I can think of no more fitting way to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day than to be immersed in this intergenerational project, to hear about one family’s experience and the determination it has inspired for the next generation to make a difference in people’s lives. I’m humbled by the power one family, even one person, can have to create a beacon of light that attracts others to actively resist what Elie Wiesel calls the “glorification of base, ugly, dark violence.”
Pretending the Holocaust and other horrific accounts in history can be taught in a palatable way is disrespectful and dangerous, especially in our polarized world. As educators, we have a responsibility to find age-appropriate ways to teach students real truths about the Holocaust and other atrocious historical events. Students need to understand the past—with all its disturbing and uncomfortable truths—to think critically and to examine their place in society and responsibility in creating a more just and equitable world.