Henry Ford famously said: “History is bunk.” He wasn’t Swedish, but the Swedish educational establishment seems to have the same Fordian attitude towards history. Or, more precisely: You have your “history”; I have my “history”. If the two differ, who’s to say which one is correct, and which is incorrect?
I wonder what the Swedish word for “bunk” is…
The following incident took place at a Komvux school for adults in southern Sweden. The history-challenged student was probably a Muslim Arab — if he had been a neo-Nazi, the reporter would surely have mentioned it.
Ted Ekeroth has translated an article from Sydsvenskan about what happened. He includes the following comment:
Teachers are so politicized that when it comes to dealing with anything from other cultures, especially Muslim cultures, they don’t dare to tell the truth.
The translated article:
Teacher criticized for Holocaust discussion
A substitute teacher defended facts about the Holocaust during a sfi-lesson [SFI = svenska för invandrare, “Swedish for immigrants” — translator]. He was then told by a coordinator that “what is history for us is not history for others”. The problems at the Komvux school “Kärnan” continue.
During a sfi-lesson at Kärnan last week, the students listened to news items.
One was about the commemoration of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz. The opinions on what happened next differs.
According to the substitute teacher running the class, one student questioned the Holocaust. The teacher explained that they cannot take up that discussion right now.
But the student insisted on loudly expressing his views on the Holocaust and Jews, according to the teacher. Eventually the teacher argued against him. and told the student that he had to leave the classroom if he couldn’t keep quiet.
The student, on the other hand, says that he only wanted to add some facts about the Holocaust and the concentration camps but that the teacher misunderstood.
A few days after the incident, which ended with the student leaving the classroom, the substitute teacher was called in to a meeting with the school’s regular teachers who are also coordinators.
The meeting was recorded and HD [newspaper] has heard the recording.
“The student talked to me and he said that he felt misunderstood and violated and singled out as a Holocaust denier and Nazi,” the coordinator says on the recording.
“What he said was Holocaust denial,” the substitute teacher replies.
“Yes, but he felt unfairly treated based on that he was singled out as one.”
“He hasn’t been singled out. I only told him that it’s not OK to say that the Jews are only lying.”
“But the classroom was the wrong forum for that discussion, because what you were doing was to listen to ‘klartext’ [clear text, a way to learn language — translator].”
The discussion continues. The coordinator tells him that the teachers must be careful when discussing, they have a linguistic advantage and cannot violate students.
The substitute teacher agrees and explains that he has used the same episode [the sound clip of the news item played in the classroom — translator] and it has always worked out well before.
The coordinator answers:
“You should also keep in mind that what we see as history is the history that we have learned. When we have other students who have learned from other history books, there is no point in discussing facts against facts.”
After the discussion the substitute teacher felt betrayed by the school’s leadership.
He felt he defended the values of the Swedish school regarding democracy, equal rights for all people and equality, but was only met with criticism.
“I was upset during the discussion, but I tried to put on a brave face. I am a substitute teacher and don’t want to be difficult. But when I thought about it afterwards, I think they acted wrongly. The Holocaust is an important question,” the substitute teacher says.