During Summer 2017, a 17 year old Malden student vandalized the Holocaust Memorial in Boston by throwing an object toward a glass panel, causing it to shatter into pieces. Not only were the Malden city officials upset and devastated but so were the peers at Malden High.
Bystanders of the incident were horrified and shocked about what happened. Mayor Gary Christenson stated that “despite [the incident over the summer], it does not represent Malden High School." Determined to prove to others about what Malden’s reputation really was, students assisted by Gregory Hurley planned a trip to visit the memorial.
Senior Leila Greige, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Print Edition of the Blue and Gold, and Senior Taylor Winters were “more than privileged to be a part of such a great event.” said Winters. Planning such an important trip was not an easy task. Winters stated that the hardest part was “writing the obituaries for people murdered by the Nazis [and] having to put one person’s life into a page was immeasurable." Greige and Winters were able to split up the work and got all the planning finished within 2 weeks.
The field trip wasn’t too long ago as many students attended and paid their respects. Greige who attended and planned the trip, said that to her it “was very special, because it was destroyed by someone [she] knew, [and she] didn’t want this act of vandalism to represent all of us [here in the city of Malden]."
Winters had much to say as this horrific event in history meant a lot to her. “To know someone desecrated the Holocaust memorial was very disheartening. To many people the memorial symbolizes hope, hope that a genocide of this scale will never happen again.” stated Winters. She went further to explain how much the “Holocaust survivors do for schools and the youth [across the world]” and how much they contribute to the history we know of today.
U.S. History teacher at Malden High, Damian Aufiero, and the History Club decided it would be a good idea raise money for a stolpersteine, or stumbling stone, to place at the last known voluntary residence of a victim of the Holocaust. Raffle tickets were sold to potentially win two New England Patriots tickets for that weekend. Aufiero said “[they] received the game tickets from a ticket donation."
There was much deeper meaning to the decision to purchase stumbling stones. Aufiero said “We think that history is really important. It's really important for students to not just study and do research, but to participate and engage. Stumbling stones are an artistic representation and remembrance for all those who suffered through the Holocaust. Germans and other individuals in European countries are choosing to remember the Holocaust in such a physical way, in something that seems like it would interrupt everyone’s everyday life, and we thought that that was very powerful. The whole point is that you stumble over it.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the stumbling stone would be placed at the home of a Holocaust survivor that was also a Malden resident, not at the last known voluntary residence of a victim of the Holocaust.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly included the statement "Stumbling stones are an artistic representation and remembrance for all those who suffered through the Holocaust. Germans and other individuals in European countries were choosing to remember the Holocaust in such a physical way, in something that seems like it would interrupt everyone’s everyday life, we thought that that was very powerful. " as a statement instead of as a quote from Aufiero.