Do Mexican Mennonites learn about the holocaust?

My friend was born in Germany but moved to Mexico when she was young, and speaks both German, Mexican, and English. Her family moved to Canada when she was finished school. I was talking to her recently and she did not know who Hitler was, and had never heard of the Holocaust. I am wondering if this is because she went to school in Mexico, and the school systems are poor and she only finished up to Junior High, or if this has something to do with the fact that she is strictly Christian/Mennonite.


  1. You mention she originally lived in Canada. This is where the most serious conflict between Mennonites and the state in modern times took place in Manitoba over the school question in connection with the outbreak of World War I, which resulted in wholesale emigration of the opposing groups to Mexico and Paraguay. The attempt to secularize and nationalize schools operated by these conservative churches with the requirement that the schools be conducted in the English language was the chief cause of the conflict.

    This may be the reason for their move to Mexico. When the more conservative Mennonites of Canada realized that they could not continue instructing their children as they had done for generations, about 5,000 left their Canadian farms to till the soil on the semiarid plains of Chihuahua, Mexico. With educational freedom assured by the Mexican government, the colonists re-established their own traditional elementary schools which the Canadian government had labeled inadequate. In 1935, hardly a decade after the establishment of their settlements on Mexican soil, there came from that government the unexpected order to close all Mennonite schools. The Mexican officials who came to carry out the order contended that the Mennonite schools were being conducted in an unlawful manner and that they would have to conform to the school laws of the land. As a result of several petitions to governmental authorities the Mennonites were permitted to resume their school activities. The Mennonites in Mexico represented an ultraconservative wing of the Mennonite Church. They had migrated twice to escape the nationalization of their schools. Their educational philosophy was rather simple. Every child must learn to read the Bible in the German language. His education was completed with a few sacred hymns and the catechism. Such traditional courses as science, history, literature, geography, and government were not included in the curriculum.

    Notice, science, history, literature, geography, and government were not included in the curriculum. That is the answer to your question about her lack of knowledge of world affairs. The educational system in Mexico may not be the best, however, the problem there is a lack of textbooks, reading materials and other necessary school supplies. In the past I was a bilingual teacher for the Gadsden Ind. School District which is located about 40 miles from Juarez, MX. Our district would send old, outdated textbooks, desks, etc. to the school district in Juarez.

    Please be patient and non-judgmental with hter, she needs a friend. Blessings,


    Degree in History (focus Jewish studies) and Spanish, New Mexico State U. 1990


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