Lessons of the Shoah teaches love, not hate


Maddie Root, Managing Editor

Lessons of the Shoah was both a day of learning and a day of remembrance. On November 16, the junior and Exploration of Human Rights and Genocide class gathered in the auditorium to hear stories and experiences from members of the Jewish community.

The event was broadcast to both JC and to many other schools around the area. The broadcast consisted of three guest speakers and time for break-out activities.
The first speaker, Dr. Ellen Kennedy, is the founder of an organization called World Without Genocide. Dr. Kennedy has spoken to nearly 75,000 people since the organization’s start in 2006. According to their website, their goal is to “protect innocent people around the world; prevent genocide by combating racism and prejudice; advocate for the prosecution of perpetrators; and remember those whose lives and cultures have been destroyed by violence.”
Dr. Kennedy shared a personal story of a threatening anonymous email she received. She told students that Jewish citizens, just like herself, are the victims of many forms of harassment and other hateful actions. She provided additional statistics regarding the discrimination against the Jewish community that continues to happen today.
A break-out room was followed by Dr. Kennedy’s speech. Each student was asked to write one piece of information they found shocking from the information that Dr. Kennedy provided. Additionally, they wrote down a question they were interested in investigating.
Psychiatrist Dr. Steve Sailzberg spoke after Dr. Kennedy. He currently works with and helps many survivors of trauma. He spoke about his uncle’s and father’s time in labor camps during the Holocaust. By a miracle, both men made it out alive.
The third and final speaker of the event was Holocaust survivor Martha Weiman. She told the story of her family’s journey during World War II. While she was only a child during this time, she was still able to recall certain memories that will forever stick with her.
By listening to the guest speakers’ experiences and stories, students were able to learn more about Jewish culture.
Junior Christopher Dattoli said that the event gave him “a better understanding of the troubles the Jewish people face in the modern day.”
The deeply-rooted hatred of Jews by some dates back to many years ago. “During World War II, boys in Germany belonged to an organization called Hitler Youth, and the girls belonged to Bund Deutscher Madel,” said Dr. Kennedy. She described these groups as “Nazi organizations that taught the teens to hate non-Aryans, people with disabilities, and people who didn’t support the Nazis.”
Dr. Kennedy emphasized how hate is deeply-rooted in modern society. She explained what happens when people do not stand up to hate: the cycle continues.
She said, “It starts when people are young; parents teach children that they are ‘better’ than other people, that other people are less deserving, and then discrimination builds and endures for their lifetimes.”