Monday’s online discussion was titled “Combatting Hate by Teaching the Holocaust and Other Hard Histories,” and Bridget Long, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, noted how desperately needed those lessons are.
On Saturday, a white 18-year-old gunman dressed in body armor and carrying an assault-style rifle shot 13 people in a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., killing 10. Eleven of the shooting victims were Black. The attacks are just the latest in a series of hate crimes in the country in recent years.
Long said the effects of the Holocaust “still reverberate today, not only in the Jewish community, but everywhere, and we should never, never, ever forget the horror of those acts, but importantly know that hate still exists today, and it can touch all of us.”
“We cannot sit silently by,” Long added. “We need to know our history and to confront the fact that evil exists, and it thrives when good people do nothing. We must all condemn hate in the strongest possible terms and work at both individual and national and international levels to confront this malice.”
The afternoon event, part of the School’s Askwith Education Forum series, focused on “the power of personal narrative and personal identity as a tool for teaching and understanding history,” and featured cast members from the 2021 documentary “Undeniable: The Truth to Remember.” The film follows Holocaust survivors as they share their stories with a group of Texas high school students.
The project began as an attempt to “educate people about the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust,” said the film’s producer Tom Werner, who is also the chairman of the Boston Red Sox. Werner echoed Long’s comments, noting that hate crimes “still exist today,” and said the Buffalo shooter’s racist manifesto could have been lifted from “Mein Kampf,” Adolf Hitler’s 1925 autobiography tracing the evolution of his antisemitic and racist ideology, which would later be embraced by the Nazi Party.
Lamenting the fact that “the Holocaust is probably not taught in the majority now of high schools in America,” Werner said education is “the most powerful way you can combat hate crimes.”