We all have stories we've heard about the Holocaust. This one is the one closest to my heart. One of my best friends growing up was the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. After Jews were shuffled up into Polish ghettos and harassed, she gave her daughter to her Catholic housekeeper when they started rounding up Jews to transport them to camps. It was an act of immeasurable bravery for both women, born of a mother's ferocious love of her child. Sarah, the child, even had her hair dyed blonde to throw the Nazis off, and was raised to believe she was the child of the housekeeper. Years passed where this impressionable child heard all sorts of anti-Semitic propaganda in daily life. The mother miraculously survived the concentration camps and was reunited with her daughter. The thing that haunted me even as a child was when Sarah first saw her mother, emaciated and sickly, she rejected her as a "dirty Jew." Can you imagine how heartsick that had to have made her mother? Though Sarah was loathe to speak of it later, I've no doubt it took a lot of tears and trauma for them both to get over their separation and then immigration to the US.
During her time in the camps, a fellow prisoner wrote a wistful song for Sarah's mother, about whether this hidden child would remember the sacrifices made. The last stanza of the song is: “If someday, a mother you’ll be, you must make your children aware of how we suffered under the enemy. Forget not the past, not for one single day.” That song, "The Lonely Child" is sung in synagogues all over the world to remember those sacrifices. It is the song of Sarah. Alix, Sarah's daughter and my oldest friend, is making a documentary about that song and the power of hope and the importance of remembrance. If you would like to help her and her co-producer Marc to get this film out (and certainly, the parallels to today's news couldn't be more relevant), please consider donating here.
I share this story because it was factual. Because we should never, ever forget, not for one single day that this happened because people could not see the inhumanity in front of them and fight against it. That there were those brave people who would do what they could, but as a society, not enough. I write that for the principal of Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, Florida.
A high school principal in Boca Raton, Florida, told a parent that "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened," according to email records obtained by the Palm Beach Post through a public records request.
The mother was reportedly stunned and sent a follow-up email to see if [the principal] had perhaps simply misspoken.
[The principal] implied that a robust endorsement of Holocaust education would violate his oath to be "politically neutral," adding that he does work to expose students to "certain things" without transgressing the will of individual parents.
"I can't say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee," he explained. "I do allow information about the Holocaust to be presented and allow students and parents to make decisions about it accordingly. I do the same with information about slavery, I don't take a position but allow for the information to be presented."
I literally don't know what to do with this garbage out of an educator, but I can tell you that I blame the media for this kind of sick both-siderism. You don't have the right to believe or not believe in the Holocaust. It is a fact. It happened. No one should give a rat's ass about catering to someone's denial of facts.
But the media does that every day. They choose to cater to "both sides" of an issue, even if there isn't legitimately two sides. They'll lend credence to conspiracies, innuendo and lies over championing facts. This principal (who I'm declining to name because I don't believe that doxxing him is ever justified--DON'T DO IT.) has taken the media's both-siderism to it's logical end.
And that's what we have to fight. Every. Damn. Day.
ABC's "This Week" — Kevin McAleenan, acting homeland security secretary; Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Seth Moulton, D-Mass. Panel: Matthew Dowd, Karen Travers, Perry Bacon, Jr. and Steve Inskeep
NBC's "Meet the Press" — Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas. Panel: Peter Alexander, Kimberly Atkins, Jonah Goldberg and Shawna Thomas
CBS' "Face the Nation" — Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.; former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md. Panel: Jamelle Bouie, Susan Page, Michael Gerson and David Nakamura
CNN's "State of the Union" — Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who just left the Republican Party; former Vice President Joe Biden (re-air). Panel: Mia Love, Jen Psaki, Scott Jennings and Abdul El-Sayed
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" — Special episode on leadership: Bill Gates; Doris Kearns Goodwin; Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
CNN's "Reliable Sources" — Allen Salkin and Aaron Short; Carl Bernstein; Carl Cameron. Panel: Ret. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, Catherine Rampell and Philip Bump.
"Fox News Sunday" — Cuccinelli; Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. Panel: Charles Hurt, Josh Kraushaar, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Charles Lane.
So what's catching your eye this morning?