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What's an appropriate age to explain the Holocaust to a child?

We have a Holocaust museum in our city connected to the main Synagogue. At some point I'd like to take my daughter to visit the exhibition to help introduce her and explain what happened during this terrible period of history. She is nearly 9 years old. The exhibition includes artefacts, memorabilia and many photos but no gruesome images.
We are quite historically minded as a family so she is aware of things like both World Wars, the Space Race and the Cold War, though obviously a child's mind interprets things differently to adults. We have explained the WWII and how evil the Nazis were; something she initially came to understand via (of all things) multiple viewings of the Sound of Music DVD; a film which she adores. Though she knows that Nazis are "bad", to this point we have avoided all discussions about the holocaust. It is a big jump to go from a story about Nazis trying to force Captain von Trapp to join the German Navy after the Anschluss, to the reality of what happened to Jews and other minority groups in Europe from the early 1930s to the mid-1940s.
I don't want to shatter a child's innocence, yet feel it is important as a parent that she becomes aware of these events and their impact on history.

What do you think is an appropriate age to introduce this topic to a child? Should I perhaps wait for her to come to me asking about it; or should I pre-empt self-discovery?
 
Personally, I tend to side with letting kids be kids as long as possible. There's plenty of time to teach her about those kinds of things. JMO of course.

If I had to put an age on it? High school age.
 
It's all a matter of how much detail. Personally, I'm not one who'd shelter my kids (if I had any), and I wasn't sheltered much, but I wouldn't want to show the Red Cross videos to most 15 year olds. Not that I'd try to hide it, but I'd tell them frankly to wait. I probably saw them and heard it all by age 9, but I was already an old hat at horror though movies before first grade. I don't think it really troubled me as much as you might think at such a young age, mostly because it was too much for me, and by the time I got older, I was already familiar with it. But I sure don't recommend this path. Your kids might grow up to have an avatar like mine.
 
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Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
No need to dump it all on her at once. Like most other "adult" conversations, you can transition her into full awareness over a decade or so.

Personally, I tend to side with letting kids be kids as long as possible.

Agreed.
 
I think kids know, and can handle, far more than adults give them credit for. I grew up asking my father questions about him coming to the States during WW2 and his involvement with the military after being drafted during the Vietnam Conflict. Sure, there are some things that I probably should not have learned about until I was older, but I will always side with information and knowledge over sheltering through ignorance. I have also had many educators attest to the importance of my understanding of a major and highly important world event.
 
I remember my mom explaining the Holocaust to me when I was very young because something about it had come up in a book I was reading. I just remember her saying that it was very bad. I don't remember what age I was exactly, but I know it was probably a really good age because I was old enough to know what she was talking about but also old enough to understand how awful the thing actually was. My girlfriend's paternal family are Eastern European Jews and should she become my wife and mother of my children someday, we are going to have to explain it to our kids and also show them the personal connection they have to it. She has done some family research and can't find any trace of relatives before 1939.
 
I remember discussing the Holocaust in class in the sixth grade. We read an excerpt (I think) of Anne Frank's diary, as well as some other materials. At that point I already knew a bit about the Holocaust through books, movies, etc.
 
I'd say no age specifically is too young if you determine the child can handle it. I've seen 9 year olds reading all kinds of complicated stuff that definitely isn't traditionally age appropriate.

The US Holocaust Museum website seems to suggest that middle school age is the right time to learn about the actual events, and elementary school is the time to begin talking about the dangers of prejudice.
 
Personally, I'd wait till she asked. My wife and I shielded our children from "the world" as much as possible, wanting them to enjoy childhood as much as possible. We do, however, also believe they have a right to know the truth. So basically, we followed our gut, and told them things when we felt they were ready. It's hard to know exactly what to tell them and when, but I believe the truth, gently told by a parent in a kind and loving way, can satisfy their curiosity and allay their fears.
 
I'm pretty sure my youngest had an idea of what the Holocaust was in 5th grade. He wanted to go to the museum when we went to DC (didn't make it there). My oldest has been exposed to it through history classes and had asked me about it too.

I think that if your daughter has already had some exposure to it through school, you might tell her that there is a museum connected to the Synagogue and ask her if she would like to go.

I don't know that there is a definitive age but my guess would be 9-13. I think you can bring awareness to it without going full-on History channel imagery.
 
Probably when they are old enough to ask. I do think it's important to begin instructing them to the dangers of hatered in a general sense from a young age. The actual horror, the amount of death and pain, that can probably wait a while. +1 to talking to a museum docent.
 
I think it is a great opportunity to discuss Anne Frank and her family both as a relationship builder since Anne was your ordinary kid that kids can relate and an ice breaker for the holocaust. As a parent you can talk about Anne, who she was, what they did, and even discuss parts of her diary so when your child grows older they can treasure the famous diary and build respect for that awful time in world history.

As Anne Frank proudly said - I truly believe that in the core, everyone is good at heart.
 
Putting an age on that sort of action is quite pointless in my opinion. Some children are more advanced at 9yo than others at 12yo. I would suggest taking her to the museum when you have the chance- then letting her absorb as much as she wishes. If she takes it at face value, fine... and if she seems interested and wants to know more, perhaps even better.

Good luck!
 
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