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April 16, 2004 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-04-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Student Opinion

WEEKEND SHOWINGS ONLY
ENDS APRIL 25, 2004

Holocaust Memorial Day
Is A Time For Education

JILLIAN KUSHNER

Special to The Apple Tree

tragedy is mourned for an
eternity, long after the ini-
tial shock has faded away.
Only 60 years ago, 6 mil-
lion Jews were killed in the
Holocaust, along with many other
innocent people, by the satanic dicta-
tor Adolf Hitler and his Nazi follow-
ers.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day,
unlike other nationally observed days,
work, school and other daily activities
go on as normal. Consequently,
Holocaust Remembrance Day, this
year Monday, April 19, is not widely
acknowledged or observed.
The United States must do more to
encourage the observance of
Holocaust Remembrance Day to pre-
vent a Holocaust-like event from
occurring again:
"Those who do not remember the
past are doomed to repeat it." It is
the last wish of many Holocaust sur-
vivors that after their death, the
world will not forget what happened
to them. Ignorance regarding the
Holocaust sometimes leads to doubt
that it actually occurred. Therefore, it
is crucial for the United States to
actively promote Holocaust aware-
ness.
History occurs in cycles, but histo-
ry has an ingenious way of masking
reoccurrences, using different circum-
stances. Holocaust awareness is cru-
cial, not only to counteract anti-
Semitism but to prevent the persecu-
tion of any race, religion or political
group.
The Holocaust illuminated a flaw
in human nature: hatred based on
differences. The oppression of
minorities has occurred throughout
history. In the United States, the
Native Americans were driven off
their land and forced to convert to
Christianity; many were murdered
because the American settlers viewed
them as inferior heathens.
Slavery was not abolished in the
United States until the year 1863.
Until this time, Americans justified
the enslavement of African-American
people by denouncing them as inferi-
or human beings, claiming they were

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only part human.
Today, in many places in the world,
religious and political differences lead
to hatred among and within nations.
In Sudan, thousands of people are
being killed each week because they
have black skin. Recently, in the
Middle East, 50 Shiite Muslims were
killed during a religious celebration.
As Erika Newman, a Holocatist sur-
vivor, said, "If you learn not to hate,
you will like people, you will get
along with any kind of people. Then
we will have a chance. Then it will
never happen again."
Holocaust Remembrance Day
needs to be more than just a day
marked on the calendar. This day
should be dedicated to educating the
nation about the Holocaust. In order
to change the Holocaust
Remembrance Day and to achieve
goals of remembering and relating it
to all people, school and work must
be canceled for one day.
Many adults in the Unites States
are uniformed about the Holocaust.
To alert the attention of these people
to the significance of the day, the
government should provide nationally
televised services for the dead. Local
services and peace rallies could take
place in communities. Interviews
with Holocaust survivors could be
broadcast on news stations and pub-
lished in newspapers.
Holocaust Remembrance Day
should be observed similarly to
Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If
schools do not give students the day
off, the school day should be dedicat-,
ed to lessons relating to the
Holocaust.
The only way to prevent such a
tragedy from happening again, to any
group of people, is awareness of the
Holocaust and the evil that caused it
to happen. Once a tragedy occurs,
there is no way to undo the damage
inflicted upon those who suffered
from it. The only thing left to do
after a tragedy is to educate the world
of the pain it causes so that it may
never happen again.

Jillian Kushner, 13, is a student at

Hillel Day School of Metropolitan
Detroit.

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