Oregon House unanimously votes to require schools to teach about the Holocaust

Oregon House unanimously votes to require schools to teach about the Holocaust
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The Oregon House has voted to pass legislation that would require schools in the state to teach students about the Holocaust and other genocides.

The state chamber passed the bill unanimously on Tuesday.

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Under the measure, high schools in the state are mandated to incorporate “specific references to the Holocaust and genocide” into their social studies curriculum, the state House said in an announcement.

State Rep. Janeen Sollman (D), one of the chief sponsors of the legislation, said in a statement that the bill “is about keeping history alive.”

“This legislation is about ensuring that our students learn about our true history, learn to appreciate and understand our survivors’ stories, and continue to tell those stories to prevent such actions again,” she continued.

According to the state House’s announcement, the legislation was inspired by a local student from Oswego, Claire Sarnowski, who introduced the idea with the help of Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener. 

Wiener died last year, but Sarnowski spoke about his influence on the legislation in recent public testimony.

“Alter’s dream was to mandate education which would continue the legacy of the Holocaust and genocides,” she said. “Although he is not here with me today, he prepared me to carry on this mission and to persevere in making this a reality. ... We need to ensure these atrocities are never forgotten nor ignored.”

Having already passed the state Senate, the bill now heads to Gov. Kate Brown (D) for consideration.

If signed, Oregon would become the 11th state to pass legislation requiring schools to teach students about the Holocaust and other genocides.

The news comes several weeks after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) passed legislation “strongly encouraging” schools in his state to add Holocaust education to their curriculum.