Congress bid to enshrine school lessons on the Holocaust in US law
A bipartisan bill has been re-introduced to Congress to legislate for Holocaust education in schools across America, after a survey found most young Americans head never heard of Auschwitz.
The Never Again Education Act was introduced by two congresswomen from New York, Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, and the Republican Elise Stefanik.
If passed, the bill will establish federal funding for Holocaust educational resources, including a $2 million (£1.54 million) annual grant to be used “to carry out Holocaust education programs” and “to conduct periodic regional workshops, in partnership with Holocaust education centres when and where appropriate.”
It would also see the creation of a Holocaust Education Advisory Board.
The bill was introduced in 2018 but failed to pass before Congress went to recess.
Last April, a survey by the Claims Conference, the non-profit organisation which works to secure compensation for Holocaust survivors, discovered that 41 percent of Americans — and two-thirds of millennials — did not know what Auschwitz was.
22 per cent of young adults said they had not heard or were not sure if they had heard of the Holocaust, while a share approaching half — 41 per cent — believes less than two million Jews were killed in the death camps.
The true figure is six million.
Just eight American states currently require Holocaust education to be part of school curriculums, with another 13 states recommending it.
“The rise of antisemitism in our country is extremely disturbing and I am terrified of the fact that people have walked through the district I am privileged to represent and have been beaten up and hurt because they are Jewish,” Congresswoman Maloney said.
“We need to take proactive steps to combat this hatred. We must begin educating people, especially our young people, about the horrors of the Holocaust and how hate, evil, intolerance and ignorance can lead to mass murder.”