Today, on December 9th, on what is International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect calls upon legislators of 40 states to pass and mandate Holocaust and Genocide education.
For several years, the Anne Frank Center has been a leading force in the campaign to get all 50 states to mandate to teach the Holocaust and other genocides, through its 50-State Holocaust and Genocide Education initiative.
Currently 10 states mandate it – Kentucky and Connecticut have joined Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, California, Michigan, Illinois, Florida and Indiana.
We know there is a significant lack of knowledge about the Holocaust, with a recent survey by the the Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany finding that 31 percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; in fact it was six million. 41 percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, do not even know what Auschwitz was. The survey also found that Holocaust memory is slowly fading.
This is a disturbing and shameful national scandal. Yet this is avoidable.
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is urging the remaining 40 states in the United States to get on board and mandate Holocaust and Genocide education. Witnessing the massacre in Pittsburgh and the hate in Charlottesville, it is clear that Anti-Semitism, white supremacy and Holocaust denial are all alarmingly on the rise. The Anti-Defamation League reported this year that Anti-Semitic hate crimes rose by 57 per cent in 2017 from 2016, the highest single year jump on record.
Ignorance and misinformation fan hatred. A lack of knowledge fans hatred.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
It is more important than ever that we teach the past to learn its lessons, in order to prevent the Holocaust and other genocides happening again.
This is why we teach the words of Anne Frank, her life and her legacy, so we can build the future.
We believe it starts in the classroom.
We invite the rest of the nation to join us.