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In Seventh Grade
In seventh grade we learnt about World War Two.
We learnt all the names and dates and technical details and then, being a Jewish school, we spent a unit focused on the Jewish Holocaust and the destruction that our people faced.
We learnt about ghettos and concentration camps and Nazis, and when we were done my teacher told us what a swastika is, how it is the sign of the Nazi party and organized anti-semitism now,
and then my teacher drew a swastika on the board, just so we’d know how it looked, and as soon as it was finished, she erased it, leaving a faint white smudge on the board in its place.
And to me, at thirteen years old, the Nazi party faded with the chalk dust my seventh grade history teacher brushed off her fingertips.
I’m scared to say anything else but when I watch the people who live in our country, hear the words they speak, see videos of them waving signs declaring their supremacy and screaming about redeeming America from the Jews, I don’t know what to think.
And as I hear the hateful words they are yelling about my people,
all I can think about is the organized anti-semitism I thought we were done with,
the oppression I thought we were free from when we stumbled, bleeding, off boats into this land,
the slavery I was so sure we’d escaped long ago,
and the swastika my seventh grade history teacher erased all those years ago,
and I wonder if it will ever be truly gone
or if it will live on forever,
the mark that can never be erased.