Wednesday 4 November 2009

"History books re-written twenty years after fall of Berlin Wall"

Here's an interesting article from the Telegraph about the teaching of history in eastern Europe. The chanaging nature of textbooks in the former states of the Soviet Union are redefining how students are learning about the history of Communism.

Textbooks in Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic now include information on anti-communism, as well as the expulsions and executions that occured during the communist regimes.

"In Latvia, what was once called 'the voluntary incorporation' of countries in the former Soviet bloc, is now qualified as a Soviet 'occupation'. The deportation of tens of thousands of Latvians to Soviet camps in 1941 and 1949, once unheard of, is also now part of the school curriculum."

But despite this 'objectivity', teachers are still having to cope with the clash between history and memory "history books still fail to beat the vivid accounts of that period that students hear from their parents". One Romanian teacher states, "Eighty per cent of adults were nostalgic about the Communist era, when there was no unemployment or financial problems."