|Photo by Harry Covert |
Sergeant Anthony Zygmunt (left) joins Lecturer Robert Buckley (center)
and program coordinate Cherye Echane for Holocaust program for
ALEXANDRIA, VA. - “Idle minds are the devil's workshop,” according to a popular proverb.
No where is it more obvious than in jails, detention center or prisons.
The inmate services division of the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office has instituted unique monthly programs for the express purpose of encouraging inmates to broaden their education and skills while serving jail sentences.
Last Thursday, in the first of its kind for an area jail, more than 55 inmates took advantage of the “Deception, Propaganda and Power” lecture presented by Robert Buckley, consultant to the Holocaust Museum in Washington and an expert on Nazi Rule of Germany and Europe, beginning in the 1930s through the end of World War II in 1945.
“The first casualty of war is the truth,” Buckley said, discussing how the German’s National Socialist Party (Nazis) came to power, kept the power and put the world into a mighty war.
The Alexandria inmates in attendance were enraptured by Buckley’s presentation and involved themselves in the discussion of Adolph Hitler’s rise to power, his creation of concentration camps and the execution of six million Jews and others.
“Hitler not only exterminated Jews, but also blacks, gypsies, handicapped, over 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group and others,” Buckley said.
These facts are part of the Holocaust Museum which averages more than two million visitors yearly and will soon be “going on the road” in the U. S.
One question raised concerned the meaning “Heil Hitler,” part of the Nazi salute. “Heil means savior. Germans who didn’t salute and use the phrase, could be killed or imprisoned and thousands suffered.” Hitler was no savior, he said.
Hitler came to power in the 1930s and took advantage of economic depression. “He put Germans back to work, created jobs and built up his war machine. He was a skilled propagandist, speaker and persuasive. He knew if you tell a big lie long enough, people will eventually believe you.”
Buckley urged inmates to take advantage of the Holocaust Museum. “You should visit this treasure, admission is free,” he said. “You can learn just how Hitler used newspapers and radio of that day to take power and keep it. He prevented Germans from listening to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), one of the world’s best media entities of that period.
He also reminded inmates that everyone “can learn from the past and start over.”
Two good things emanated from Hitler, Buckley said. First, “he built the autobahn and second created a propaganda machine so effect that politicians and business leaders use the same methods today. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he became president, initiated the U. S. Interstate Highway system – odd route numbers going north and south and even routes east and west.
In another innovative inmate program is scheduled for March 20 when The Janna Audey Band performs for inmates. This is the first time a band will appear in the Alexandria Jail.
It probably is the first time a rock band has performed in similar facilities in the Greater Washington area, according to Captain Lucinda Buker, commander of the Inmate Services Division.