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Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney Announces Historic Bipartisan Legislation on Holocaust Education

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Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Jewish advocacy groups at the Center for Jewish History to address a national rise in anti-Semitism and announce the reintroduction of her Never Again Education Act. This historic legislation is a bipartisan bill that will create a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to give teachers across the United States the resources and training necessary to teach our nation’s children the important lessons of the Holocaust and the horrific consequences of hate and intolerance. The Congresswoman introduced the bill last Thursday with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21).

H.R. 943 Never Again Education Act

On Monday, February 4, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Jewish advocacy groups at the Center for Jewish History to address a national rise in anti-Semitism and announce the reintroduction of her Never Again Education Act. This historic legislation is a bipartisan bill that will create a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to give teachers across the United States the resources and training necessary to teach our nation’s children the important lessons of the Holocaust and the horrific consequences of hate and intolerance. The Congresswoman introduced the bill last Thursday with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21).

In the past few years, there has been a significant rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes throughout our nation and in New York City. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have spiked roughly 60 percent between 2016 and 2017. NYPD figures show over 180 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, a 22 percent spike from 2017, and a 38.6 percent increase from 2016. We must to be vigilant in the fight against hatred and ensure our youth understand the horrors of the Holocaust and the intolerance and bigotry that led to it, so we can fulfill the promise of ‘Never Again.’

Holocaust survivors join Jewish organizational leaders and elected officials at Monday’s press conference.

“We are at a dangerous moment in time. Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world and here at home, and the memory of the Holocaust is fading for far too many Americans. We can combat this by making sure we teach our students, tomorrow’s leaders, about the horrors of the Holocaust. It is simply not enough to condemn hateful, violent attacks against the Jewish community- we need to be proactive, we need to take action. I am proud to reintroduce the Never Again Education Act, so that we can be vigilant in the fight against hatred and give teachers across the United States the resources and training they need to teach our children the important lessons of the Holocaust,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

“Over the last few years, a concerning amount of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in our country. My hope is that this bill will combat the rise of this inexcusable behavior by further educating our nation’s students on the unthinkable and innumerable atrocities of the Holocaust. As a nation, we cannot allow a return to the hateful actions that led to the Holocaust and I’m proud to do my part to change it,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik.

“As a former Council Member of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center and as the current representative of the State of Israel in New York, I commend the leadership of Congresswoman Maloney and all those who pursue educating young Americans on the horrors of the Holocaust, as a way to honor the past and build the future,” said Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York.

“Here at the Center for Jewish History, we and our partner organizations preserve the history and stories of the Jewish people,” said Bernard Michael, Chairman and CEO of the Center for Jewish History. “We are honored and pleased to stand today with Congresswoman Maloney, whose Never Again Education Act will provide essential funding to extend an important part of these stories, and the lessons of the consequences of hatred and intolerance, to schoolchildren throughout the country.”

“As the last survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust leave us, and the memory of the genocide of European Jewry fades, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that educators have access to quality resources for teaching its lessons to future generations,” said Charles S. Temel, President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “As the son of Holocaust survivors, I am proud that JCRC-NY stands with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in support of this important legislation.”

Betty Ehrenberg, Executive Director, World Jewish Congress North American said, “World Jewish Congress North America strongly supports the Never Again Education Act, being reintroduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D- NY). We applaud Cong. Maloney for her steadfast support of Holocaust Education, recognizing the crucial role it plays in fighting hatred and bigotry. By teaching the lessons of the past, we do our utmost to prevent tragedy in the future. Young people today, according to research, do not understand or even know about that dark period in history, making the Never Again Education Act necessary to ensure that history will never be forgotten.”

“Recent Claims Conference surveys in the US and Canada have shown a shocking lack of knowledge about the Holocaust, especially among millennials. With 49% of U.S. millennials unable to name a single extermination camp or ghetto and 41% believing substantially less than 6 million Jews, (2 million or less), were killed during the Holocaust, this legislation could not come at a more crucial time. 93% of Americans surveyed said that they believe that all students should learn about the Holocaust in school. Rep. Maloney’s is taking a great step forward in bringing to the American people what they are asking for,” said Karen Heilig Assistant Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference).

