I was talking to a tween girl a couple of days ago, the daughter of a handyman my parents work with frequently. We were talking about things she might be interested in doing in the area and that's what she said:
"My friend just told me about this guy, Hitler? He killed a lot of Jews."
I didn't really know what to do - I just froze - but it turns out the girl wanted to go to the Museum of Tolerance. Apparently her friend had just been, had told her it was fun, and now she wanted to go too.
So I guess the museum is doing its job by engaging children, and getting the word of mouth out where it's needed most, but it was a completely surreal experience. It was so strange to hear this girl say the name Hitler in a neutral way - just an insignificant historical character, not automatically weighed down with the worst crimes of the 20th century.
But frankly, I felt like I was getting a glimpse of the future - a future where people are not automatically expected to know who Hitler is - and that's not a comfortable thought.