‘Nazis didn’t fall out of the sky in January ’33’: The Holocaust Museum’s director on warning signs of fascism (Washington Post)

What worries you most about the state of the world now?

I worry about what I think is a real decline in the teaching of good history. History majors are down more than any other major. Humanities are already down compared to STEM, which I can understand — STEM is important. But I believe the humanities are incredibly important if we want to create an engaged, responsible citizenry.

I just thought about that word “humanity.”

Yeah. It’s the study of what it means to be human. Nazis didn’t fall out of the sky in January ’33. That movement is rooted in German history, and you can trace those roots back into the 19th century, and you can see a lot of strands coming together. That’s true of the moment we live in. It didn’t just happen yesterday or last year. We should think about our vulnerabilities. Are we equipped to have a conversation about the questions artificial intelligence is going to present? Probably not. The first people systematically murdered were not Jews but Germans with mental and physical disabilities. Who participated in this? Doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, judges. You have people you think are highly educated, well-trained, presumably would have a moral sense. They would have said they were working for the common good. This was considered scientific advancement.

Read the rest of the interview here.