Children and Fire

Imagine you are the devoted teacher of a class of impressionable ten-year-old boys. Then imagine that it’s 1934, in Germany. Like many of your compatriots, you see the benefits of the new regime: unemployment is very low; food is once again plentiful; people have a sense of purpose. Yet you harbor some doubt about the militant nature of the new government. You live downstairs from one of your students, and the boy is an outsider who yearns to belong. His parents are staunchly anti-Nazi, but the best way for your student to avoid painful ostracism, it seems, is to join the Hitler-Jugend he so plainly admires. Setting your doubts aside, you prepare to talk to the parents about the boy’s future.

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