House passes $10M for Holocaust education amid rise in anti-Semitic attacks

Jan 28, 2020
In The News

WASHINGTON — In a bid to ensure that future generations of Americans “never forget,” students would be taught the horrors of the Holocaust as part of a $10 million federal funding bill that passed the House on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Monday.

The “Never Again Education Act” introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) comes amid a troubling rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the Big Apple and fears that memories of the Holocaust will fade with the rapidly declining population of survivors.

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are bitterly divided over President Trump’s impeachment trial but managed to work across the aisle in the House to get the bill passed.

“I know that our children, our students, are not born with hate in their hearts. Prejudice, hatred, anti-Semitism are learned over time,” Maloney said Monday before the bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“It is up to us to give our children, the antidote to such viral hatred,” she said.

A stunning two-thirds of American millennials polled in 2018 did not know what Auschwitz was, while 22 percent said they had not heard of the Holocaust, according to the Anti-Defamation League survey.

“Today far too many students in our country grow up, grow up without a basic knowledge of the horrors of the Holocaust,” Maloney continued.

New York City is reeling after more than a dozen senseless anti-Semitic attacks over the holiday period. The city has seen an alarming uptick in hate crimes against Jews, with a 26 percent spike between 2018 and 2019.

Holocaust survivor Esther Peterseil, 95, of New York, held back tears as she spoke about the recent hate crimes against Jews on US soil which had left the community “afraid.”

“For those of us fortunate to survive, many of us went to America where we realized our dream of being whole again, of being equal, and of being free,” Peterseil said.

“I cry when I say these words because today these dreams are under attack. They are slowly being taken away from me, from us as Jews, from us as Americans,” she continued before asking US lawmakers to “close the gates to hatred and bigotry.”

“The Never Again Education Act can make that happen. This is a history that cannot be forgotten.”

The bill, introduced 20 years ago, was finally passed by the House with bipartisan lobbying from lead co-sponsors Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

“Studies show that the Holocaust is fading from public memory,” Stefanik said on Monday after more than 300 co-sponsors added their names to the bill.

“By educating students about the horrors of the Holocaust, we can take proactive measures to reject the hate and reject the bigotry that is fueling this dangerous trend,” she continues.

The bill, if it passes the Senate, will expand the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s education programming, providing lesson guides, learning materials and other resources to teachers across America.