Until this week, Duxbury was mostly known for its well-groomed streets, homes and beaches. But now, its town and school administrators are trying to explain away an anti-Semitism that is apparently rooted in the culture of some of these same residents.
Football is king in this town and its team has won five high school Super Bowls since 2006. This was evident in its March 12 game against Plymouth North, which it won 35-0. During the game, the offense called out audible plays, which included the terms “Auschwitz,” “Rabbi,” and “Dreidel.”
Ten days went by before anyone spoke up about the team’s use of “Auschwitz.” More than 75 years after this Nazi death camp was shut down, the term will never be forgotten by most Jews. Auschwitz was Nazi Germany’s largest death camp. More than 1 million Jews – including 200,000 children – were murdered in the most horrific ways there. At Auschwitz, Josef Mengele and a group of Nazi physicians murdered thousands in their “experiments.” At Auschwitz, there are no burial plots with the names of the murdered. For Jews, the term Auschwitz refers to the largest Jewish cemetery in the world.
Auschwitz is not a term that is casually used in conversations. Auschwitz is not a word that any clear-headed educator or coach would allow to be used in an athletics program.
In Duxbury, the team’s coach, Dave Maimaron, said he was sorry. “I want to extend my apology for the insensitive, crass, and inappropriate language used in the game on March 12th,” he said in a statement.
While an apology is a good place to start it is only a beginning. Reports indicate that these terms were previously used in practice. If the town is to move forward and grow from this profoundly insulting and painful exhibition of ignorance, immediate changes are required. An investigation into this incident needs to occur. But common sense suggests that the team’s season should be over, its games forfeited and the coach – and anyone else connected to the culture that led to this decision-making – should resign or be terminated. Anything short of that would be an even greater insult.