Every FBI Agent Has To Take This Mandatory Class At The Holocaust Museum

And it's easy to see why.

A program at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is training police officers to avoid the mistakes law enforcement made in Nazi Germany. The museum offers a program called "Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust," which focuses on the role of police officers in the sweeping discrimination, murder and imprisonment of Jews. Begun in 1999 in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, the program has reached over 130,000 law enforcement officers in the United States.

"After the tour, you can see an engagement, a shift in their posture and behavior," Marcus Applebaum, the director for Law, Justice, and Society Initiatives at the musem, told A Plus. "Then, through an examination of the role of law enforcement, their counterparts, the failures that law enforcement made in the history, they can then see themselves. And that's really the goal of the program: for officers to look internally and to scrutinize their roles and responsibilities."

By posing as a champion of law and order, Hitler won over much of Germany's law enforcement and convinced them that ending democracy would be worth the power they would inherit. In return, law enforcement officials received help from the Nazis, who censored the press and stopped any criticism against the law enforcement from being publicized. 

So as German law enforcement achieved many of their goals, like reducing crime or breaking up gangs, they also began to act on behalf of the Nazis to perpetuate crimes against Jews, tear down national norms and — eventually — participate in genocide. 

That reality offers the answer to a question Applebaum asked in an interview with A Plus: "What happens when law enforcement loses sight of what's right?"

The training at the museum is mandatory for all Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, Drug Enforcement Agents, and several police departments on the East Coast. It's also available free to any United States law enforcement officer. 

"Without their work on a daily basis committed to protecting individual rights, the health of our democracy is weakened," Applebaum said. "Their role is to strengthen democracy the challenges for failure are great if they are not doing their jobs."


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