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.


“Never Again” Happening Today

The Holocaust claimed roughly between 11 and 17 million lives of innocent people, around a quarter of which were children under 15.  They were starved, abused, tortured, and murdered for no other reason than others believed that their race was superior to others. The horrors that occurred during Hitler’s rule had been like no other ever seen. They were so terrible beyond anything the human race had ever experienced before, a new word was born. Genocide. The planned killing of an entire race or ethnic group. When Nazi rule came to end, and the world began to look back on the events that defined the Holocaust, they decided one thing. Never again. Never again would man repeat the horrors experienced in World War Two. But now in the African country of Darfur, “never again” is happening today.

A genocide against mainly Black Muslims is currently occupying Darfur. The Janjaweed, or “devils on horseback” use methods in the genocide such as rape, displacement, mass murder, and starvation. Already, 400,000 have been murdered, and 2,500,000 more are left homeless. Had this not been bad enough, the Janjaweed are not only practicing, but focusing their torture on youth: get rid of today’s youth, get rid of tomorrow entirely. And do the Janjaweed have a reason for carrying out this torture? Any kind of an excuse for the genocide? No. Nothing but the want for a lighter skinned society. In other words, racial superiority. Sound familiar?

How can we let the what happened less than 70 short years ago repeat itself today? Can any human being truly look at what is happening overseas and think that just because this is all far away on another continent, we really do not have the moral commitment to help? Darfur needs an ally now more than ever. I think this is rather ironic. In almost every school there is a unit on tolerance based off the Holocaust, and kids will hear that famous quote “never again” over and over as they look back on the horrors that unfolded during World War Two. They will shake their heads at the terrible deeds and wonder how something so unjust, so plain cruel could even happen on this Earth. Most of them will never forget the things they learned about how horrible the Holocaust was. But what they will or won’t remember isn’t what’s most important. What they don’t know is that an almost exact repeat of the Holocaust is happening today.   People here, in America, need to know what is going on overseas. No human would look at what is happening in Darfur and be able to just forget. Darfur needs an ally. If we could educate ourselves on what is happening to Darfur, we could get the resources to end it. And maybe this time we’d make sure “never again” stays that way.

~Brenna Reach