We are high school students from Sun Valley Community School enrolled in the History of the Holocaust course that our school offers. Last Tuesday, we were present in that class when we heard the horrific news of the vandalism of the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise. We sat in stunned silence as we scrolled through pictures showing the nine swastika stickers placed around the memorial and the words “we are everywhere.”
This hate not only shows an immense amount of disrespect and threat toward the Jewish community of Idaho but to Jewish communities everywhere. Unfortunately, this is not the first time an act of hate has been executed against the Jewish community of Idaho.
In 2017, a four-night anti-Semitic vandalism spree caused $20,000 worth of damage to the city of Boise. Our class when learning of this most recent hate crime toward the Jewish community was disgusted and we felt like we could not stay silent. We are writing this with respect for and in solidarity with the Jewish community of Idaho and Jewish communities across the globe, and with the hope of spreading Holocaust education and anti-Semitic awareness.
We are grateful that Gov. Brad Little spoke out against this issue and showed his solidarity with the Jewish community, and we implore other members in our community to do the same. As a class, we are writing a letter of support for and in solidarity with the Wood River Jewish Community, and educating our school community about the events and the impacts they have on communities.
Unfortunately, hate and anti-Semitism are not going to end overnight, but even the smallest acts of compassion and solidarity can enact change toward this problem. A quote by Elie Wiesel is displayed in our classroom, and we see it every day when we walk into the room.
At the end of the course, every student in the course signs the wall to promise to speak wherever and whenever acts of injustices occur. We hope this has inspired you to do the same:
“I swear never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Julia Ott, Niki Cohen, Etienne Blumberg, Bridgette Silva, Bridget Evans and other students from the History of the Holocaust course at Sun Valley Community School.