As antisemitic incidents reach an all-time high, freshmen visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

A student looking at a quote displayed in the museum
A freshman takes in a quote by Elie Wiesel at the Holocaust Memorial Museum

By Sienna Gaskin

On April 19th, York Suburban’s freshman class headed on a field trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Before they left, faculty member Mrs. Ulsh explained the purpose behind the trip. 

“They’re reading the book ‘Night’ as part of their English curriculum right now, so they will have a chance to immerse themselves in some artifacts and exhibits that help them to better understand the experience of the author of that book.”

“Night” is a memoir written by Elie Wiesel, a Jewish concentration camp survivor. Students’ perspectives on the book’s hard-hitting topics are intriguing. Neveah Ferris, one of Mrs. Ulsh’s students, regards this book as a new lens on the Second World War.

“I feel like this book proved to show how inspirational it could be, but at the same time, show how destructive and disgusting history could be.”  

Although many believe antisemitism to be a thing of the past, across the country there have been reports of a new rise in the old hatred. In 2022, the Anti-Defamation League reported that 3,697 incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault targeting Jewish people and communities occurred in the U.S.

This current pressing issue brought a greater purpose to the freshman field trip, as the museum put antisemitic views into perspective and educated students on the torturous tactics of the Nazis. Mrs. Ulsh said teachers have aimed to incorporate this current issue into class discussions as well.

“I am familiar with the recent rise in antisemitism and it’s something we will discuss throughout the course of the book, and I suspect a lot of the history teachers also touch base on throughout their unit as well.”

Overall, the freshmen had a positive experience on the field trip. Mikey Dobson elaborates on his experience at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

“It was a lot of fun going. It was also a very eye opening experience. It was a lot more interactive than what I thought it was going to be.”

The enjoyment of the freshman class can only be matched by the knowledge they took from their experience. Neveah Ferris explained after she went on the field trip how important the experience was for her.

“I very much enjoyed it, it was definitely an experience that everyone should go through. It was ten times more enlightening than what you would typically get in a classroom.”

This trip brought to light the importance of maintaining the memory of the Holocaust. Mrs. Ulsh said the museum reminds us that it’s more important than ever to listen to survivors and remember these atrocities.

“I think the experience itself can really help the book come to life for them and also bring this piece of history more depth.”

I’m Sienna Gaskin, Trojan News.