Should Texas Schools Be Required to Teach About the Holocaust?
Monday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on which the world looks back on the Shoah that claimed the lives 11 million people - 6 million of them European Jews.
I can't think about the Holocaust without my chest tightening up. As a very young child, I watched Schindler's List with my mother and couldn't believe that it was based on actual events. I couldn't imagine people treating other human beings as if they had absolutely no value.
Sadly, the Holocaust wasn't the first genocidal campaign in history, nor the last. It was the first to be documented in great detail thanks to the technology available at the time, and the images of what happened are absolutely heartbreaking. They remind us of how easily entire societies can give in to hatred of the "other" and stand by (or even cheer) as lives are thrown away like garbage; as the unique memories, feelings, thoughts, and experiences of people whose very existence is a cosmic miracle that should be celebrated is instead snuffed out in the most horrific and cold way.
(I want to take a moment to share an article I found about pictures drawn by children who experienced the Holocaust. These simple images convey unspeakable horrors and heartbreak.)
I don't know how it is now, but when I was in high school between 2001 and 2005, we didn't learn too much about the Holocaust. We touched on it during our studies of World War II of course, but we didn't dive in deep. If my mother hadn't exposed me to it at a young age and had lengthy conversations with me about it and about the value of human life, I don't know what sort of person I'd be today. I learned much more about the events that led to the Holocaust and the aftermath during a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and in college.
I certainly hope that Texas students are still learning about it.
Perhaps there should be a legislative effort to ensure they are. That's the thinking behind a new bill that's set to be introduced in West Virginia. WCHS-TV reports that Republican Delegate Josh Higginbotham has drafted legislation that would require curriculum instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides for middle and high school students.
Higginbotham fears that fewer young people in his state are aware of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, and he wants them to be fully aware of the consequences of hatred.
Personally, I agree with the sentiment. Death is always an unspeakable tragedy, but particularly when it's doled out systematically simply because certain living, breathing people are deemed "undesirable".
What do you think? Should Texas consider similar legislation? Why or why not?
Let us know in the comments.