“AJC NY is pleased to join with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in support of this important bill. At a time when polls increasingly demonstrate that our younger generation does not know about the horrific events of the Holocaust, this bill will help to educate our next generation so that the lessons learned from the tragic events of 70 years ago can be implemented today,” said Michael Schmidt, Director AJC NY.

“Anne Frank said, ‘we all live with the objective of being happy, our lives are all different and yet the same.’ As a child she understood the universal human experience. Her story helps bring history to life. We have both an opportunity and an obligation to empower a new generation to build the world they deserve. Education is key. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect educates against hatred and violence. We are honored to support the Never Again Education Act, and we’re grateful to Congresswoman Maloney for her vision, action, and commitment to fostering respect among all people, said Sharon Douglas, CEO of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

Teachers and parents often talk about the kind of courage it takes to have difficult conversations in the classroom, but we should not need courage to teach compassion, to call out hate, and to listen to the concerns of our young people; young people who have the power to change the future. Facing History looks forward to the day all young Americans have the opportunity to study the Holocaust and its legacies. Our lives and our democracy depend on it,” said Pam Haas, Executive Director of Facing History and Ourselves NY.

“As an organization dedicated to serving as the last surviving relative to Holocaust survivors, we know all too well that opportunities are fading fast for the next generation to learn, in person, from people who lived through it. The Never Again Education Act is both timely and necessary to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, and to ensure that never again remains true, and I thank Congresswoman Maloney for her leadership,” said Hanan Simhon, Vice President, Holocaust Survivor Program, Selfhelp Community Services

“Elie Wiesel said, ‘Fear not the cruelty of the oppressor but the apathy of the bystander.’ Holocaust education is a moral necessity so that we teach the next generation not to stand by but to stand up against the insidious hatred that threatens anyone. Thank you Rep Maloney for your strong leadership which is so vital at this time,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President New York Board of Rabbis.

Background:

  • Currently only eight states, including New York, have laws requiring we teach about the Holocaust in our schools and another 12 states recommend it.
  • In November a professor at Columbia University found swastikas painted in her office. Weeks later, a 9-year-old Hasidic boy was assaulted in Williamsburg and shortly after that a Hasidic man was attacked only blocks from the first attack. Earlier this month, stickers with disturbing and hateful messages were posted around my district in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Just last week, two Hasidic men were beaten and left bloodied by three men in Crown Heights.
  • A recent poll found that 31 percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. 41 percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. 52 percent of Americans wrongly believe Hitler came to power through force.
  • Cosponsors (24): Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Filemón Vela (D-TX), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Max Rose (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Ron Kind (D-WI), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

What the bill does:

  • Establishes a federal fund at the Department of Education, the “Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund.” The fund is able to accept private donations in addition to appropriated funds. The fund will finance grants to public and private middle and high schools to help teachers develop and improve Holocaust education programs.
  • Gives funding directly to teachers to develop individualized programs that best suit their students’ needs.
  • Expenses include training for educators, textbooks, transportation and housing for teachers to attend seminars, transportation for survivors to be brought to a school, and field trips.
  • Creates a Holocaust Education website as a central hub of resources and best practices for teachers interested in Holocaust education.
  • Curriculum experts at the Department of Education will work with trained Holocaust educators to conduct regional workshops that help teachers work within their state and local education requirements to incorporate the sensitive subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms.
  • Creates an Advisory Board to help develop the competitive criteria for grants, select the content for the website, and lead fundraising efforts for the program.

Benefits:

  • Teachers face many barriers to teaching the Holocaust: 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 curriculums. This program will help teachers overcome these barriers at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
  • Private Holocaust education centers provide valuable training programs, curriculum and other resources, but are limited to helping the schools in their area. This program will help these centers reach a broader audience, and provide teachers with the tools to educate students in communities across the country.
  • This program will finally recognize the importance of Holocaust education at the federal level and teach our children about the valuable lessons from the Holocaust.

 

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