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Horror of the Holocaust

October 12, 1986

I was horrified to read your Children's Bookshelf column in which Kristiana Gregory endorsed for 3-to-6-year-olds a pictorial essay on the Holocaust entitled "Children We Remember" (The Book Review, Sept. 21). What purpose is served by showing a small child photographs of doomed Jewish children who are cold, starving, alone, or about to be murdered by Nazis?

Aren't our children allowed to have a childhood any more, to have even a few fleeting years of innocence before they are forced to confront the cruelest extremes of human behavior? Yes, the Holocaust should never be forgotten, but the mere description of these photographs is heart-rending for an adult, and I would not even consider sharing this book with my 6-year-old son.

I feel sorry for any children whose parents are so misguided as to inflict this horror on them. The fact that the reviewer's 4-year-old son asked if "the children were killed because they were naughty" speaks volumes about the inability of a small child to assimilate this kind of information on anything but a personal basis. We live in a world in which "childhood" is rapidly disappearing. Let's not hasten its demise with books like "Children We Remember."

MARGARET DAVIS

Burbank

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