aftonbladet. He called the exercise “bizarre.”
Svante Weyler, chairman of the monitoring group Swedish Committee against Anti-Semitism, called the exercise “pure idiocy”. Of all the subjects available for such an exercise, “The Holocaust is the worst. It is a grotesque idea that this can happen in Swedish classrooms “, he told the newspaper.
The report did not say whether the exercise had been carried out in the classrooms yet.
Pernilla Sundström, spokesperson for the Swedish National Agency for Education, defended the exercise, which she told Aftonbladet is intended to help teachers deal with “themes that can create tension in the classroom”. The Holocaust, she added, “may be such a theme precisely because of anti-Semitism.”
The debate has some parallels with a controversy that has taken place in Texas, following the adoption of a bill that is intended to ban discussion of Critical Race Theory – which is intended to educate students about systemic racism in the United States – in the state classroom.
Earlier this month, a school administrator in Southlake’s Carroll Independent School District was caught in a recording saying that under the new law, teachers must “make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one who has an opponent, who has other perspectives. ”
Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, said the administrator’s statement was a “misinterpretation” of the law.