Swedish school children's knowledge of communist war crimes is dire

Friday, 01 October 2010

The Swedish government has taken action in order to improve the knowledge of school children on crimes committed by communist regimes. Earlier this year a survey was conducted among Swedish school children to determine their knowledge regarding communism, communist war crimes as well as contemporary history of countries neighbouring Sweden, the results of which turned out to be lacking. The report, "They think they know...", paints a depressing picture of the educational shortcomings of Swedish school children. However, the new government is now trying to take adequate measures.

The Society for information about communism, which ordered the survey, showed in it report that 20 year after the fall of the Berlin Wall and end of the Cold War, a majority of youths today in Sweden know nothing of the history or sufferings of its neighbours.

95% knew about Auschwitz, but 90% knew nothing of the Gulag. 99% did not know the background or meaning of the word Bolshevik.

82% did not believe that Belarus is a dictatorship.

43% think that the total number of casualties to communism is a million or less.

Meanwhile, the youths also found it difficult to name the capitals of countries surrounding the Baltic sea, and 90% could not name the capital city in the nearest vicinity to their own.

The report concludes that it is unacceptable to have such poor levels of historical knowledge and substantial hope is placed upon Fredrik Reinfeldt to rectify the situation.

One of the reasons as to why young people lack such knowledge is assumed to be caused by the Swedish post-war socially focussed politically indifferent neutrality. For nearly 50 years there was near nothing in school books, or media, about the communist terror in its immediate neighbouring countries. In maps used in the educational system, names and borders of occupied states had been removed.

The survey questioned 1004 school children aged 15-20. The full report can be accessed here: www.upplysningomkommunismen.se

The new government of Sweden has commissioned The Forum of Living History to conduct systematic research as to communist crimes. Information on communist crimes should, according to the government, level information on nazi crimes. It will be the responsibility of the Forum to map the current situation in Sweden regarding surveys and research about communism and to initiate new research projects if needed. The Forum is accountable for The Cultural Department of State Chancellery and the report is due on June 30 2008. An interim report should be handed in by October 2007.

Read more about the work of the Forum of Living History: http://www.levandehistoria.se/default.php?id=77

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