During Holocaust Remembrance Week, Rep. Maloney Announces Bipartisan Legislation on Holocaust Education

Apr 10, 2018
Press Release

NEW YORK—Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) today joined Jewish advocacy groups at a Holocaust education center in Manhattan, NY to recognize the Week of Remembrance and announce the introduction of the Never Again Education Act, legislation that will give teachers across the United States the resources and training they need to teach our children the important lessons of the Holocaust and the consequences of intolerance and hate. The Congresswoman introduced the bill today with Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) and seven Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force.

“For far too many in this country, the memory of the Holocaust is fading and we need to do all we can to ensure that people never forget those atrocities,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “As the saying goes, if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. That is why I am proud to announce the Never Again Education Act. This bipartisan legislation gives our teachers what they need to teach the Holocaust accurately and effectively. We know that hate is learned. Our children are not born with prejudices, and it is up to us to make sure they never learn them.”

Congressman Donovan said, “As time passes, the ability to hear the stories of Holocaust survivors and Allied veterans firsthand is diminishing – but the importance of their memories and experiences will never fade. We have a moral obligation as a just society to teach the lessons of the Holocaust for generations to come, and this bipartisan legislation allows us to do just that. Anti-Semitism and hatred of any kind will never be tolerated in our communities.”

Since 2014 the FBI has reported a steady increase in hate crimes. The Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic incidents alone rose 60% from 2016-2017.

Currently, only 8 states have laws on the books requiring that the Holocaust be taught in schools. Another 12 states recommend it but do not require it.

Dr. William L. Shulman, President of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, the national coalition of Holocaust education centers, said “This bill, if passed and implemented, will greatly enhance Holocaust education in the United States.”

Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs, Simon Wiesenthal Center and Member of the Board of Directors at the Association of Holocaust Organizations said, “It is very appropriate that this bill is introduced during the week when the Holocaust is remembered on the Jewish calendar. For if there is one lesson the survivors have taught us, it is that we must remember to learn from the past. Today that memory is challenged in ways that we might have thought inconceivable just a few years ago. Neo-Nazis brazenly marched in Charlottesville, and statistics showing a dramatic recent surge in antisemitism in the U.S. together with increased acts of antisemitism in schools all make this bill so very important. By directing the Department of Education to create this fund, Congress is clearly telling the federal government that more students need to learn about the Holocaust in order to recognize the dangers of antisemitism and the impact that murderous hatred can have on society. Thank you to Congresswoman Maloney for her leadership and commitment in spearheading this important initiative.”

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director said, “We welcome the introduction of the Never Again Education Act, and commend Rep. Carolyn Maloney for her longtime leadership in working to ensure that the universal lessons of the Holocaust are taught and learned. The ADL has a deep commitment to Holocaust education – training students, educators, community leaders, and law enforcement officials.  We do this because learning about the Holocaust – and the lessons of anti-Semitism and racism unleashed – is one of the best way to fight prejudice and discrimination, and help ensure that genocide and such atrocities never happen again.”

William Daroff, JFNA Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office said, “The Jewish Federations of North America applauds Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for introducing, and Representatives Dan Donovan, Peter Roskam, Eliot Engel, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Nita Lowey, Kay Granger and Ted Deutch for co-sponsoring, The Never Again Education Act to establish the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund. “The bipartisan legislation coincides with this week’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and honors the victims of the Nazi era. In keeping with this observance, this legislation will provide a needed opportunity to teach and inform our school children about the horrors of the Holocaust and to provide a bulwark against ignorance and disbelief.” 

Sondra Perl, Director of the Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights said, “In a world that is becoming increasingly polarized and hostile to those seen as different, Congresswoman Maloney’s bill — to support Holocaust education in schools across the nation — is sorely needed.”

Janice Weinman, CEO of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America said,“On the week of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the pledge of “Never Again” is especially close to our hearts. With anti-Semitism on the rise worldwide, the Never Again Education Act helps us to be vigilant in the fight against hatred, denial, and xenophobia. As a proud Zionist organization, Hadassah stands with Congresswoman Maloney and will do our part to make sure this bipartisan bill is passed.”

Betty Ehrenberg, Executive Director, World Jewish Congress North America, said, “ The Never Again Act is a crucial piece of legislation very much needed at this moment. At a time when we are witnessing a rise in anti-Semitism and xenophobia in many regions of the world, including in our country, it has become more critical than ever to teach the next generation what happened in that dark and shameful moment in history so that it will never again be repeated anywhere. The World Jewish Congress North America is deeply grateful to Representative Carolyn Maloney for introducing this bill and to the Representatives who are sponsors who understand the importance of Holocaust memory. We urge Congress to pass the Never Again Act so that both the young and established generations will work together to fight hatred, discrimination, and bigotry.”

The original cosponsors of the bill are: Dan Donovan (NY-11), Peter Roskam (IL-06), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Kay Granger (TX-12), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ted Deutch (FL-22), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

This legislation is endorsed by: Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Ameinu, American Zionist Movement (AZM), Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO) Board of Directors, Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, Baltimore Zionist District, B’nai B’rith International, Florida Holocaust Museum, Hadassah, Holocaust Museum of Houston, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Jewish Women International, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, NA’AMAT USA, National Council of Jewish Women, ORT America, Inc, Religious Action Center, USC Shoah Foundation, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, WIZO USA Women of Reform Judaism, World Jewish Congress North America.

 

Background

 

What the bill does:

  • Establishes a federal fund at the Department of Education, the “Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund”, which will be paid for by private donations. The fund will finance grants to public and private middle and high schools to help teachers develop and improve Holocaust education programs.
  • Gives funding directly to teachers to develop individualized programs that best suit their students’ needs.
  • Expenses include training for educators, textbooks, transportation and housing for teachers to attend seminars, transportation for survivors to be brought to a school, and field trips.
  • Creates a Holocaust Education website as a central hub of resources and best practices for teachers interested in Holocaust education.
  • Curriculum experts at the Department of Education will work with trained Holocaust educators to conduct regional workshops that help teachers work within their state and local education requirements to incorporate the sensitive subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms.
  • Creates an Advisory Board to help develop the competitive criteria for grants, select the content for the website, and lead fundraising efforts for the program.
  • Encourages State education agencies to work with schools and take advantage of the program.
  • Prioritizes grants to schools with no current Holocaust education programs.

 

Benefits:

  • Teachers face many barriers to teaching the Holocaust: a lack of awareness of where to find resources, a lack of funding to take advantage of these resources, and a lack of knowledge for how to incorporate the subject into their curriculums. This program will help teachers overcome these barriers at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
  • Private Holocaust education centers provide valuable training programs, curriculum and other resources, but are limited to helping the schools in their area. This program will help these centers reach a broader audience, and provide teachers with the tools to educate students in communities across the country.
  • This program will finally recognize the importance of Holocaust education at the federal level and teach our children about the valuable lessons from the Holocaust.

 

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