Reader's view: Newspaper missed chance for Holocaust education
The News Tribune can be thanked for publishing the story, “Holocaust survivor recalls escape from Nazi Germany,” on April 27. This was “Yom Ha Shoah,” the day to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. We can all be grateful there are survivors who can tell their stories and that these stories are remembered.
At the University of Minnesota Duluth, the Baeumler Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration Committee has been fortunate to bring many survivors to Duluth-Superior to present their stories at annual Holocaust commemoration events. During the past 25 years, 15 survivors addressed the public, UMD students, and, often, community groups and public-school classes.
Often, the News Tribune has featured speakers. Unfortunately, this was not so this year. The Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration main event April 23 did not attract the newspaper’s coverage. It was a lecture by one of the most-prolific, well-known and well-regarded authors of books for children and young adults, Jane Yolen. Not only is Yolen a Caldecott Medal winner, she has published three volumes of poetry with Duluth’s Holy Cow! Press.
While it may not have been obvious, Yolen’s topic, “The Swallows Still Fly around the Camp Chimneys: The Lasting Impressions of Holocaust Writers and Child Readers,” addressed a number of very controversial issues regarding the representation of the Holocaust to young readers. Unfortunately, the newspaper missed out on a wonderful presentation.
I’d also note the News Tribune never has reported that at each of the main events of the past 20 years of the Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration, the mayors (or, occasionally, their representatives) of Duluth and Superior have issued and personally read aloud proclamations dedicating the days of Yom Ha Shoa.
It’s noteworthy our community acknowledges the atrocities of the Holocaust in an effort to halt current heinous acts and to prevent future atrocities. It isn’t too late for the News Tribune to acknowledge the mayoral proclamations.