Teacher banned for Holocaust 'obsession' back at work

By Jennifer Lipman, January 11, 2011

A Jewish history teacher who was suspended by French education authorities for teaching too much about the Holocaust has returned to work.

In September 2010 Catherine Pederzoli was given a four-month suspension for lacking "distance, neutrality and secularism", principles seen by the French as vital safeguards of the separation of Church and state.

Ms Pederzoli, from Nancy in eastern France, faced the allegation that she was obsessed with the Nazi gas chambers.

Officials at the French education ministry began investigating the 58-year-old longtime teacher last July after her colleagues accused her of orchestrating a student protest over cuts in Holocaust education.

The protest, aimed to challenge a decision halving the numbers taken on an educational trip to visit the death camps in Poland, coincided with a visit to the school by Education Minister Luc Chatel.

A subsequent report by the ministry said Ms Pederzoli had spent too much time organising the trips and as a teacher “manipulated her pupils through a process of brain-washing."

Ms Pederzoli has now been reinstated as a teacher, although she has not been given her old position back but is working at a different school in the area.

Last updated: 10:55am, January 11 2011