a noted historian who blogs on HNN
sent me an intriguing email regarding history education and the Holocaust. It seems that in Austria students are learning about the Holocaust by having each student research the fate of a particular Austrian Jew who fell victim to the Nazis.
Totalitarians who plan genocidal programs require a period of demhumanization and alienation where through political programming, their intended victims are transformed psychologically into an inimical " other" in the eyes of the loyal followers. Hitler began speaking of Jews in eliminationist terms in 1919. Pol Pot outlined his class-based genocide decades earlier. Austria's history program, reverses that legacy and for the students, changes the Jewish victims of the Holocaust from a collective abstraction to real human beings with whom identication and empathy comes more readily.