Five Questions, Five Minutes
This month's topic: Holocaust
(Nisan 5763/April 2003)
Compiled by Audrey Shore
1. Ari Rubinstein
2. University of South Florida (Tampa)
3. I think its fantastic, especially for non-Jewish students in public schools.
4. Education is supposedly the combatant of ignorance. The best knowledge one can attain comes from survivors and making use of their presence while we still can.
5. I attended the March of the Living, and saw the camps and the environment for myself. I speak to middle school and high school students throughout the academic year to share my experiences and answer questions. The most powerful lesson I've learned is to appreciate the value of life, and to live as though we are living for ourselves and to continue the lives of those who, due to the inhumanity of the Nazis, cannot live and achieve for themselves.
1. Paul Francis Gaynor
2. Temple University and University of Philadelphia Sciences (Philadelphia)
3. Needs to be more: improved education, complete remembrance, understanding the problems. Never to be forgotten, answers to all, the reasons and answers to "why."
4. This will always happen since Nazis and hate groups exist. These people do not want the world to remember violence, terror and hating religions.
5. The attempt to make race the ultimate will cause damage to all religions, destroy people who are different, and attempts to control human to fit there pattern.
1. Aaron Day-Nitkin
2. Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
3. I feel Holocaust education is good and it is a very important element of our history that every Jewish child must learn about. However, I feel some teachers overemphasize it and neglect other important topics.
4. We must back ourselves up with sufficient evidence that it really did happen. There was that case a couple years ago where a woman from Britain was sued for denying the Holocaust. Also, I feel we should encourage bookstores not to sell those books.
5. I've learned about many of the horrible things that happened in the concentration camps, and how the Nazis tracked down Jews. Yet I feel the most powerful lesson was the different ways that gentiles helped the Jews. The queen of Denmark ordered all of her citizens to wear yellow stars so the Nazis could not tell who the Jews were. Or Raoul Wallenberg, who wrote visas for thousands of Jews so they could flee the country. We all know of Oscar Schindler, who helped Jews escape from the concentration camps so they could work for him. These examples of people risking so much to help other people is a lesson that should be passed from generation to generation.
1. Joseph Sherman
2. University of California (San Diego)
3. I do not think that Holocaust education can ever be "overdone."
4. I don't know what else more can be done... I do not think we should try to "reinvent the wheel every time" as there are a lot of great projects out there. Probably more support and resources are needed to expand existing programs.
5. The most powerful lesson that I learned is that the Holocaust can happen anywhere. I went to the The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles several times, and they stress this point. The sad thing that I see is that a lot of the Jewish community in the USA feel that they are safe and secure. The most powerful lesson that I learned is that although I can be proud to be an American (or any other national) I am first a Jew.
1. Shira Zeliger
2. York University (Toronto)
3. I feel that there can never be enough Holocaust education and awareness. Kudos to the many schools that incorporate Holocaust education into their curriculum!
4. It is difficult, if not impossible to stop these books from being printed but we do have the power to stop people from believing what they say. Education is definitely the key in counteracting the messages in these books. If people are well-educated then it doesn't matter what these books say because people will know that they are false. However, if people are ignorant or misinformed, the revisionist literature can definitely create problems, especially because even well-educated people find it hard to believe that humans could cause such horrors to occur to other humans.
5. Not only were six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, along with millions of other people, but an entire way of life, language and culture was destroyed. The way of life for Jews in Eastern Europe over hundreds of years was tragically destroyed and that is something that we'll never be able to get back. It is therefore extremely important to educate ourselves, not only about the Holocaust, but also the life of the Jews in Europe prior to the Holocaust. I have also learned that although we say "never again," current events (i.e. the rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment across the globe) have demonstrated that some people have a short term memory when it comes to historical tragedies such as the Holocaust and they forget the importance of the state of Israel for the Jewish people and what occurred because of anti-Semitism. Therefore, it is crucial to continue to educate people and to keep the stories of the survivors and their memories alive, especially because many survivors are passing away and in several decades from now there won't be any of them left to tell of the atrocities and ensure that people hold fast to the message of "never again."