Commentary by Sophie Quick
Where were you on Sept. 26, 2018? Our lives are busy, and it’s hard to remember that far back, but I know where many of you were four months ago: at the Eva Kor event. I distinctly remember, as I was one of the almost 4,000 people who had the opportunity to spend time with Holocaust survivor Eva Kor that day. It had been a difficult week in our Zionsville community due to recent violence and tragedy. The takeaway from Eva that day was a message of hope, healing and forgiveness for us all.
It has been yet again a difficult week in Zionsville due to a recent student event. In a photograph taken at ZCHS and posted to social media, several students appear to be gesturing in a Nazi salute.
The image goes to show that this kind of attitude and behavior always revisits humankind. The goal is to try our best to learn from the past. That is why Eva came, to share a collective memory of a terrible time in history. She came to help us talk and process, forgive and heal, move forward and remember.
When I contacted Eva to get some advice, this is what she had to say:
“Young people must take responsibility for their actions, even when their actions seem innocent. Anything that has to do with hatred or discrimination is never funny or a joke. Heil Hitler is not a joke. Hateful words and actions encourage more people to be hateful, which can lead to violence and even a Holocaust. If society doesn’t reprimand it, and if the young people who made this poor choice don’t correct it, that can create tragedies.”
Eva said she would like the boys in the photo to research what happened in Germany in the 1930s, write a paper, and send it to her at CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
She sounds like a teacher, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. She taught me to want to be better.
Keep in mind the lessons of Eva. Keep in mind our community as a whole. Keep in mind that we can all try and do better.
Sophie Quick is a sophomore at Zionsville Community High School. She earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, by inviting Holocaust survivor Eva Kor to speak in Zionsville.