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To Combat Anti-Semitism, Mandatory Concentration Camp Visits For German Students

In response to an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, a German lawmaker has proposed making visits to concentration camps mandatory for all students, the New York Times proposed.

The idea was proposed by Sawsan Chebli, a German state legislator who is descended from Palestinians.

“This is about who we are as a country,” Chebli said. “We need to make our history relevant for everyone: Germans who no longer feel a connection to the past and immigrants who feel excluded from the present.”

Stories of anti-Semitic acts have peppered classrooms around the country, from the student who likes to make Hitler gestures when his teacher is not looking to the student who proudly told his teacher he is Aryan.

Only a tenth of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Berlin recently were attributable to immigrants from the Middle East. Still, some German lawmakers have proposed deporting anti-Semitic Muslims.

“We cannot allow this debate to create another form of racism,” said Günter Morsch, director of the memorial at the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp. “What about the Germans who are anti-Semitic?”

Chabli said that some Palestinian-German students have a hard time squaring their understanding of the Israeli-Palestine conflict with sympathy for Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

“Of course, anti-Semitism is important, but what about the racism I experience every day?” one Palestinian-German boy told Chabli.

Still, at the end of the trial visit that Chabli helped organize recently, the results were conclusive: 21 of 22 students thought all other German students should visit the camps.

Contact Ari Feldman at feldman@forward.com or on Twitter @aefeldman

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To Combat Anti-Semitism, Mandatory Concentration Camp Visits For German Students

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