The students in Grade 8 are completing their study of the Holocaust, and for a few weeks, I have been locating resources for them to read. So when I heard the words “Anne Frank” during a radio story on National Public Radio tonight, I was immediately engaged, and I pulled off the road to hear the story on a new book ‘Imbeciles’ Explores Legacy Of Eugenics In America by Adam Cohen.
Towards the end of the interview, Cohen explained how popular support of theory of Eugenics, especially among the highly educated in America in the early 1900s, resulted in passage of a strict immigration law in 1924 that “was aimed to shut off the genetically less gifted.”
Cohen pointed out that the same 1924 immigration law was the reason the request by Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, for visas was blocked. He explained the result of this legislation:
“When we tell the story of Anne Frank, we think that she died in Auschwitz because the Nazis thought the Jews were inferior, but to some extent, she also died in Auschwitz because the American Congress thought the Jews and other people like that were inferior.”
Another Anne Frank connection that I will be sharing with teachers.