Never Again!
Kimmy Schuster

I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there\'s purpose and worth to each and every life.
-Former President Ronald Reagan

The Holocaust is a stunning reminder of hatred and prejudice towards Jews in the 20th century. It illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on a society. It forced me to examine my responsibilities of being a citizen and confront the powerful consequences of indifference and inaction. For me, this unit was intensely personal because I am half Jewish. I learned that the Holocaust was not only a Jewish tragedy, but a human tragedy. Approximately 11 million lives were lost because of cruel racial prejudice; some of them were my relatives.
During the first half of the 20th century, the Nazi Party, lead by Adolph Hitler, encouraged prejudice against Jews and other undesirables such as gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally ill, and physically disabled; those not of the Aryan race. The Nazis developed The Final Solution, a plan to eliminate all of the Jews. They decided the most efficient way to do this was to set up camps to exterminate their existence so they could not disrupt the Nazis quest for the perfect race, thus starting the tragic event we all know as, the Holocaust.
To me, the Holocaust, leading to World War II, tore our world apart, piece by piece, like a jigsaw puzzle coming undone leaving the world as folks knew it in fragmented little pieces. While the Holocaust took place in Germany, it had a profound impact on the entire world. I struggled to fully understand how people could treat other people in such a cruel and heartless manner. On my own time, I read The Diary of Anne Frank. Anne was my age when she went into hiding with her family and her famous diary. The thought of hiding in fear, in an attic, day in and day out is unfathomable and inhumane.
During this unit, I also learned about the power of leadership. Leaders have the ability to influence large numbers of people. Not all leaders use their power for the greater good. Adolph Hitler is a perfect example. His charismatic personality allowed him to engage people to join his cause, which was a serious misuse of power. In The Wave, Robert Billings thrived on this kind of negative power and propaganda. It made him feel powerful, smart and popular - very similar to Hitler. The same with David Collins, the football star, although he eventually recognized the danger in this kind of leadership and worked hard to stop The Wave. On the other hand, being a leader means sometimes you have to do the right things, even if it is difficult and not popular, as Laurie Saunders did. Taking this position was hard for her mainly because of the peer pressure. I admired her ability to do the right thing.
This unit crystallized the power of propaganda for me. It made me realize the importance of questioning things that do not seem right. In our class activity, Criminal Records, we were overpowered by propaganda. We were told that if we wanted to get the most amount of points and we should answer the questions, and we did, without thinking twice about it. I believed everything. It reminded me of the Jews and the rest of Germany on Hitlers Rise to Power. It reminded me how Hitler told all of Germany that he could lift this country up again, back to where it was before. Before this activity, I just could not believe how they all just fell for Hitlers propaganda. I thought to myself that I would never believe such a thing, that I would know when the information is the truth, and when its not. But after this activity, I realized how wrong I was. I experienced how easily anyone can fall into the trap of propaganda, and with every piece of information you get sucked in farther and farther, like a black hole. Hence, the importance of asking questions and having your own heart and mind guide your actions, even if everyone else is going in another direction.
Being Antoinette in our play, I am Called, was a powerful, surreal