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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Introduction
My name is Miss Tremlett. I am a fourth grade teacher at Brophy Elementary School. I’m honored to be working with Framingham Public Schools to spread awareness around this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This Thursday, January 27th, 2022 marks 80 years since the antisemitic events of the Holocaust. This holds special significance for myself and my family as my grandmother, Eva Schuster, was a Holocaust survivor. Growing up, I heard my grandmother share her story of survival over and over again. As a young Jewish girl, it was hard for me to understand the antisemitism involved in my family’s survival. I questioned why my identity as a Jewish person was something to be discriminated against. Most importantly, what stuck with me was the lesson my grandmother learned throughout her lived experience in Berlin, Germany. She used to tell our family that the biggest lesson she learned was, “Not all mankind is bad and you should always have hope. Hope will allow you to survive.” 

About International Holocaust Remembrance Day
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated on January 27, marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest concentration camp and extermination center created by Nazi Germany. On this day, communities commemorate the six million Jewish people and millions of other victims who perished due to the actions carried out by the Nazis and their collaborators. The Anti-Defamation League encourages us to embrace the somber day as a learning opportunity for our community. Spanish philosopher George Santayana’s words, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” underscore the importance of reflecting on the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides and connecting them to the present. 

The need for these lessons is even more urgent today as incidents related to antisemitism and extremism are on the rise. Framingham’s Temple Beth Sholom was defaced with a couple of swastikas as recently as this past September, K-12 schools across the country have been impacted by other hateful graffiti, and there have been other high-profile incidents in Massachusetts where students and community leaders use Holocaust terminology inappropriately, whether in football plays or comparisons to COVID-19 precautions

January 27th is an opportune time to create awareness about the Holocaust, to help educate the community about antisemitism, and to help build inclusive school communities. 

Please see below for a variety of resources to initiate or further conversations in your homes:

Read Alouds (Good for Elementary Students)

Virtual Resources, Videos, and On-Demand Webinars

News Articles

Want to further the discussion at home? Here are some conversation starters to build awareness that supports Jewish classmates, teachers, and community members:

  • What do you think it means to be Jewish?
  • What do you think 'antisemitism' means? (Then take a look at this Instagram Post by @BlairImani)
  • What concerns do you have about antisemitism or other forms of hate in our country and community? 
  • Have you seen or heard any antisemitic remarks or symbols in your community? What about online? 
  • How do you respond and/or how would be best to respond?
  • How might antisemitism be connected to other forms of hate and prejudice?
  • What questions are you still sitting with about antisemitism? 
  • Have you read any books that include Jewish people, Jewish holidays and traditions, or Jewish Inventors? (Did you know the first video game console was created by Ralph Baer, a Jewish Inventor and Holocaust Survivor?)
  • What are some ways that your family could learn about other cultures, traditions, and religions?

Instagram Accounts to Follow

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an opportunity to better understand how bias and persecution escalates violent division and how this historical event can teach us to be active stewards of a more just world. Though we are highlighting this day and sharing resources, it is important to remember the Holocaust is important every day of the year. It is not just about recalling a singular global atrocity, but about recommitting ourselves to fighting all forms of hate for good.

In Framingham, we are so fortunate to have many identities, testimonies, histories, and narratives in our community. What makes our community special are the many ways in which we are the same and different. We can honor each other and our community by learning more about each other every day.

Framingham Public Schools is committed to sharing relevant, timely, educational information related to cultural, celebratory, or historical occasions, as well as, expanding community awareness on these topics. Thanks so much to Miss Tremlett for elevating this and sharing her personal story and resources with the community. If you have something to add or that you would like to share with the community, please email communications@framingham.k12.ma.us.

Main Source for Resources: International Holocaust Remembrance Day Email for Educators from the Anti-Defamation League