A visitor to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum walks past a mural of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Washington, January 26, 2007.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JIM YOUNG)
WASHINGTON – The alphabet soup of American Jewish organizations has called on Congress to pass a bill that would use private donations to provide middle and high school teachers with resources for Holocaust education.
Led by the Jewish Federations of North America, over 76 Jewish groups wrote a letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee expressing support for the legislation, titled the Never Again Education Act, which already enjoys bipartisan support. The bill would direct the secretary of education to award grants for Holocaust education based on donations of funds and in-kind contributions.
“Teachers face many barriers to teaching the Holocaust, including 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 curricula,” reads the joint letter from Jewish organizations. “This program will help teachers overcome these barriers at no additional cost to the taxpayer.”
The bill also says that Holocaust education programs should serve as “a means to raise awareness about the importance of preventing genocide, hate, and bigotry against any group of people.”
“As intolerance, antisemitism, bigotry, and all forms of hate are promoted by hate groups, Holocaust education provides a context to learn about the danger of what can happen when hate goes unchallenged and there is indifference in the face of the oppression of others,” the legislation reads. “Learning how and why the Holocaust happened is an important component of the education of citizens of the United States.”
Democratic Congressmen Carolyn B. Maloney, Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida and Marc Veasey of Texas, as well as Republicans Dan Donovan of New York, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Kay Granger of Texas and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, co-authored the legislation.
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