Editorial: Students should remember, prevent Holocaust events

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Caroline Wilburn

As she sits at her desk, senior Emma Hutchinson stares at an image from the Holocaust posted on the BBC website. Holocaust Remembrance Week is held Jan. 25-27, with special curriculum designed by the district. “In a world where every event is consumed and processed through the internet and social media, teenagers struggle to understand the impact and reality of a horrible event like the Holocaust,” editorialist and ENO Editor-in-Chief Grace Williamson said. “In a class discussing the Holocaust, graphic images and videos can be dismissed as a ‘scary movie.'”

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Field trips and visits to places such as the Dallas Holocaust museum cannot take place this year because of COVID-19. With Holocaust Remembrance Week Jan. 25-29, history teachers are left with only the tools of technology to build understanding of the Holocaust and make an impact on students. The events of the Holocaust are already considered hard topics to discuss, and without the power of museums to show the real-life brutalities that took place, it is easy for students to minimize the atrocities as fiction.

Students need to make the effort to connect through looking back on the events of the Holocaust in order to prevent it from repeating.

Museums have always been a preservation of time, history and change. However, with the all-consuming age of digital media, the internet can provide a virtual visit to just about any historical monument or moment in time. This instantaneous effect can often distract from the impact of major events in history. Technology is useful to document history, but when it is the only platform to learn from, it can cause a contrasting effect that desensitizes students to events of the Holocaust.

In a class discussing the Holocaust, graphic images and videos can be dismissed as a ‘scary movie.’ The meaning and power are lost.”

— Editor-in-Chief and editorialist Grace Williamson

In a world where every event is consumed and processed through the internet and social media, teenagers struggle to understand the impact and reality of a horrible event like the Holocaust. In a class discussing the Holocaust, graphic images and videos can be dismissed as a “scary movie.” Students will watch a powerful film like “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and play it off as fiction. The meaning and power behind these movies are lost. Students sit through actual documentation of concentration camps where people were held without any genuine thought toward what they are witnessing. The bell will ring and they move on to their next class without a second glance.

In the past, museums provided tangible evidence of events like the Holocaust. However, teachers’ content is severely limited within COVID-19 guidelines. Without the power of physical objects, students lose the meaning and emotion that Holocaust Remembrance should carry.

Although school field trips are postponed, students can still use their own time to understand the gravity of the Holocaust. The Dallas Holocaust Museum is open to the public again, now with new COVID-19 visiting guidelines to ensure safety. They can also research first-hand accounts of Holocaust survivors as well. In order to honor those who lost their lives, and to prevent the atrocities from repeating, Holocaust Remembrance Week should be emphasized in and out of school through respectful and independent research.

This editorial was written by Editor-in-Chief Grace Williamson on behalf of the Eagle Nation Online staff.

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