Our Real History - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1730480

Our Real History

A recent Press questionnaire asked readers how they felt about changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People Day.

History is what was. Historians are still finding new angles to reinterpret the history of Ancient Greece. They do not erase the previous record, do not rewrite it — just amend it.

Removing statues or assigning new names is rewriting the historical record. A plaque providing unbiased facts — to the degree that we humans can ever be completely free of bias — would be a reminder that we have evolved. An amendment.

If we had been taught not the foundational myths of liberty and quality but our real history from elementary school years onward, we might not have festering racial wounds that burst open again and again.

Having attended for a number of years a German school, I remember when, in the 1950s, starting in sixth grade, we were annually taken to watch the 1945 British and American documentaries about the opening of the concentration camps. Not all parents thought this was age-appropriate. But it was a government-mandated lesson to make us aware of the darkest chapter in German history.

A huge memorial to the murdered Jews is a few steps away from the House of Parliament, the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Its proximity is the point: It’s impossible to miss.

A plaque at the entrance to the White House reminding visitors, foreign and domestic, that it was built by slave labor?

In America, memorials to the Nazi Holocaust vastly outnumber memorials to America’s own shame of slavery? Is it to serve as a distraction?

Heide Löfken



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