Back in the day when I taught 8th graders, one of the pieces of curriculum that was required reading, which I embraced fully, was the play, The Diary of Anne Frank. Being who I am, I took the text of the play that was required and expanded it to the overall topic of Anne’s life before she was born, before she went into hiding, while she was in hiding, and after they were caught which led to her eventual death. I expanded it further to having my kids studying the Holocaust and World War II. Every now and again, some students would ask, “Why are we studying this? It happened ‘forever’ ago!”
Today, all of my kids got their answer in the most tragic of ways here in the Kansas City area. This day before Passover, a shooter, allegedly Glenn Frazier Cross, 73, shot and killed people at two Jewish facilities—One a Jewish Community Center and the second at an Assisted Living Center affiliated with the Jewish community. As of 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, three people have been reported as fatalities: Two at the Community Center and one at the Assisted Living Center (Smith 1).
The alleged shooter was reported to have declared, “Heil Hitler!” as he was being arrested and put into custody (Smith 1). The authorities are investigating this incident as an alleged Hate Crime.
President Barack Obama issued a statement: "This afternoon we heard reports of a horrific shooting in Overland Park, Kansas," the President's statement said. "Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends who lost a loved one and everyone affected by this tragedy. I have asked my team to stay in close touch with our federal, state and local partners and provide the necessary resources to support the ongoing investigation. While we do not know all of the details surrounding today’s shooting, the initial reports are heartbreaking. I want to offer my condolences to all the families trying to make sense of this difficult situation and pledge the full support from the federal government as we heal and cope during this trying time" (www.KMBC.com 1).
So back to my kids’ original question: Why are we studying the Holocaust? Ancient history? Not so much! This is proof positive that anti-Semitism still exists today, in 2014. Why do we study the Holocaust? To make sure NOTHING like that ever happens again!
“President Obama Issues Statement on Deadly Shootings in Overland Park: 3 Killed in Shootings on Sunday.” www.KMBC.com April 13, 2014.
Smith, DeAnn. “Man Yells 'Heil Hitler' After Fatally Shooting 3 at Jewish Centers.” www.KCTV5.com April 13, 2014.