An article on the AccessNorthGa.com website, which you can read in full here, has this headline: South Hall 6th graders learn about the Holocaust.
This quote is from the article:
Fifty sixth graders at South Hall Middle School Thursday morning learned about the Holocaust of World War Two from someone who saw it first hand.
Retired army general Russel Weiskircher was a 20-year-old soldier when he helped liberate Dachau, the Nazi death camp, 66 years ago at the close of the war in Europe.
As vice chairman of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, he said his mission is to educate, and encourage young people never to hate.
Weiskircher said most students he talks to have never heard of Dachau.
The Commission is a state agency that uses the lessons of the Holocaust to teach about injustice, stereotyping, discrimination and bigotry so that the Holocaust will never be repeated.
Why should 6th graders in America learn about Dachau? Should 6th graders be taught that prisoners were sent to Dachau because of injustice, stereotyping, discrimination and bigotry? Will teaching young children about Dachau cause them to love everybody, or will it teach them to hate the ethnic group that set up the Dachau camp?
Shouldn’t American students be learning about the internment camps in America where Japanese-Americans and German-Americans were imprisoned? Some say that the 5th Amendment rights of these American citizens were violated. The students could learn history and government at the same time if they were taught about the American internment camps.
There has been a lot of news recently about the Japanese-American soldiers who fought for America during World War II. There are many claims by Japanese-American veterans that they liberated Dachau. That can’t be right because Russel Weiskircher claims that he was among the liberators of Dachau and he’s not Japanese-American.
Russel Weiskircher was a soldier in the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Thunderbird Division. This was the regiment that played a big role in the liberation of Dachau. In April 2007, Weiskircher spoke to students at a Catholic school in Georgia about what he saw at Dachau on April 29, 1945. This quote is from his speech:
“We were coming toward the camp and the first thing, this intense odor and then we saw bodies spewed over six acres.”
The 157th Infantry Regiment first entered the SS camp next door to the concentration camp and proceeded to kill the SS soldiers who had been sent to surrender the camp. Did Weiskircher see the bodies of Hungarian and German soldiers, that were killed during the liberation, “spewed over six acres”?
I’ve been to Dachau several times and my estimate of the size of the concentration camp is that it is about 5 acres. Other liberators have described the scene with the phrase “bodies stacked like cordwood,” but according to Weiskircher, the bodies at Dachau were “spewed over six acres.”
Weiskircher, who retired from the Army as a Brigadier General, was Vice President of the Georgia Holocaust Commission in 2007 when he gave the speech that I quoted above. (more…)