The infamous photo of University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann posing with a student dressed as a suicide bomber (broken on this blog) was covered in the Scrapbook section of last week's Weekly Standard. This week's issue carries a letter from former New York City mayor Ed Koch and Rafael Medoff of the David S. Wyman Institute of Holocaust Studies in Washington, D.C. It makes the historically accurate, and altogether chilling, connection between contemporary practices by some in the Middle East with those of some Germans in the 1930s. In both cases, parents were eager to sacrifice their children to a pernicious, racist, and death-loving ideology.
Here's the text of their letter:
Your Nov. 13 Scrapbook item about a University of Pennsylvania student who dressed up for Halloween as an Arab suicide bomber mentioned that "sympathizers of suicide-bombers in the Middle East routinely show solidarity with their 'freedom fighters' by dressing children up in the same type of costumes, complete with plastic dynamite and fake AK-47s." Today's Arab terrorists are not the first to encourage children to take part in violence. At a press conference in 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt pointed out that one of the most frightening omens of German aggression was the message of militarism and martyrdom the Nazis were imparting to German children. To illustrate his point, FDR told an anecdote about a little German boy so inculcated with Nazi propaganda that each night he prayed, "Dear God, please permit it that I shall die with a French bullet in my heart." Not many people paid attention to those warning signs in the 1930s. Will our generation repeat that mistake?
New York, N.Y.
The David S. Wyman Institute
for Holocaust Studies