I was told never again.
As a Jewish child raised with grandparents that fought in WWII, I was told over and over never again. All Jewish households followed suit. Every grandchild told to REMEMBER. We made movies, we erected museums, we wrote books, we told stories, we even schelp our kids to Amsterdam to stand in Anne Frank’s “shoes.”
As it is hard to still fathom how it happened in the first place. Ridiculous..right?
That millions of people…
- have their livelihoods taken. No longer doctors, teachers, professors, or writers in a swoop of a pen on paper.
- don a star marking their future death.
- be transported on trains for miles and treated like cattle in broad daylight.
- be housed in complexes where they are tortured and killed with neighbors in clear site.
How is that fathomable?! Well, it is. And there are history books full of them. The Holocaust is only one of many stories of mass genocide. That seem improbable.
So how does this happen? How do people let these things happen…millions of them?
Like with most things, it doesn’t happen overnight. It happens much slower… in such a fringe unconscionable way that is easy to waive your hand over it. Too busy. Too ridiculous. “That can’t be true.” Or “It doesn’t matter, as that can’t happen HERE.”
I can hear Anne’s father tucking her into bed. “Germany is WAY over there Anne. We are safe here in Amsterdam. We moved here to be safe.” Which they had. They moved to Amsterdam to be safe.
And for SURE that couldn’t happen today, right?…
Nazi Germany could never repeat, right?
We know better, right?
People know the story, right?
Heck, we live in a democracy, right?
There could never be policies that would threaten our existence, right?
That can’t happen with a flick of a pen, right?
Here are people burning books that they deem “inappropriate.” These inappropriate books include Jewish, Black, and other minority histories. They feature characters of racial and sexual diversity.
This may seem outlandish and rare, and it still is, but with policies in states like Florida it is becoming the norm as banning literature deemed “inappropriate” is allowed by just one parent. Anything that can make a child feel “uncomfortable” can be deemed inappropriate.
But what if the lesson is to be uncomfortable?
To learn a history to not repeat it.
Books deemed “un-German” or contrary to Nazi ideology were banned and burned during the infamous book burnings in May 1933. All Jewish and hebrew texts included. The genocide did not start until June of 1942.
Life changed slowly…just like our nation’s school boards.
It didn’t happen over night.
When the books were banned in 1933, did the Jews say…
this is so ridiculous…right?
Hitler and his little tantrums…right?
I have no time for such foolery…right?
Such nonsense this man…right?
No one could take him seriously…right?
And who has the time to think about such things. It is Miriam’s wedding next month, Saul is so busy at the store, and the sink is completely broken.” We’re busy…right?
And I say the same thing over here.
Florida is just insane…right?
It can’t happen here…right? I’m over here in Amsterdam.
But that can’t happen again, right?
Fibonacci would say otherwise.
Education is everything. When we lose our stories and the ability to tell the history of marginalized communities, we are deemed to repeat them.
Fibonacci’s prophecy: The next number is the sum of its previous parts.
We may be raising the most ignorant generation of all time. A generation with no knowledge to know better.
To never again.