My husband and I were discussing over dinner the debacle that is the WGN graphic incident. In case you weren’t on the internet, or you don’t live in the Chicago area, while doing a story on Yom Kippur, the WGN 9 PM News used the Holocaust yellow star with Jude across the middle as their graphic to convey the Jewish holiday. The graphic also included nice blue and white striped vertical lines to suggest the prison clothes worn in the camps. I’m not going to comment on the utter stupidity or insensitivity of that graphic. I’m just going to say that the Holocaust survivors are dying off, and as much as people are aware of the atrocities they faced, there is still an enormous lack of understanding in conflating this symbol with a religious holiday.
Let’s face it, how often have you heard politicians attack each other or presidents by calling them Nazis? Is it so unusual to hear presidential candidates suggest another holocaust is inevitable if the Iran Deal passes? How often has the Israeli army been called Nazis? Are there not men of power who continue to deny the Holocaust ever occurred? If the Holocaust is thrown around so easily, is this offensive graphic really a surprise? When politicians and others throw the Holocaust around for political gains and scare tactics, it truly diminishes the impact and lessens the impact of the history it created.
My children learned about the Holocaust in Hebrew school beginning in fourth grade. In middle school, the Language Arts curriculum included a Holocaust unit. In Social Studies, they studied world religions including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. However, I live in a fairly Jewish community. It makes me wonder what students learn about the Jewish religion in areas with different ethnic backgrounds.
Perhaps there is a disconnect between who the Jewish people are and their history. By equating the Holocaust with a Jewish holiday suggests a lack of understanding and education as time marches on.