June 30, 2000
Trains New Agents on Holocaust
By Michael J. Sniffen
WASHINGTON -- The FBI
has begun teaching its new agents how a
failure by police to protect citizen
rights helped produce the Holocaust in
which 6 million Jews, as well as other
minorities and political dissidents were
murdered by the Nazis.
The training segment for agents-to-be
at the FBI Academy began last month and
was announced Friday by FBI Director
Louis J. Freeh; Sara J.
Bloomfield, director of the U.S.
Holocaust Memorial Museum and Abraham
H. Foxman, national director of the
"We do this early on in their training
... to remind them of the horror and evil
which can result from not just a
government, but particularly law
enforcement, abandoning its mission to
protect people and becoming the engine of
oppression," Freeh said.
The trainees are given a guided tour of
the Holocaust Museum here and instruction
about Adolf Hitler's use of the
police in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s
to round up Jews, political opponents and
other targeted groups.
There is a
classroom discussion and then trainees
must write an essay on the question:
"Of what relevance is this history to
you as a human being and a law
After the first session, one student
wrote, "It has taught me that making sure
our Constitution is strictly followed
should be a number one priority throughout
my career." Another said: "It will help me
remember my greatest duty to preserve
human life and protect the civil rights of
every man, woman and child."
Bloomfield, the museum director, said,
"Much of the Holocaust was perpetrated or
supported by trained professionals who
were 'doing their job.' The museum's
program with the FBI challenges law
enforcement agents to examine the moral
dimensions of their professions."
The topic of police complicity in the
Holocaust has been a concern of Freeh's
for some time. In 1994, over objections
from the State Department and the U.S.
ambassador to Poland, Freeh visited the
Nazi death camp at Auschwitz
during a European trip and gave a speech
at Jagellonian University in nearby
Krakow, Poland, on the police role in
Freeh researched and wrote the speech
himself with help from Nobel laureate and
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
"We must be morally responsible for
what we do," Freeh said Friday. "We have
to understand and protect not just the
people we serve, but the moral and ethical
values and human dignities that are so
important to us all."
Foxman applauded the FBI's commitment
to "law enforcement's critical role as
defenders of the Constitution and
guardians of individual rights" and said
the training "has tremendous potential to
impact the next generation of law
At its International Law Enforcement
Academy in Budapest, Hungary, the FBI has
taught a course in human dignity to more
than 1,000 police officers from former
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press
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