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Today is the 70th Anniversary…

Today is the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in Germany.

What will you tell your children about it?

Writing curriculum, especially history, is both a joy and a sorrow. As I have written over the past twenty years, I have learned so much about the people who have shared this Earth experience with me, albeit at different times. I have often found myself cheering at my keyboard as I read and wrote about people who conquered injustice and their own fears.

Conversely, I remember well the months spent writing about the Holocaust. It left me grief stricken, depressed, disillusioned, angry… How could people think of such horrible things to do to other human beings – let alone carry them out!

The dilemma was how to share enough of this story with my young readers to teach them about it, without traumatizing them. I hope I did this horrific tragedy justice.

It took months for the anxiety to diminish so that I could function normally – but you cannot unring a bell and the stories of these people have changed me.

The tragedy was not just in Germany, but wherever the reach of Nazism could stretch. A dear friend of mine, Gustavo Valentini, was a young boy in Southern Italy when the war devastated his family, his community, and his country. Most Italians were not in favor of the regime and fought against Mussolini and Hitler as part of the resistance. He has written his diary of experiences that tell a story of both devastation and triumph. I only wish I had the resources to translate it into English so that my English speaking friends could read this important work.

Today marks the anniversary of the liberation of the camps. I hope I can help my teen daughter understand a little better today what happened at that time. Maybe she will learn enough to join in with others to help prevent something similar from happening in the future.

holocaust

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Released into the public domain by its author, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Belarussian State Archive of Documentary Film and Photograph.

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