Students in a school in Oswego participating in a course called “Principles of Literary Representation”, which apparently allows them to study College-level classes, were left shocked when asked to argue in favour of the Nazi’s extermination of the Jews.
The assignment was framed as a representation of the Wannsee Conference, in which the idea of the “final solution”, the total extermination of all Europe’s Jews at the hands of the Nazis, was first fully conceived.
The assignment was presented as a “top secret” memorandum, asking students to write an internal note either in favour or against the extermination of the European Jewry in its totality, with students being assigned to argue either for or against. They were directed to use “at least 3…critical sources” to support their argument. Two students were left feeling “disturbed” and “weird” by the request and apparently contacted the ADL.
Whilst the assignment does say that it is not aimed at making them sympathetic to the Nazis, it demonstrates such a remarkable lack of judgement on the part of teaching staff that it is hard to imagine how the decision to set this assignment was made. This sort of material risks leading students to the darkest depths of the internet, where neo-Nazi websites prey on impressionable minds by twisting sparse, out-of-context prima facie facts into the most disgraceful antisemitic narratives, many of which are indeed the narratives that Hitler relied upon to make the extermination of two thirds of Europe’s Jews possible.
The assignment says that its aim was merely to expand “your point of view by going outside your comfort zone and training your brain to logistically find the evidence necessary to prove a point, even if it is existentially and philosophically against what you believe”. However, the effect of this is to present the extermination of Jews as if it is an open question, as opposed to the ultimate evil in human history, for which no conceivable justification could ever be presented.
The school district is currently investigating.