Maybe it's the potential loss of their innocence that makes me uncomfortable with the fact that my 6th graders have been researching the Holocaust during homework time all this week.
Maybe it's the fact that I've seen similar photos that have popped up on their Google images searches in pieces about the violence in Juarez right across the border. Bodies that no longer breathe life but that echo the death of not only of the Holocaust, but also of the modern genocides happening all over the world.
Maybe it's just the fact that the Holocaust was so... horrible.
I asked the girls today, "So why are you researching the Holocaust?"
"It's for our English class, Miss. We have to do a project on the Holocaust. We've been reading about it."
Another girl responds, "I think they want us to learn about it so it never happens again."
Gas chambers, swastikas...and peace signs. Those were our most popular photos that the girls printed off today for their project display boards.
Even though it's gruesome to think about and the pictures disgust me, these girls (or maybe their English teacher) are reminding me of the importance of remembrance. Painful remembrance, yes. Necessary, I think so, too.
However gruesome it is, I still find some hope in the girls' comments and how much they get disgusted with their research.
"The Nazis were such bad people. How could anyone do that?"
I wonder if some day we will look back at the violence in Mexico, the war in the Middle East, the millions dying of starvation, and think, "How could anyone do that? Let's make sure that never happens again."