Holocaust education required in some states — but not Ohio

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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,


Young people think Holocaust education is important

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Sarah Weiss, Opinion contributor
Published 12:50 a.m. ET Oct. 2, 2020

Eighth grade students from St. Joseph School in Cold Springs, Ky., touch a relief image created with bullet casings at the Holocaust & Humanity Center inside the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Photo: Sam Greene/The Enquirer)

A survey released earlier this month found that 80% of millennial respondents believe it is important to continue teaching about the Holocaust.

While this aspect of the survey reflects a willingness and commitment to learn from the past on the part of millennials, the general public and media chose to focus on different aspects of the survey – like the fact that almost two-thirds of millennials and Gen Zers do not know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and almost half do not know the name of any concentration camp.

Social media erupted with comments calling young Americans’ lack of knowledge, “stunning,” “disappointing,” and “a shameful example of how ignorant and insensitive Americans have become.”

The survey, commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, compounded by recent incidents of Holocaust denial on Facebook and the trivialization of survivors on Tik Tok, paints a depressing picture. Will our younger generations fail to ensure the lessons of the Holocaust are remembered in the decades to come?

As the chief executive officer of the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, I feel – like