Should the Holocaust be Taught in Schools?

Almost 85 years ago, in 1933, one of the most atrocious and brutal events of history was in full speed. Around 9,000,000 innocent souls were taken because of the hatred of someone else. What was this event you might ask? The Holocaust.

When young, charismatic, Nazi (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) leader Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, there was no limit on the horrors and anguish he could create. Adolf Hitler believed that Germany, and in the near future the whole world should look and pray a certain way. He thought that the fair skinned, blond haired, and blue eyed Germans, or Aryans, were the supreme and only race of the world. Hitler targeted his views on Jews, homosexuals, the disabled, gypsies, and any other race that was “inferior” to the Aryans (Nazi Racial Ideology). The solution, concentration camps and imminent death. In 1933, the first concentration camp, Dachau, was opened. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis transported Jews to ghettos (gated living space in city) and concentration camps in order to inflict pain and abuse on them. The conditions were inhumane and torturous. When concentration camps weren’t cruel enough, the Nazis installed killing centers in the largest camps. The burned them and gassed them until finally, the allies (America, England, Soviet Union, and France) raided the camps in 1945 (The Allies). Once all the casualties were counted, 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children were murdered by Nazi Germany.
The torture they faced is so cruel and so unimaginable that today’s generation has no concept of truly how atrocious it was. For many, this subject is touchy because it has to do with religion, extreme death, complicated idealism’s, and unfathomable brutality. Many parents, teachers, survivors, and students are wondering if this subject is appropriate for school. I wholeheartedly believe, even though I am Jewish, that the Holocaust should be taught in schools. There are ways lessons can be conducted that aren’t insensitive and offensive to victims and survivors. Teaching the Holocaust at a young age allows children to learn the roots of prejudice and anti-semitism (United States Holocaust Memorial Musuem). It is so important to introduce children to these issues so that they grow up knowing the difference between right and wrong and good and evil. I know this topic is pretty dark, but it’s important to share this message so the future generation can prevent history from repeating itself.

~Ellie

JFK’s Legacy Lives On

Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy

November 22, 2013 is the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (JFK).   JFK was the 35th president of the United States, but was assassinated before he could even finish his first term.   JFK was in Texas that day to start campaigning for a second term.   He was riding in the back of a convertible with the First Lady and the Governor of Texas as part of a motorcade in downtown Dallas.   Gunfire rung out just after 12:30pm as the motorcade was passing the Texas School Book Depository.  The president’s neck and head were struck with bullets.  He was pronounced dead only 30 minutes later.

            Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the crime and was brought in by police that evening. Only two days later, a local nightclub owner named Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald before a trial could take place.  This happened on live television!  While there was overwhelming evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was the killer, there were many theories about why he killed the president and whether he acted alone or with others.   Many of the stories about the anniversary of JFK’s assassination are about these different theories.  One theory is that there were multiple gunmen who fired at the president.  Another theory is that Jack Ruby was involved and killed Oswald in order to keep him from talking to the police. Some people believe that Oswald was working for the Russians, while others think that the mafia or the CIA itself was behind the plot to kill the president.

            Instead of spending too much time arguing about the conspiracy theories about the assassination, I believe it is more important to remember JFK’s legacy and all of his positive accomplishments.  He is the founder of the Peace Corps, he made progress toward international peace with the International Test Ban Treaty, and avoided conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Even though he made many mistakes, such as the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, his presidency inspired many Americans and people all around the world and offers important lessons even for today.  The advice he gave during his famous inauguration speech- “My fellow Americans; ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do your country” – is still an important message for today.

~Luke