, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 153–173 | Cite as

The Holocaust as history and human rights: A cross-national analysis of Holocaust education in social science textbooks, 1970–2008

  • Patricia Bromley
  • Susan Garnett Russell


This article examines Holocaust education in secondary school social science textbooks around the world since 1970, using data coded from 465 textbooks from 69 countries. It finds that books and countries more connected to world society and with an accompanying emphasis on human rights, diversity in society and a depiction of international, rather than national, society are more likely to discuss the Holocaust. Additionally, textbooks from Western countries contain more discussion of the Holocaust, although the rate is increasing in Eastern European and other non-Western countries, suggesting eventual convergence. We also find a shift in the nature of discussion, from a historical event to a violation of human rights or crime against humanity. These findings broadly support the arguments of neo-institutional theories that the social and cultural realms of the contemporary world are increasingly globalized and that notions of human rights are a central feature of world society.


Human rights Holocaust education Textbooks 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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