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Paris Diary: History Is Close By

Janson.jpgI well recall the first time I saw Checkpoint Charlie at the Berlin Wall in 1976. We were on LSA in Mainz, and Professor Kenkel organized a trip to Berlin to meet with the head of the Aspen Institute Berlin and to see the sights. I knew all about the Wall, but seeing the Checkpoint and the people on the other side of it, and knowing that I could go over to their side and they could not come over to ours (at least for another 13 years), had a surprising impact. “It’s really real,” I recall thinking. The same emotion rings out when confronted with intimate examples of any great evil. The Holocaust is an incomprehensible event (that bears endless efforts at comprehsnion), but down the street from our apartment at the Lycée Janson de Sailly, one of Paris’ élite high schools, one can feel the tragedy’s effect on a school and a neighborhood:

Janson Comp.jpg

Could the same fate ever befall students at Janson today?


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