Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Student Speeches Part 2

Up next is Steven Perlack, who I had the pleasure of teaching in one of my Holocaust classes this year.

Good evening, I’m Steven Perlack and I would like to start off by saying that it is an honor to stand here before you tonight.
In my twelve years of education within the public school system, I have learned and, because of this trip, have now seen firsthand that a textbook can only teach you so much. It is not the directive of mankind to sit idly by from a distance and observe while evil takes place. Instead, we as a society must take pains to immerse ourselves in history, to attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible, and to see with our own eyes the full extent of totalitarian Fascism let loose on the world. Only a perfect storm caused by insanity’s occupation in a seat of power could conspire to allow such a calamity and such a black stain on the mark of humanity as the Holocaust to occur. I have had the rare privilege to visit the locations where such evil took place. This trip has given myself and 13 others a glimpse into the past and into the fleeting moments of millions of people’s lives who, in a cascade of seemingly instantaneous changes, were removed from their homes, their families, their communities, and their places of worship to be brought to places where even angels surely fear to tread. After seeing these places, I cannot help but feel as though they are sacred to all of mankind, and that they should be forever remembered, in infamy, as places where almost an entire generation of human potential was ruthlessly and remorselessly erased from the Earth. This loss can never be repaired, it can never be fixed, or remedied, or compensated for. We cannot always control what happens in other lands, which is why we must work, not only as a nation, but as one human race to spread the legacy of the Holocaust throughout the world. When we succeed at this, then, and only then can we truly say “Never Again”.
Thank you

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