Germany confronts its past, again. When is enough enough? Where in the world has one ever seen a nation that erects memorials to immortalize its own shame? This hour on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders, Jean Feraca and her guests look into Germany's new round of soul-searching at the 75th anniversary of the day Hitler and the Nazi Party took power in the country.
- Marc Silberman, professor of German, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Deborah Dwork, professor of
Holocaust History and the Director of the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University
- Tim 2/6/08: "Thank you for the program today on Germany's relationship with the Holocaust history. I was fascinated by it. I am a lawyer from New Richmond and I have dedicated the greater part of my adult life to Holocaust education. I have given a speech called 'The Holocaust -- Its Relevance Today' approximately 800 times over the past 17 years -- mostly to middle and high school students in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In my message, I use the Holocaust history to ask Americans to identify the "flames" of prejudice, racism, bias, and hate in their communities, schools, families and individual hearts. I firmly believe the Holocaust started in the hearts and minds of millions of German citizens who had tiny 'flames' burning in their hearts against Jews, the Romani, gays and lesbians, etc. I firmly believe that's where it could start again. I have had numerous German exchange students hear my message over the years, and nearly all of them have told me that they learn a great deal about the Holocaust in schools in Germany, but it is never taught to them in the way they see my message -- as a catalyst to examine their hearts and minds for elements of racism and prejudice today. In other words, it is taught in Germany as history -- the exchange students tell me it is never used to ask them to think about issues of prejudice in Germany today against foreign workers, asylum seekers, etc. I have often seen the same thing with Holocaust education in America -- I often say we are learing a great deal ABOUT the Holocaust in America, but I don't feel we are learning FROM the Holocaust. I have been to many of the Holocaust sites in Germany and am deeply moved at the extent to which the German government seeks to preserve and convey the tragic lessons of this part of Germany's history. I know of no other nation that has put such effort into sharing its shame that other might learn -- so that history will not repeat. That is why Holocaust education has become the passion of my life -- to do my part to ensure 'never again.' Thank you for a very interesting program."