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Holocaust studies remind us to care for each other

Dear Mr. Stenersen,

Mothers, children, and fathers, were all lined up, waiting for death. They were separated from their families, starved, isolated, beaten, malnourished, and physically and emotionally abused. They were treated like animals, and then they were murdered. Approximately 11 to 17 million people were killed, and although this is one of the greatest disasters and one of the most awful events, it is rarely talked about in schools. We are always told that a part of the reason why we’re taught history is to learn from our past faults. So why aren’t we taught about one of the world’s greatest mistakes? Children need to be educated about the Holocaust to realize the power of thought and to realize the importance of accepting people as they are. I believe that there are certain ways that the holocaust needs to be taught in, in order for it to be productive.

Hitler’s beliefs are everywhere, although we don’t always acknowledge them. The things that we see are obviously on a much smaller scale than Hitler’s ideas, but most people don’t realize that everything that they say and think has the possibility to grow and spread. The death of almost 20 million people is all the result of one man’s ideas. Adolf Hitler based all of his thinking off of the idea that Jewish people were an impurity, and that Germany needed to be rid of all contamination. Because Hitler felt so strongly about this, he used his persuasiveness and charm to convince thousands of people to follow him. He managed to twist such a disgusting idea with such awful intentions into something reasonable and sane. Everyone needs to understand that they have to be careful of what they say and think in order to prevent something like the Holocaust from ever happening again.

Genocide: The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. This term was never very popular until after the Holocaust. The genocide of almost 20 million people was all the cause of one ignorant man who disliked people who were Jewish. Every day you hear and make comments about the way people look, or the way they talk, or the way they act. It’s part of everyday life, especially in middle and high schools. Usually the things that people make jars at are the things that people have absolutely no control over; someone’s frizzy hair, their short stature, a resilient stutter, their ethnicity. It’s ignorant and so unfair. One nasty remark to someone can have a huge effect on who they are. Children are cruel and impressionable, which is why it is important to stress on kids to express themselves and to always respect everyone around them.

In order for this to be taught in a productive manor, we need to focus on how the Holocaust affected the victims. If we add this program to our schools, we need to be able to relate to the victims and how they felt. Following this train of thought, I believe it would be an important part of the program to require the students to fast for one day, unless medical problems or anything like that prohibit it. I think that this would give some perspective to the students of what it was like for the victims of the Holocaust. I also think that it would be important for the students in the program to watch documentaries on survivors of the Holocaust. When you hear stories directly from survivors, it makes the whole situation more personal and relatable. When you listen to the feelings and thoughts on the events that the survivors had to go to from the people who went through it, it brings out more of an emotional reaction which tends to have a greater effect on students.

The Holocaust is such an important event, and it is crucial to educate students and children about it. If we tried, we could turn such an awful event into an experience to learn and evolve from. Teaching about this genocide in schools would teach students about the power of their thought, and how important it is to respect and care for the people around them. All in all, I believe adding a program like this would be an eye opening experience to students at your school.

Thank you for your time,

Molly Carpenter

Molly Carpenter, an eighth-grader at Northwood Middle School, was the third-place winner, middle school division, in the Eva Lassman Memorial Creative Writing Contest.