Skip To Main Content
Dark photo with a line of lit candles
Dear AUSD Communities:
Remembering the Holocaust carries importance for educators and communities alike. This overwhelmingly heartbreaking period in human history was so horrific that for many, as interfaith scholar Chris Leighton has noted, “the temptations to forget, and to repress, and to just put it out of mind can be very real.”  
That’s why the Days of Remembrance --a national annual commemoration of the Holocaust -- is so vital: it provides a time for our communities and all communities who care about freedom and inclusion to reflect on the very darkest shadows in the human spirit and the moral imperative to continuously shine a light on and work to support our collective humanity.  
“We remember,” said filmmaker and curator Raye Farr, “because it is an unthinkable scar on humanity, and we need to understand what human beings are capable of.” 
We remember first the millions of victims murdered, the overwhelming majority of which were Jews, while also remembering that gay people, people with disabilities, and people in other religious minorities were also imprisoned and killed during the Holocaust, a stark underscoring of Dr. King’s often repeated observation that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  
We remember to refresh ourselves in the notion that these atrocities were partly a result of the complacency of ordinary, everyday people. We remember to remind ourselves of a collective responsibility to ask questions, to stand up for all, and not to stand by and do nothing when discrimination, injustice, hatred, or violence rears its ugly head.  
In this light, we also remember the many people who risked their own lives to save others during the Holocaust through various forms of action and intervention. 
On a local level, we have experienced instances of prejudice and ignorance expressed through hateful graffiti in our schools. These instances further support the idea that this period in our history should be remembered and taught to help prevent or undermine those expressions in the future. A short but serious family conversation could be an effective complement to the curriculum and literature our staff uses to remember these events.  
In addition, our Board of Education’s Policy Subcommittee will this spring begin an in-depth review of the policies and administrative regulations that govern school culture, school climate, and hate-motivated behavior in our schools to ensure that we are doing everything we can to create safe, inclusive spaces for all on our campuses. 
I acknowledge that it is hard to think about this painful topic.  But this week I encourage you to reflect on and talk about both what was horrific during this time and those that risked everything to help others. We have included some resources on our Tools for Family Conversations page.
Thank you for listening and remembering together.
Pasquale Scuderi