Wyman Institute letter in The Weekly Standard re: terrorists, then and now

As published in The Weekly Standard – November 27, 2006


Your Nov. 13 “Scrapbook” item about a University of Pennsylvania student who dressed up for Halloween as an Arab suicide bomber mentioned that “sympathizers of suicide-bombers in the Middle East routinely show solidarity with their ‘freedom fighters’ by dressing children up in the same type of costumes, complete with plastic dynamite and fake AK-47s.”

Today’s Arab terrorists are not the first to encourage children to take part in violence. At a press conference in 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt pointed out that one of the most frightening omens of future German aggression against France was the message of militarism and martyrdom that the Nazis were imparting to German children. To illustrate his point, FDR told an anecdote about a little German boy so inculcated with Nazi propaganda that each night he prayed, “Dear God, please permit it that I shall die with a French bullet in my heart.”

Not many people paid attention to those warning signs in the 1930s. Will our generation repeat that mistake?


Ed Koch
New York City

Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Washington, D.C.