Henry Maitles


The relationship between learning about the Holocaust and the development of positive values may seem common sense, but in reality there is a complex level of development and understanding. The research reported here, which was sponsored by the Scottish government, was designed to ascertain whether learning about the Holocaust has an impact on young people’s general citizenship values and attitudes; does learning about the Holocaust allow them to extrapolate from the events of the Holocaust to present-day issues, such as racism and discrimination? The study followed a cohort of approximately 100 pupils (aged 11–12) who had studied the Holocaust and compared their values one year later both to their earlier attitudes and to those of their peers who had not studied the Holocaust. As we might expect, the results were not always as predicted, particularly when it came to the pupils’ understanding of anti-Semitism or genocide; in general, however, the study’s core group maintained more positive values than they had before their lessons on the Holocaust and showed more positive values than their peers who had not studied the Holocaust.