Duxbury Dragons and death camps

Anti-Semitic signals routine part of game plan 

Almost more shocking than the news of Duxbury High School’s football team using terms like “rabbi” and “Auschwitz” for its line-of-scrimmage audible play calling is the fact that it apparently was not a new thing. 

The Boston Herald reports that “the use of anti-Semitic and other offensive langauge by Duxbury players and under the purview of the coaching staff has been going on for multiple years.” Yet nothing had been done to stop the practice of teenage quarterbacks barking out the name of a death camp where 1 million Jews were slaughtered until officials from Plymouth North High School blew the whistle following their team’s March 12 game against the Dragons. 

Call it a watered down version of the banality of evil. Or yet another example of the Holocaust-amplified concept of the “bystander,” someone not directly involved in perpetrating a horrible deed, but who appears passively indifferent to its occurrence. 

The Duxbury football coach, Dave Maimaron, has now been fired, and he’s been put on leave from his teaching post with the school district. 

“It is important to note that while the players clearly demonstrated poor judgment, the responsibility for this incident also lies with the adults overseeing the program,” the school district said in a statement. “In short, this was a systemic failure.”

The incident is doing nothing to help the region’s reputation nationally when it comes to issues of tolerance, understanding, and race. 

Two days after the New York Times marked Kim Janey’s historic ascendance into the Boston mayor’s seat by revisiting the racism that pervaded the city’s school desegregation days in the 1970s, the paper has a Duxbury piece (by former Globe reporter Michael Levenson) on the casual anti-Semitism in a wealthy Boston suburb. 

State Sen. Barry Finegold, a Jewish one-time high school and college football player, invited the Duxbury team to meet with him. He cited a recent similar offer from Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, who is also Jewish, to an NBA player who used an anti-Semitic slur. Finegold said he was not looking to “villainize” the players, but instead to foster what could be an “important learning experience.” 

Residents in the well-off South Shore town shared a mix of opinions with Globe reporters. Some supported the coach’s firing, while others suggested it was an overreaction. 

“They’re 16-year-old kids, they’ll learn,” said one resident who thought the incident was overblown. 

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

What exactly he meant by that isn’t clear. When it comes to acquiring an understanding of the history of the Nazi’s Final Solution, there are troubling signs. Results released last fall from a nationwide survey of adults under 40 showed a “worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge.” 

Among the findings from what was billed as the first survey of Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z, nearly half were unable to name a single concentration camp or ghetto established by the Nazis. 

The Duxbury football team would ace that one, though it’s hardly something to brag about.