As antisemitism grows in the United States, the son of a Holocaust survivor is emphasizing the importance of teaching young people about the horrors of what happened to Jews at the hands of the Nazis.
Elisha Wiesel joined “American’s Newsroom,” Monday, to discuss the need to bring back the book “Night”, written by his father Elie Wiesel, to classrooms and how proper education can help fight antisemitism.
Wiesel said students must be able to learn and ask questions about “the unbelievable terrors of the Nazi regime that were inflicted upon the Jewish people.”
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In a USA Today op-ed last week, Wiesel wrote, “I encourage teachers to assign ‘Night’ and to invite their students to engage in hard conversations and ask impossible questions about evil and humanity. I invite adults to read the book and to ask hard questions of themselves and others as well.”
“If my father’s story grips you, understand that the Holocaust did not happen in a vacuum. Learn and confront the tragic history of antisemitism and the blood libel, the centuries-old accusation that Jews murder the innocent. And learn who my father was. My father testified to the world that Holocaust deniers should be known as enemies of truth and decency. And now I ask you to bear witness.”
Wiesel said he, like his late father, believes in students and encourages critical thinking.
He then directed a message to school districts that may have removed the book from its required reading lists.
“This is the moment to pause, take a deep breath and say, ‘Why did we do that?’ Let’s put ‘Night’ back into the curriculum, because the messages are key. But I want students to study not only my father’s words in ‘Night.’ I want them to study his actions. He stood by Israel. He believed that Israel was the only guarantee against a second Holocaust ever occurring, and he also believed in peace with the Palestinians in 2006, convincing Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert to pursue that goal.”
Wiesel said educators are failing students by not assigning the book, which results in kids being influenced by what they are seeing on social media apps like TikTok.
“To go through life and simply take what you see in a TikTok video or Instagram and say, ‘oh my God, people are suffering. Israel has dropped bombs, therefore Israel must be evil,’ is such intellectual shorthand that students deserve better,” said Wiesel, stressing that students be taught the full scope of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the beginning.
“There’s a lot of facts that need to be absorbed,” said Wiesel.
“I realize that there are many shocking things (in ‘Night’), that there is such terrorism there. It’s hard to read. It’s hard to stomach. Unfortunately, I think students need to realize it, because it’s happening right now.”
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Fox News’ Beth Bailey contributed to this report
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