Friday, February 15, 2008

Children deported from France

I've found that an attempt to approach a mind-boggling manifestation of evil such as the Shoah involves a series of steps. For many years, it was an abstract event in my mind, akin to the pilot's vision of the city he has just bombarded. It wasn't until I was in my early forties, settled near the Jewish heart of Paris, that I started to acquire a more complete concrete awareness of the exact nature of Nazi monstrosities. Since then, I've been trying constantly, not to "understand" such unfathomable cases of Man's inhumanity towards his fellow men, but to resolve my conception of these events into a vast but vague philosophical context.

In asking French schoolchildren to adopt, as it were, the memory of young victims of the Shoah, Nicolas Sarkozy is no doubt inspired by fine and profound intentions. But I find that he's asking far too much of young minds, not yet capable of grasping the existence of total evil. It's a risky operation, in that nobody can know beforehand the extent to which a particular child will succeed in assimilating the horror of what happened, and how that child is likely to attempt to resolve his/her revelations. There's a danger, I believe, of traumatizing children. Visions of the Shoah are too heavy a burden for tender eyes. There's time enough, later on in life, for such images of Hell.

1 comment:

  1. In spite of the critics, Sarkozy continues. Shoah à l'école: Sarkozy a "la volonté de ne pas céder" says a title in Libération today.

    I don’t really understand where he wants to get to, but I think he has got it completely wrong.