North Carolina bill would require Holocaust, genocide education

A bill in the North Carolina legislature would require public schools to teach about the Holocaust and other genocides.

The state House Education Committee on Tuesday approved the measure, which would require the State Board of Education to include curricula about the Holocaust and genocide during English and social studies in middle and high school, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, will now be sent to the House Rules Committee, the newspaper said.

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The bill is named the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act, honoring a Polish native who participated in the resistance movement against the Nazi regime before being sent to multiple concentration camps.

She relocated to Raleigh after surviving the war and lived there until her death in 2011, according to the News & Observer.

Richard Schwartz, vice chairman of the N.C. Council on the Holocaust, told the committee that some students never learn about the event in public school because it is not part of the required testing.

Supporters of the measure say that learning about the mass murder of Jews, Roma and other minority groups at the hands of the Nazis is necessary. 

“The survivors are leaving us and along with their departures, we need to make sure that we live up to the mantra of ‘Never again,’” Schwartz said.

By teaching about the Holocaust and other atrocities, Schwartz said, students are “not repeating the most horrible times in our history.”

“We’re doomed to repeat history if we don’t teach it,” he added.

There are currently 10 states with similar mandates on Holocaust education: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

A similar bill was proposed in Oregon in February,  according to the Salem Statesman Journal

Several other states have regulations that encourage or recommend the teaching of the Holocaust but don't make it required teaching.