(JTA) – An online textbook that states Holocaust victims did not “tap into their strength” is required reading at the University of North Carolina.
The book, 21st Century Wellness, is part of a one-credit hour Lifetime Fitness course all UNC undergraduates have to take before graduation. The course is meant to teach students how to stay physically fit and make healthy lifestyle choices.
But along with handing out advice about leading a healthy lifestyle, the book contains an excerpt that says that Holocaust victims who died failed to find their inner strength, CNN reported Tuesday.
“The people in the camps who did not tap into the strength that comes from their intrinsic worth succumbed to the brutality to which they were subjected,” the book reads. The text was contracted for use for two years, but it is currently under review for the fall, a school spokesperson said.
Ryan Holmes, who took a Lifetime Fitness weight-training course last fall, was one of a number of students who criticized the book.
“I thought that it was an oversimplification that didn’t account for situational factors,” he said.
The school works with the book’s publisher, Bearface Institutional Technologies, to make changes to the text. Perceivant, Bearface’s parent company, sells its materials to 15 universities, including Arizona State, Ohio State and Mississippi State, CNN reported.
The book was written by former Olympic speedskater Barbara Lockhart and Brigham Young University professor Ron Hager.
The Holocaust example was meant to show that a person’s circumstance don’t define them and their worth, Hager told CNN. Some survivors have said knowing their worth helped them survive, and people who didn’t know their worth might have had a harder time in the camps, he wrote.
“A sense of inherent self-worth can be a source of strength or motivation that can help those struggling, in this case in concentration camps but also for anyone,” he wrote.