If you live in the United States, only 11 states (CA, FL, IL, IN, KY, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, and RI) have mandatory education about the Holocaust.
If you live in a country other than the United States, only eight countries (Austria, France, Israel, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, UK) have mandatory education about the Holocaust.
This must change. The facts about a massive genocide that directly impacted Europe and the United States -- not to mention the stability of the world -- should be required education for young people throughout Europe, the 50 United States, and the world. A recent study shows that 65% of young people have no idea what Auschwitz is. Additionally, 31% of Americans believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust. (This is far from the actual number.)
When students read "Night" or "The Diary of Anne Frank", teachers should work to give them background knowledge about the situations discussed in the works. Elie Wiesel and Anne Frank were by no means alone -- they are simply spokespeople for the many oppressed Jews, gypsies, Jehovahs Witnesses, homosexuals, and handicapped individuals targeted by the Nazis and their allies between 1933 and 1945 throughout Europe.
We have a group on Facebook where we are campaigning to make Holocaust education mandatory. Join us!
It is up to us, children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, to work with our legislatures to make this happen. In 2014, Rhonda Fink-Whitman tirelessly worked to pass a bill mandating Holocaust education in Pennsylvania. House Bill 176 and Senate Bill 47 were introduced in Pennsylvania. Eventually a different bill was passed. Please take these sample bills and send them to your legislators and ask them to require education about the Holocaust.
Better yet, make personal contact with your legislator by visiting his/her office, and request a bill like the one from Pennsylvania be introduced in your state.
If you don't do it, who will? The Holocaust survivors are aging quickly. Elie Wiesel, a young boy at the time of the Holocaust, is now 85 years old. He is among the youngest category of survivors.
Holocaust education offers a lesson for humanity about too much government power in the wrong hands. It offers a slice of world history, which is filled with examples of tyrants and despots unleashing their brutal wrath on their subjects. It has personal stories of resisters to Nazi tyranny -- righteous non-Jews who acted in heroic ways and Jewish partisans who hid in the forests to fight their oppressors head-on. Communities and towns were wiped out, but less than 10 years after the beginning of the Holocaust, Jews triumphed with the creation of the state of Israel -- a diverse homeland for Jews from the Middle East and Europe, many of whom had just escaped the most rampant terror in modern history.
Please work for Holocaust education. Speak to schools in your area. Organize meetings of Holocaust descendants. Talk to your legislators. We can only honestly say N E V E R A G A I N if we are working to make Never Again a reality.