SPARTA, NJ – A Sparta High School Russian and Social Studies teacher has had an article published in The American Public University’s Historical Studies Honor Society journal, Saber and Scroll. William Brennan, the History of Genocide teacher wrote an article examining the role of a senior Nazi Reinhard Heydrich.
"Mr. Brennan is another example of why our Sparta teachers are second to none," Sparta High School Principal Ronnie Spring said. "He is not just an exemplary teacher, but he is truly an expert in his discipline and a lifelong learner."
Brennan said he chose to investigate the Nazi General Heydrich because of the SS officer having played an important part in the very beginning of the Holocuast.
“I’ve been deeply interested in trying to understand the causes of the Holocaust for several years,” Brennan said. “My interest in this topic developed significantly since I began teaching the History of Genocide class at Sparta High School several years ago.”
His interest spurred him to pursue a Masters Degree in history through American Public University. He had researched Heydrich for one of his classes and at the “encouragement of one of my professors,” he submitted his article for consideration.
“I was thrilled of course when it was accepted for publication,” Brennan said.
In the article Brennan discusses how the Holocaust began not with the concentration camps but with the mass shootings of Jewish men in the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. Brennan explains Heydrich played a key role in the transition of the Nazi foreign intelligence unit, known as Einsatzgruppen, into specialized killing units.
Under the leadership of Heydrich the Einsatzgruppen evolved in its role gathering intelligence in Austria, becoming a mechanism for mass killings in Poland and finally into the mass executions in the gas chambers in Central Europe.
Spring recently spoke virtually to Brennan’s class. He was invited to speak because his grandparents were both Holocaust survivors. “It was so rewarding and his knowledge is the subject is truly amazing.”
Brennan said he enjoys the process of doing research and writing. He said he hopes to do more historical writing in the future.
"It is truly an honor to see Mr. Brennan share and publish his vast knowledge with others in his field in such a prestigious journal," Spring said.
For now he continues to teach his students in the new reality of “distance learning.”