According to LNP | Diane M. Bitting, LancasterOnline correspondent. The language Lindemuth used was condemned by citizen speakers at later meetings. Board chairman Terry Seiders issued a general apology at the start of the Jan. 11 board meeting, Bitting reported. But at a Feb. 22 school board meeting, “three people noted that it’s been 63 days since Lindemuth’s comment, and she hasn’t apologized yet,” Bitting noted. Lindemuth is a Republican who won the election in November with the support of the local Republican party.
Danielle Lindemuth said this at a school board meeting in December that some Elizabethtown residents found appalling: “We discriminate against students who can’t get vaccinated or students who ethically don’t won’t take the vaccine, and we put a little star on their chest.
No wonder they were appalled.
This language is despicable and scandalously ignorant.
Here’s a pro tip for the chosen ones — and for everyone, really. This is what the Holocaust and slavery can be compared to: absolutely nothing.
No mask requirements. No vaccination orders. Not just any modern US government law or measure.
The Holocaust and slavery were singularly horrific atrocities. Nothing in contemporary American life compares to them.
Here’s another pro tip: If you’re responsible for deciding how history should be taught in a school district, you actually need to know the history.
And if you’re looking to grant victim status to someone or a group — like college students who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 — knowing the story is essential.
Because then you would understand why the Holocaust, and the terrifying and inhuman that preceded it, were so particularly abominable.
If you understood the story, you might also know that polio was eliminated in the United States through vaccination, and vaccines were often given in American schools, a convenience most parents appreciated.
In fact, as Education Week noted in October, “In the struggles against diphtheria and poliomyelitis in the 1920s and 1950s, respectively, schools played a central role. They held information sessions, coordinated with local civic groups and the media, and built trust in their communities. Experts saw the influence of teachers, principals, superintendents and other educators not only as helpful, but crucial.
Establishing trust seems to us to be an essential element of leadership. Do you know how to quickly lose people’s trust? Make outrageous claims comparing common-sense school quarantine protocols to the Nazi practice of forcing Jews to wear stars on their chests.
Let’s review the history of these particular stars.
According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Reinhard Heydrich – a senior Nazi German official who helped plan and execute the mass murder of Jews – decreed on September 1, 1941 that all Jews over the age of 6 in Germany, Alsace, Bohemia and Moravia and the territory annexed by West Germany from Poland were required to wear the yellow Star of David on their outer garments in public at all times. The word “Jew” was to be inscribed inside the star in German or the local language.
“During the Nazi era, German authorities reintroduced the Jewish badge as a key part of their larger plan to persecute and ultimately annihilate the Jewish population of Europe,” the museum’s website notes. “They used the badge not only to stigmatize and humiliate the Jews, but also to isolate them, to monitor and control their movements and to prepare for their deportation.”
We know, of course, what happened when Jews wearing these stars were deported to Nazi killing centers. Six million Jews were massacred. “The Nazis targeted all Jews to kill them, but the death rate among children was particularly high,” the museum’s website notes. “Only 6-11% of the prewar Jewish population of European children survived, compared to 33% of adults.”
Words fail to express the heinous cruelty of the Holocaust.
In stark contrast, one school district’s quarantine protocols are meant to keep children healthy.
To see? Nowhere near the same.
We urge Danielle Lindemuth to visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. While in Washington, D.C., she was also able to attend the Slavery and Freedom exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture – so she could learn why slavery shouldn’t either. be invoked as a metaphor. In case.
In the meantime, Lindemuth must apologize.
As Elizabeth Lewis of Elizabethtown points out in a letter to the editor published today, Lindemuth’s comment comparing “the events of the Holocaust with contact tracing and the quarantine of students in the area school district of Elizabethtown continues to harm the community, trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust and perpetuate anti-Semitism.
Lewis notes that others — like Republican U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — who have used similar language have apologized. “Unfortunately,” notes Lewis, “Lindemuth did not.”
The first-time school board member should not be allowed to ignore the seriousness of their offense. As Lewis writes, such remarks perpetuate anti-Semitism, and here’s how: they diminish the Jewish experience and the extent of the loss suffered by Jews in Europe. And they downplay the dangers of anti-Jewish rhetoric by seeking to make such rhetoric acceptable in public spaces such as school board meetings.
When the horrors of the Holocaust are trivialized, those who enabled those horrors are relieved of their moral obligation to make amends, and those who want to emulate the perpetrators are given the green light to do so.
It is by knowing the history that we prevent this from happening. This is why teachers must be allowed to teach history, and why school librarians must be allowed to put books on their library shelves that tell history honestly.
We imagine there are books on the shelves of the Elizabethtown area school district library that could educate Lindemuth on this subject. She should read them.