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History - Holocaust on film

What it's all about

How the Holocaust should be represented is hotly debated, but a new DVD, Thinking Film, Thinking History: The Holocaust, uses films to teach pupils about their limitations as historical sources, writes Victoria Grace Walden.

The DVD, from Film Education and the Holocaust Educational Trust, encourages pupils to consider what they can and can't learn from films that may be historically inaccurate or fictional, such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, based on the novel by John Boyne.

The DVD contains clips from Cabaret, Judgement at Nuremberg and 10 other films, and comes with a CD-ROM packed with lesson activities. Resources include an introduction to film language; worksheets on topics from anti-Semitism to life in the ghetto; a historical overview of the Holocaust; and a worksheet highlighting the importance of watching films critically.

It is 68 years since Auschwitz was liberated, but Holocaust education is still necessary. Just two months ago, Hungarian politician Martin Gyongyosi, leader of the right-wing Jobbik party, called for the country's government to compile a list of Jewish citizens because, he claimed, they could pose a security threat. A week before, Ashley Mills, a fan of Tottenham Hotspur FC - sometimes known as the "Yid Army" because of its historical association with a Jewish area - was subject to an anti-Semitic attack by a Fascist group in Rome.

Thinking Film, Thinking History helps young people to be critical of the way films depict events, rather than take everything they see as the truth.

Holocaust Memorial Day is on 27 January. Thinking Film: Thinking History is available at bit.lyVIxPkv. For supporting material, visit bit.lyThinkingFilm.

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