For the past two weeks, we’ve been learning in Global Studies about the how the seeds of World War II – and the rise of Hitler in 1934 – were sewn in the treaty that ended World War I and in the history of Anti-Semitism in Europe. In Thursday’s class we watched oral history interviews of Holocaust survivors who were children when Hitler was first named Chancellor of Germany in 1933. We also watched a video that concluded with a comment on “how fragile our institutions are, in the face of angry crowds and a leader willing to feed anger and exploit fears.”
Students were asked to journal on why this is important to learn about, and here is the collected wisdom excerpted from their entries. I look forward to hearing from those who were absent.
Drew– I think it’s important because there are a lot of hate groups and the president is more defending them than saying how bad they are and if people stay passive we might end up in a world where hate groups are ok.
Lola– If people get really angry or afraid It can be easy for whole governments and institutions to crumble especially if they have a leader who fuels their anger and fear. This is important to keep in mind in times like these to stand up for our democracy and our rights.
Lucille – This information is more relevant than it has ever been before because it is important to look back on history and acknowledge the mistakes we have made in the past to make a difference in the future.
Zoe – I think this is important because not a lot of people understand how easily anything can fall or be destroyed.
Lorelei – I think it’s important that we learn about it because we should know how easily our government could fall apart.
Reese – I think it’s important because if people don’t know how easily this can happen, the public will be more susceptible to a leader like Hitler.
Dylan – I think this is important because even the strongest of institutions can crumble in the face of crisis.
Sumeya– Even the most solid institution can crash and burn if the public fear is big enough ,they can be blinded into supporting and participating in atrocities.
Mia – Without a knowledge of the past, how can we avoid repeating history in the future?
Luna: When people are afraid they are sometimes willing to sacrifice their fundamental rights for the illusion of safety. We cannot give any leader this power over us and our rights, especially not Donald Trump.
Zola – Because of everything that is happening in our world today, a lot of people are making mistakes and we need to be careful to avoid making the same mistakes people made years ago.
Sada – This is important so we can protect the institutions we care about and will keep us safe, so we won’t be one of those people in the angry crowds, fed by fear and anger.
Sadie– I think learning about this is important so we can try to prevent things like this from happening in the future.
Georgia– I think that events like these are super important to learn about because if we learn about it now then we will stop it from happening in the future.
Kyla– It is important to learn about these major event so when we notice that something like this is going to happen again we can use our rights to stop it from happening.
Ava L.- This is important to learn about and consider today because some of the things that were happening during Hitler’s rise to power are happening now. For example, Hitler was blaming Jewish immigrants for Germany’s misfortune, just as Trump is blaming Mexican and Muslim immigrants for all of America’s problems.
Delaney– It’s important to acknowledge the past to consider what’s happening today in the government, and know it’s starting to happen already. To know the past you can stop this fear/anger from going any further.
Faith – “A leader willing to feed their anger and exploit their fears” … The part that really gets me is “a leader.” A leader is a person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. A person that others look up to and that people are supposed to follow, a person that people trust. How is a person supposed to lead and have tactics like Hitler?
Ava K– Hitler rose to power because he brought out the worst in people. It was their fear and anger that helped him into office and later gain full power over Germany.
Chloe– if we don’t learn about our history and or past mistakes, how will we avoid repeating it in the future?
Aislin– We need to learn our history, think about what we did that was good, think about what we did that was bad and learn from our mistakes and see how we can improve and develop ourselves. This is also important to learn and consider today because the institutions of the country could start breaking down and fall apart. These institutions – schools, courts, banks, libraries – are all like a chain, each part of government needs other parts of government in order to be balanced.
Karina – We need to learn how to recognize, prevent and address it.
Adriana– I think that it’s very important to learn about what happened in our history because we can learn from those mistakes of how and why it happened and not repeat it again in the future, especially now with the president that we have.
Alexa – Everyone should be able to learn about important parts in history that cannot be replaced. We also need to learn from a wrongdoing in history to use our conscience and learn what is wrong and right so it’s not repeated again.
Ada– It is important to learn from our mistakes and how people’s feelings and frustration can get in the way of seeing the truth.
Claire – If we don’t learn about this crucial period in our history, we risk making the same mistake again, and we could crumble the system of the world, piece by piece. It is important to remember what happened so we can move on and never repeat this part of history.
Erica – “History is bound to repeat itself.” Let’s not have it repeat so soon. Never blame a whole group for one person’s mistakes. And DON’T BE A NAZI SUPPORTER.
Ally – People get so consumed by anger that they stop thinking about the outcomes of their actions, and how what they do affects other people. We need to learn not to let anger and hate control what we do.
Brooklyn– I don’t think that just because something like this happened in the past doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. Our government today has been dealing with a lot of protests and rallies with people who our scared and angry and our government may be willing to “ feed our anger and exploit fears.”
Grace – The more informed we are about the past, the better we can affect the future as we gain more of a political voice and responsibility.
A trunk containing artifacts, fiction and nonfiction books, primary documents and videos will arrive from the Holocaust Center for Humanity today. You are encouraged to ask students what questions they have about this topic in the coming weeks, and to share them with me! Also read the letter this week from our Humanities team regarding this unit of study.