Ohio lawmaker sparks backlash after suggesting schools should teach Holocaust ‘from German soldier’s perspective’ – The Forward

(JTA) — A Jewish lawmaker in Ohio derides legislation aimed at restricting racial education in state schools, calling it a “draconian Holocaust censorship bill” after the One of the bill’s Republican sponsors suggested it was appropriate to teach the Holocaust from the Nazis’ perspective.

State Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur, who co-sponsored the bill, made the comments while telling a local news station why she thinks ‘dividing concepts’ should be taught from multiple perspectives. .

“Perhaps you will hear the perspective of someone from Poland when they were going through a similar displacement, or when they were incorporated into the war and some of these camps. Or maybe you’re listening to it from the perspective of a Jewish person who has been through the tragedies that have taken place,” she said, describing how a hypothetical law-abiding lesson might play out. “And maybe you’ll hear it from the perspective of a German soldier.”

Fowler Arthur also misrepresented the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust and why they were murdered in his remarks, originally made to News 5 Cleveland in early March but not made public by the station until Tuesday.

“What we don’t want is someone coming in and saying, ‘Well, obviously the German government was right in saying that the Aryan race is superior to all other races, and therefore that he did the right thing when he murdered hundreds of thousands of people for having a different skin color,” she said.

Fowler Arthur’s comments, which she said were informed by “some Holocaust audiobooks” she had listened to, are the latest in a series of comments that have implicated Holocaust education in a wave of Republican-led legislation aimed at dictating how race is taught in public schools. A Texas educator and an Indiana lawmaker have apologized in recent months after suggesting that teachers should remain “impartial” or offer multiple perspectives while teaching about the Holocaust.

Fowler Arthur soon drew strong rebuke from Ohio’s Jewish leaders as well as Rep. Casey Weinstein, a Democrat who is one of two Jews in the state legislature, and members of the own departed from Arthur Fowler.

James Pasch, director of the region’s branch of the Anti-Defamation League, told the station that Fowler Arthur’s remarks showed “no basis of education even there that 6 million Jews were systematically murdered, and millions of others”. Weinstein, who has been the target of anti-vaccine protests invoking the Holocaust, reportedly offered to accompany Fowler Arthur to the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage outside Cleveland.

Republican House Speaker Bob Cupp called Fowler Arthur’s comments “inappropriate” and “misinformed remarks.”

In a statement responding to criticism, Fowler Arthur defended his bill and challenged others’ interpretations of his comments. “I want to apologize for the inadmissible position that was wrongly assigned to me,” she said in the written statement. “These views are not who I am or what I believe in.”

His statement did not specify how it was misinterpreted, but continued to defend the bill.

“What began as a sincere effort to end state-sanctioned bullying and harassment has been turned on its head, with left-leaning politicians and special interests advancing a false narrative to kill the bill and raise funds “, she said.

Arthur Fowler’s office did not respond to a request for comment from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Journalist Morgan Trau, who conducted the initial interview with her, said on air that she had raised ‘the direct concerns of the Jewish community’ with the rep ‘a full week before the article aired’ .

Fowler, whose northeast Ohio district abuts Lake Erie and the Pennsylvania border, previously served on the Ohio school board.

His bill, as written, would prohibit state teachers from teaching “divisive concepts,” such as “one nationality, color, ethnicity, race, or sex is inherently superior to another nationality, color, ethnicity, race or sex”, almost identically. wording of other state bills seeking to ban “critical race theory” — an academic and legal concept that has become a rallying cry for Republicans across the country.

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Ohio lawmaker sparks backlash after suggesting schools should teach the Holocaust ‘from a German soldier’s perspective’

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