In response to an October 24 editorial published in the Colorado Springs Gazette, ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin and other Jewish community leaders submitted the following letter to the editor:
In 2020, we proudly advocated for the passage of a bill that was signed into law requiring the satisfactory completion of a course that included Holocaust and genocide studies as a condition of high school graduation in public schools in Colorado. Following their liberation from concentration camps, former prisoners used the slogan, “Never Again,” to capture the aspiration that no peoples should ever again go through the horrors they experienced during the Holocaust.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum defines the Holocaust as, “the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators.” In the process of adopting guidelines to be used for Holocaust and genocide education, State Board of Education Member Steve Durham initially did not want the term “Nazi” to be used; instead, he favored only using the German regime’s full name, the “National Socialist German Workers Party.” We are thankful to Durham that he relented to requests that “Nazi” be included. The best opportunity to fulfill the aspiration of Never Again is to accurately portray history and teach our youth how to learn from that history.
Your recent editorial, “State board is right; Hitler was a socialist,” unnecessarily politicizes Holocaust and genocide education, and ignores the racist and authoritarian principles of the Nazi party. A master of propaganda, Hitler used whatever means possible to advance his antisemitic animus. That is why one can find quotes where he asserted Jews were capitalists, while at the same time there are even more quotes where he vociferously asserted they were communists.
Using the guidelines for Holocaust and genocide education as a strawman for your opposition to the views of activists on the left and today’s socialists does a disservice to the students who will be learning those lessons.
Scott Levin, Mountain States Anti-Defamation League
Rabbi Jay Strear, JEWISHcolorado
Dan Leshem, Jewish Community Relations Counsel
Rabbi Emily Hyatt, Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors