One of the obvious truths about history is that as new generations come along they must be taught from scratch what has happened (and why) before they arrived.
Some of this history is not as important as other parts, of course. Who, in the end, needs to know the names of each of Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky's husbands? But wars, inventions, the Holocaust -- well, those are different matters.
So I was pleased again this year to be a preliminary judge for the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education's annual White Rose Essay contest for middle- and high-school students.
The theme this year was "Flight from the Reich: The Search for Safe Haven," and students were asked to describe various ways in which the threatened Jews of Europe (they were all threatened) sought to escape almost-certain death at the hands of Hitler and his killing machine.
(For a related post, see this past weekend's blog entry about Nechama Tec's new book about the many ways in which Jews resisted the Nazis and their allies.)
I hope you'll have a look at the two top winning essays, which ae posted here on the MCHE website. The good work by Amanda Nguyen from Harmony Middle School and Kenneth Berglund from Rockhurst High School (both pictured above) offers reassuring evidence that important history is not being neglected but is, rather, being taught to new generations.
Remembrance, after all, is our only hope that this kind of genocide won't be repeated, though even at that it sometimes seems like a slim hope. For reasons I say that, I invite you to read my recent review in The National Catholic Reporter of Alvin Rosenfeld's new book, Resurgent Antisemitism.
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BURIAL WAS DOING GOD'S WORK
The woman who helped to arrange the burial of the dead Boston Marathon bomber says she was simply doing what God would have wanted her to do. Agreed. I was disappointed generally in the silent treatment that most Christians engaged in when confronted with this problem. Here on the blog I urged them to show some radical hospitality, but mostly there was no response.