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OC HIGH / STUDENT NEWS & VIEWS : my turn : Accepting the Past--Holocaust and All

January 27, 1994|DANA LENETZ | Dana Lenetz is a junior at Foothill High School in Santa Ana.

There is an adage that holds, "Seeing is believing." But for a group of Oakland High School students who went to see the film "Schindler's List," seeing the atrocities of the Holocaust seemed merely to serve as a source for a hearty laugh.

On Martin Luther King Day, 69 Oakland high-schoolers were evicted from Oakland's Grand Lake Theater after many audience members complained of the derisive laughter from the students during the matinee showing of Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List."

The movie revolves around the plight of the European Jews during World War II and business entrepreneur Oskar Schindler's successful effort to save 1,100 Jews from concentration camps and, ultimately, death.

After the eviction, school officials from Oakland said many of the students did not understand why they were asked to leave, and one chaperon even accused the theater officials of being racist.

But this incident stems far beyond racism and the politically correct mask that today's society dons with feigned interest. When society can sneer and laugh at the victimization and persecution of a people, then there is something certainly wrong.

I am livid that another person has the audacity to watch a re-enactment of a German Nazi shooting a Jewish woman point-blank in the head and claim that it was not "realistic enough."

It both insults the survivors of the Holocaust and distorts the reality of the extermination of 6 million Jews and 6 million other Europeans to claim that these students are "desensitized to violence because they see it every day" and therefore excuse their insensitivity.

As a history student, I am sad to live in a time when half of all high school students do not know what the word "holocaust" means. As a part of the next generation, I am scared that one student was flippant enough to state that "(the war and Holocaust) was a long time ago and far away and about people we never met."

The Holocaust did occur approximately 50 years ago. Yet emotionally, the pain of generations murdered and relatives lost still scars the collective heart of Jews everywhere.

Until we, as the next generation, can understand and accept our past, we can never advance into the future.

And as philosopher and writer George Santayana once poignantly stated, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Or have we already?

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