Ruby, you don't support education for anyone at all ever. Really, you've made your point numerous times.
I went to private schools and I couldn't tell you what year WWII began until a few years after high school. It wasn't for lack of effort on the teachers' part, either - I got into an argument with my history
professor teacher my sophomore year of high school. Like, neither of us were angry but it was a fairly involved argument. I argued that dates don't matter, and he argued that dates do matter (is the simple version). He finally told me that I could forgo the dates IF I could relate everything on exams with Other Stuff Going On In the World at that time. So I didn't learn them.
(It would have been easier to just learn the dates rather than marking things by other things, but I guess I used to be a little stubborn back then. >.>)
And then there were all the professors in college who didn't make me learn dates, so long as I could explain which event came before that event and how they affected one another. It happens. I could also see an argument for Hitler being less relevant as we move further into the next century. More relevant would probably be things like Rwanda's ethnic cleansing (1994), Lockerbie (86), things like that. I think to modern students, WWII is about as relevant (to them) as the US Civil War or some such. It's difficult to connect with and remember, as happens with most large events as time moves away from them.
I would argue that these anecdotes mean very little by themselves. There have always been idiotic questions, strange gaps in knowledge, especially in younger people. However, if people are really horrified by these things, I would recommend writing to politicians and tell them that schools need more funding. I don't know about Poland, but the US could certainly use it.
Edit: Been around professors for too long.
You know, there are places in the world where fully adult people (who might not even keep personal guns at home) would be ready to sharpen some knives to begin hacking each other into pieces over statements such as "Hitler or Göring really aren't any more important than General Lee or Sherman" or "there are people who have suffered just as bad as the Jews did in the thirties" (note, the way that one's phrased it would *not* include the years when things really moved into high gear - it's still a statement that would make many people grit their teeth and have newspaper feuds starting) or "things were pretty nice in the seventeenth century" (apart from the Thirty years war, plagues and witch burnings, all of which would implicitly be glossed over). Well, kicking or stabbing each other to pieces in a figurative sense, but in public...
And of course those sly or dingy statements are very obvious picks, even laughable. You could get in seriously strained situations for a lot less than those.
In Europe you'd definitely get some strange glances if you were shrugging at world war two, or implying that the conflict was *not* absolutely central to the modern world, but I figure that's true in China and Japan too. And in many places, or many schools, many homes in the U.S. too. I mean, the U.S. spent fifty years paying much of the bills and largely holding the steering wheel for serious military activities and planning in many parts of Europe, and still has far more military muscle than any nation in that continent or in the western hemisphere: there has to be a reason for that somewhere...
Okay, I would agree it's...likely? that WW2 and the atrocities that happened then will not always
remain as crucially central to history as they are to many of us now (though what kind of war, apart from a nuclear armageddon, could 'outpace' WW2? - shivers). But for the present it's still a big part of the wider backdrop to many people's lives and to the history of nearly every country on the planet. So is WW1 by the way, only less obvious, 'cause it was a much less photogenic war, less Hollywood potential you could say, and it happened one more generation back, so to us it's obscured by the magnificent second round (next year the centenary is up). Right, you know that for sure, guys and ladies. It would actually be interesting if someone staged a debate on the premise "9!11 was a more important, more seminal, more powerful event than WW2" - just supposing that the huge war could be telescoped into one event - but lots of people would find it offensive to even put the question like that. With 9/11 no one needs to ask the year, of course.
And to handle the ways that WW2 - or 9/11 and the war on terrorism - still impacts us, still frames all of us, I guess it matters that those wars and upheavals look different to people from different places. Which could be iffy to handle if all that a big part of the population knows about WW2, beyond the movies, is that it started somewhere around the time grandpa went to school, ended in 1945, and was started by a looney dictator called Adolf Hitler and his evil Jerries, or is it germs?