CLEVELAND, Ohio — The lessons of the Holocaust are considered so important that they are required education at schools in 15 states, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Ohio does not mandate Holocaust education, but efforts are underway to assure that teachers have sufficient resources to teach that subject, according to Howie Beigelman, executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities, which represents the eight Jewish federations in the state.
In the Ohio legislature, “there’s in a real tendency on both sides of the aisle for local control, so the kind of mandate [requiring Holocaust education] that other states have, would be unusual for Ohio,” Beigelman said.
However, in conversations with state legislators, he said, they’re interested in having more Holocaust resources, training and material available. Beigelman said the communities are more interested in strengthening Holocaust education than mandating it.
Sen. Michael A. Rulli has introduced legislation enhancing (but not mandating) holocaust education in Ohio schools, he said. That would establish a 15-member Holocaust Memorial and Eduction Commission, and office. Their role would include:
– Inventory current statewide memorial and genocide education programs and propose programming to fill any gaps.
– Recognize Holocaust and genocide survivors and make their stories accessible for education purposes.
– Partner with public and private organizations that serve Holocaust and genocide survivors, veterans and (concentration camp) liberators.
– Seek opportunities to provide resources for schools to effectively teach about the Holocaust and genocide.
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The need for such education has been heightened by the decreasing number of Holocaust survivors and concentration camp liberators, Beigelman said.
“We’re going to miss that [eyewitness testimony]. So anything we can do to help teachers and students access the right information in a relevant way is what’s really important at this point,” he said.
At the federal level,