“Wait,” said Zachary, “was it World War One or World War Two that had the Nayzeyes?”
It’s a pretty good bet when he mispronounces something that he learned about it through reading. We’ve never discussed the Holocaust with him, not being big into explaining genocide to small children. Somewhere along the line, he’d picked up the word.
Last night, I asked him what he knew about the Nazis. “Hitler was their ruler,” he replied. “They were in Germany and the United States fought them. And they put their prisoners into these suffocation rooms that spray out gas.” OK, so he’s gotten the basic points: bad guy with dinky moustache, on the other side of the war, gas chambers.
There are some holes in his background, which makes sense since apparently he pieced it together from snippets of 39 Clues and a plaque he saw on the wall of the Smithsonian. I don’t like to think of him learning about the Holocaust this way. Much as I didn’t want him to learn about sex haphazardly, I don’t want him to get wrong or scarier-than-it-needs-to-be information on the Holocaust. Especially given the biggest hole in his comprehension.
He doesn’t seem to have figured out that Hitler targeted the Jews.
I shudder to think of the nightmares that will come with that understanding, yet if he’s bound to learn it soon, I’d like it to be from us. He’s only eight, but he’s already eight. He’s at this age when we can’t control what he takes in, but maybe we can still influence how he takes it in. If only I knew the right way to handle this. I have a call in to the Education Rabbi at our synagogue to see if she has any insight. Given that she’s the Education Rabbi and all.
Anyone have any experience with this one?