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Students at Owatonna High School have the opportunity to learn about events occurring with the Holocaust

January 24, 2023

Owatonna High School provides a Holocaust class taught by Mr. Patrick Churchill. Mr.Churchill is a history teacher at the high school. Throughout the class, students are taught a variety of events that tie together with the Holocaust such as, what the Jewish community went through and what their journeys were while they got sent to the concentration camps in the ghettos. Students also have the opportunity to watch real life documentaries and movies about what people’s lives were like, they also get to read a book published by a survivor of the Holocaust.

It goes further than antisemitism in my class, I try to incorporate all different sorts of people and how they are treated.”

— Patrick Churchill

In the class students learn about the sufferment the Jewish people at concentration camps lived through. Students also learn about the story behind what truly happened during the Holocaust and who was involved in this historic event. Senior Kinzie Carlson’s grandmother was born during the time period that the Holocaust occurred and knew people who lived through the trauma. 

Mr.Churchill said, “It goes further than antisemitism in my class, I try to incorporate all different sorts of people and how they are treated. In the last two weeks of the class we work on an anti discrimination project of different cultures and races here in the United States. I hope students pick up on some of the similarities of things going on, and things being said. They can see how it connects with what happens in the 1930’s in Germany. If they see the similarities between the two they can have a better understanding of trying to stop it, which did not happen in Germany.”

Carlson said, “I absolutely do not think we should continue to give celebrities who make anti-semitic jokes a platform. The Kanye situation is ridiculous. I understand he’s going through mental health issues; but that is no excuse to make the comments he did.”

Mr.Churchill has taught the Holocaust class for two years at OHS and 12 years at the previous high school he taught for. He teaches it because he believes it’s important for people to know what happened during that time.

Mr.Churchill said, “ I feel there has been an underbelly that has risen up and has come more out in the open, and I think that’s what we are seeing now. More people are being upfront about it, it’s always been there under the surface but lately it has risen a lot more.”

Throughout Mr.Churchill’s class students get to see some gruesome content about the Holocaust and events surrounding that subject. 

Mr.Churchill said, “ I tell the kids that in this class you will see some pretty horrible, hard to watch stuff. That they’re gonna see stuff that makes their stomach turn, and hopefully this has an impact on how they look and treat other people.” Students in Mr.Churchill’s class perspective has greatly changed since taking the Holocaust class. 

Senior Kinzie Carlson said, “After taking this class it changed my perspective on how serious and gruesome it was.” 

Since learning about the holocaust it made me more emotional about the events that happened. I also learned about people’s experiences and what happened to them.”

— Emmie Krause

Carlson and Senior Emmie Krause were both two students taking Churchill’s Holocaust class. Krause said, “Since learning about the Holocaust it made me more emotional about the events that happened. I also learned about people’s experiences and what happened to them. I believe this class should continue to be taught because the events that happened occurred to innocent people, and no one deserves to go through that.”

Learning about the severity of the events that happened to the Jewish community during the Holocaust class is just one of the lessons that gets taught. Antisemitism is a rising issue in America, students get taught about the horrifying events that happened to the Jewish community at the time. Although the events happened decades ago the Jewish community is still affected by the events today.

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