Friday, April 24, 2009

No wonder the Third Reich was such a big hit.

So, this week has been pretty low key. I've spent most of my time getting back into the swing of being with the kids and being a responsible adult. The students prepped for their STAR testing next week, which will hopefully keep next week pretty low key too.

However, one of the Humanities classrooms that I frequent was watching a documentary on the Third Reich and the start of WWII. I had never seen adequate footage of Hitler speaking before, and to be honest, I was blown away. Granted, the man promoted unspeakable acts against a mass of people undeserving of such behavior (although no one is deserves genocide). I had always heard in passing that Hitler's movement was so popular due to his unmatched charisma and speaking ability. To my horror, I watched this man speak and despite the impending doom he spoke of and the fact that it was in German, I was moved by the power.

Yes, this sounds sick to say, but I can't deny what I saw. The hundreds of thousands of people swept into this "extraordinary" club of Aryan Germans that seemingly blindingly pledged allegiance to this man's decrees. It was intense and astonishing.

I in no way promote or advocate what Hitler did, but I feel as though I understand more now why things happened. My heart went out to the Jews being shoved into the streets to scrub sidewalks, those shoved in dark, dank boxcars to be shipped off to concentration camps where they would become no more than the numbers tattooed on their arms, and then faceless corpses in a ditch.

Nevertheless, so much pain and so much anguish makes me appreciate who I am, and all that I have. I do not like that it is another's pain I look to to remind me of why my life is precious, but what else can we do but learn from the past and glean some sort of hope for the future? I only hope that I can give such an understanding to the students I teach. If I do nothing else with the rest of my life, that will be enough.

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