The German school system has done a wonderful job of integrating these memorials into their secondary education program. Two weekends ago I was able to witness how this is done.
On Saturday, July 12, I travelled with a group of student teachers at the University of Heidelberg to Frankfurt-am-Main for a tour of Holocaust memorials. In all, we visited about the ten individual monuments, memorials, and parks throughout the city that mark the persecution and marginalization of Jews, Sinti and Roma, and political dissidents in the Third Reich.
Although these places of remembrance conjure up feelings of loss and contrition, their presence in crowded plazas and bustling streets disrupts the monotony of everyday living, reminding all who pass--if only for a moment--that there is hope for a better future when we remember the past. Hitler's regime of hate was strong, but I believe the regime of tolerance is much stronger as long as we don't forget those who we have lost.