History class is difficult

"The history lesson is better than its reputation"

L.I.S.A .: In reporting on the survey, for example by Spiegel, the assessment of the results is rather alarming. Above all, the knowledge or ignorance of the students about the crimes of National Socialism is emphasized. Do you share this assessment?

Tezlaff: We asked a pure knowledge question in the survey and it relates to National Socialism. We wanted to know from the students interviewed what Auschwitz-Birkenau was. Of those over 17 years old, 71 percent know this. In the age group between 14 and 16 years it is only 47 percent. It becomes clear that knowledge grows with increasing age. In the general population, the value is 86 percent.

Opinions differ as to how this result is to be assessed. Anyone who generally thinks that teaching history is not about imparting factual knowledge will have no problem with the result. And one should certainly not confuse knowledge of Auschwitz-Birkenau with knowledge of the genocide of the Jews as a whole. But from my point of view, the ignorance of students is a problem because Auschwitz has become the central code for the break in civilization caused by National Socialism in the last few decades. I think we can't just shrug our shoulders here.

Incidentally, this finding is also an interesting commentary on the right-wing nationalist side that has long claimed and of course strongly criticized the dominance of National Socialism in history lessons. The survey results seem to confirm the opposite.