There are only 5 states in the United States of America that have a law which makes Holocaust education mandatory. I didn’t realize this until I read a newspaper article about a workshop at Youngstown State University in Ohio, at which teachers were taught about the Holocaust.
This quote is from the newspaper article which you can read in full here:
A workshop at Youngstown State University on Monday educated local teachers about the Holocaust and genocide.
The Ohio Council on Holocaust Education sponsored the free workshop for teachers from public, private and parochial schools around the state. They were given a curriculum to use in their respective schools.
For more than 25 years, the non-profit organization has been pushing for Holocaust education to be mandatory.
“I’m sure our legislators will be involved within the state, and I am hoping through more publicity and marketing such as today’s workshop, we will be on the right road and finally see some type of mandate for Holocaust education in our schools,” said Suzyn Schwebel Epstein, president of the Ohio Council on Holocaust Education.
I looked up mandatory Holocaust education laws on Wikipedia and found this: “As of September 2009, laws of this kind [mandatory Holocaust education] were on the books of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the American states of Florida, New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois.
The first state in America to pass a law making Holocaust education mandatory was California; Holocaust education was mandated in California in 1985.
According to the California law: “Instruction shall provide a foundation for understanding … human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, and the Holocaust, and contemporary issues.”
Note that, in California, Holocaust education is included in education on slavery and “the inhumanity of genocide.” There was no slavery in California and no genocide, unless you categorize the killing of American Indians as “genocide.” California is also mandated to teach “contemporary issues,” whatever that means.
The next state to enact a law which mandated the teaching of the Holocaust was New Jersey, which passed a law requiring Holocaust education in 1991. Then New York and Florida passed similar laws in 1994. But Illinois passed a law on mandatory Holocaust education in 1989.
The Holocaust didn’t happen in America and was not perpetrated by Americans, so why should Holocaust education be mandatory in America? I don’t know for sure, but I think it is because there are now around 6 million Jews in America, many of them Holocaust survivors or descendants of Holocaust survivors, who want to make sure that there will never be another Holocaust. Americans must learn tolerance, so that Jews will be safe in America.
How are American children introduced to the Holocaust? Around 17 years ago, one of my grandchildren came home from kindergarten and very proudly told his family about what he had learned in school that day. He said that the King of Denmark had worn a yellow star because all the Jews were forced to wear a yellow star and the King wanted to show that, although he was not Jewish, he was sympathetic to the Jews and wanted to show his disapproval of Jews being forced to wear identification on their clothing.
Was this 5-year-old kindergarten student told to verify what he had learned by looking it up on the Internet? No, of course not — he had not learned to read yet.
You can look it up yourself on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10008043
Another one of my grandchildren was assigned to read “The Diary of Anne Frank” in the 5th grade. Ann Frank died at Bergen-Belsen, so this gives the schools a chance to teach American students about the Jews who were killed at Bergen-Belsen.
The words on the sign, that was put up by the British, after the Bergen-Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over to them, read as follows: “10,000 unburied dead were found here. Another 13,000 have since died. All of them victims of the German New Order in Europe and an example of Nazi Kultur.”
Are American school children taught about the typhus epidemic that killed thousands of people in the last days of World War II? The Belsen camp, which had been originally set up as an EXCHANGE CAMP, was turned over to the British because there was a typhus epidemic in the camp and the camp was located in a war zone. Are American students told this in their mandatory education classes? I doubt it.
Why should all this bother me? Recently, I wanted to go to a local high school to hear a Holocaust survivor speak. I changed my mind when I learned that the price of a ticket for the lecture was $18 in advance and $25 at the door. It was too late for me to get an advance ticket; I was not willing to pay $25 to hear a Holocaust survivor tell about how she escaped the gas chamber at Auschwitz, no matter how unique her story was.
The only time that I heard a Holocaust survivor speak, she spent 55 minutes ranting against “Holocaust deniers” and 5 minutes telling her sad story about how she suffered at Auschwitz, starting WHEN SHE WAS FOUR YEARS OLD. She didn’t explain why she was not gassed, even though, as everyone in the world knows, Jews under the age of 15 were immediately gassed at Auschwitz, unless they were twins, who were saved by Dr. Josef Mengele because he wanted to experiment on them. Strangely, some children, who weren’t twins, also survived Auschwitz.