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Tags: Education | Israel | eichmann | european | texas

Texas School Director's Ignorance Provides a Chance for Review of 'Good vs. Evil'

adolf eichamann and other leading nazis

Photos of leading Nazis who attended the infamous "Wannsee Conference," in an exhibiton room at Villa Marlier on Jan. 16, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. On Jan. 20, 1942 Villa Marlier hosted the "Wannsee Conference," in which 15 leading Nazis, including Adolf Eichmann, agreed to launch the mass deportation of European Jews to death camps in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Micah Halpern By Monday, 18 October 2021 02:35 PM Current | Bio | Archive

There is good and there is evil.

The Holocaust was evil and so is denying the Holocaust. Just plain evil. The Nazi campaign to murder the Jews of Europe and then, from there, to eventually murder all the Jews in the world is a true historical event.

Auschwitz/Birkenau was a factory of death. So were Treblinka and Sobibor and Chelmno, Belzec and Majdanek.

The prime objective of these camps was to murder. That’s it, nothing more. They were not concentration camps or work camps, they were death camps.

Those who deny the Holocaust are historically wrong.

More than that, they are morally wrong.

NBC News ran a piece, which has been picked up by other media, about a Texas school district instructing teachers to teach the opposing view if they teach about the Holocaust.

Teachers were also instructed to offer opposing views if they discuss books about the Holocaust. Even children’s books. Their libraries, they were told, should stock these books.

Gina Peddy, the school Carroll district director of curriculum and development is quoted in the NBC piece. The quote comes from an audio tape which was recorded by one of the teachers present in the session. And she said: "Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979,"

In mentioning 3979, Peddy was referring to a new Texas law that requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing "widely debated and currently controversial" issues.

And then she continued, punctuating her point: "And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives."

To call this simply absurd is to minimize its significance and to debase the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust.

The teachers asked questions, they wanted the school district director of curriculum and development to clarify her remarks.

One teacher asked: "How do you oppose the Holocaust?"

Well, I can answer that.

The opposing views of the Holocaust are those held by deniers, a group composed of the uninformed, uneducated, and those who are anti-Semitic.

Holocaust deniers fall into two groups. Those who want to sterilize the Germans and those who use denial as a vehicle to deny Israel’s right to exist. According to their argument, if Israel was created because of the Holocaust then, it follows that if there was no Holocaust, Israel has no right to exist.

For the Texas school district, this is a tempest in a teapot.

I read Texas House Bill 3979. Gina Peddy mis-read it.

Section 2, which is the section she quotes from, speaks to current events, not historical facts. The entire section of the bill reads: "teachers who choose to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs shall, to the best of their ability, strive to explore such issues from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective."

The Holocaust is not a controversial historical issue.

The author of the bill made it very clear, politely so, that this instruction was absurd.

In an interview State Sen. Bryan Hughes, who authored Senate Bill 3, emphasized that the bill was not about "good and evil." It was not about purging books that teach about the Holocaust. According to Senator Hughes: "That’s not what the bill says … I’m glad we can have this discussion to help elucidate what the bill says, because that’s not what the bill says."

To not be misunderstood, people have the right to be wrong and people have the right to hold ideas and beliefs that are wrong. But, they cannot and should not teach inaccurate and immoral things.

The Holocaust is not a debated or debatable subject.

Nazis who have stood trial admitted to their crimes. The  trial of Adolf Eichmann, a leading Holocaust organizer, in Jerusalem, in the very early 1960s, was so long and so drawn out for exactly that reason. Trial Prosecutor Gideon Hausner wanted to record, in official legal documents, the history of the Nazi murder of European Jews.

The end result of that intention is a transcript of 107 sessions held over 13 months, between April of 1961 through May of 1962, bound into five gargantuan volumes.

The Eichmann trial in Jerusalem was a public trial. The accused was known as "The Man in the Glass Booth." Adolf Eichmann was kept behind bulletproof glass out of fear of attempted assassination attempts.

Eichmann was responsible for transporting Jews to their deaths.

He took pride in his work and in his efficiency.

Hannah Arendt watched the trial and reported on the proceedings for the New Yorker magazine. The  result was five long and deeply insightful articles. Within the year, those articles were released as the classic work "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil."

The world became a different place because of the Holocaust.

Before it, no one could have imagined the depths of depravity and murder to which one group could sink. No one could have imagined the enormity, the numbers, of people who were sought out and systematically murdered. No one would ever have imagined that machinery would be built to murder innocent people more efficiently.

Learning about the Holocaust — learning about all evil, should, hopefully, make us better as human beings. Denying the Holocaust will, undoubtedly, transform our world from a better place into an evil and worse place.

In a way, we owe a debt of gratitude to a school district director who — inadvertently and out of ignorance misunderstood a law that should have been so obvious — for allowing us to revisit the concept of good versus evil.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.

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Learning about the Holocaust, learning about all evil, should, hopefully, make us better as human beings. Denying the Holocaust will, undoubtedly, transform our world from a better place into an evil and worse place.
eichmann, european, texas
Monday, 18 October 2021 02:35 PM
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